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.

Grateful (#5ThingsToBeThankfulFor)

Long weekends get back at you the day when your week officially begins, and mine started today.  Tuesday = Monday.  Forgot to reload my metrocard so there I was fishing for coins on the bus.. solution found: paid off a fellow passenger for a swipe.  Terribly cold day in New York City, and bundling up meant I felt the heat enveloping me and I was just feeling hot.  It went to my head, and my morning got off to a rocky start.

When things aren’t turning out the way you wish they would, it’s always good to try to steer your way towards something positive.  I thought I’d start by counting my blessings today, sort of as a natural pick me up.  A second cup of coffee might not work – so I’m improvising.

Another list?  I’m trying to resist the urge but I do have my “Five Things to be Thankful for” here.  I had fun with my new app, DrawingDesk, which has been a little testy but has been a refreshing graphic application on my iPhone to help me spice things up here.  Pardon the roughness of the scribbling but I’m too cheap to spring for a stylus.  That’s my fingertip doing the writing, but I’m pretty happy with how that turned out.  (Finally settled on one that was good enough after over two dozen attempts.)

Thankful.

Gratitude is something that we very rarely indulge in – but which is something we would do well to make a habit of. (#gratitude)

Top of my head:  I’m thankful for being a “Medium” (size) now, for hot coffee that I can drink iced, for twitchy noses, a long weekend that allowed me to sleep til 9am (!) and pancake breakfasts that I missed and will begin missing again.  (Back on the diet!)

I see the sun shining brightly outside but the temperatures are unbearably cold.  Snow is forecast for the weekend, and I’m already thinking of the supplies I will need as I have no intention of heading out beyond my immediate neighborhood.  After 15 years here and seeing mild to wild winters, I am not such a fan of snow anymore.  (More so in the aftermath of a snowstorm!)

But I’m not going to start complaining now.  Trying to stay positive by basking in the feeling of being blessed.

Thankful

We didn’t do turkey or any big feast.  The truth was, I wouldn’t have minded skipping Thanksgiving altogether, but it was a stretch of four glorious days of a long weekend. So I relented when my little guy requested for “Mommy’s fried chicken”, then I bought some salads and tried my hand at regenerating some dried mangoes to mix with vanilla ice cream (a success!) and the shelf bought cheesecake filling (perfect when frozen!).. All in all, I think I managed a decent meal, and my number one guest, the 11-year-old, was all smiles.

After all the leftovers have been taken cared of and all the thanks have been said, I think it’s but fitting to list the things I am thankful for not just because it’s the time to give thanks, but because the year is drawing to a close.

I am thankful..

..for the blessing of family who have kept me going from day to day.  While I can say that 2015 has been better than 2014, it has been quite a year of changes and many leaps — oftentimes, of faith, as they say — and I have made strides in moving forward.  I have been blessed with the unwavering love of my family, and my greatest love, my son, who keeps me grounded in all that I do.

.. for the friends, old and new, who never let awkward get between us, even when others chose to stay away.  It hasn’t been an easy journey as some I had looked to for support chose to keep me at arm’s length. It has been a time for reflection as I literally found out who my real friends were.  It’s not an easy reality check to face, but face it, I did.

I have no bitterness for those who thought it better to stay in the sidelines, because those that stayed and held my hand more than made up for those who didn’t.  I found new friends who walked into my life as others tiptoed away.  I heard the wisdom of strangers that kept me standing  firm when I would have been knocked out. I found people who just sat and listened, and who saw me for who I really was.

Friendships, I had long ago learned, were not defined by how long someone had been in your life.  Almost like falling in love, but not of the amorous kind– it’s that bond that you feel deep down in your in your heart, even if you just met yesterday.

..for the gift of words that have enabled me to put my thoughts and feelings into writing.  I don’t know what I would have done if I had to bottle up everything inside me.  It doesn’t work for everyone, and writing doesn’t mean writing about everything that I think and feel.  Yet there are words and phrases and posts that enable me to get in touch with a part of me I cannot otherwise bring out any other way.  Like now.

.. for the blessing of having faith in the midst of it all.  I always say that I respect everyone’s chosen faith or belief or lack of it.  Faith is a personal choice.  And holding mine in my heart — both during the moments when I feel like I have nothing left to hold on to, and during those moments when the happiness or joy I feel affirms it– is a blessing I cherish.

.. for the means to express myself in the most elementary of ways, be it in scribblings, papercrafts or playing with colors. I kept busy to stay positive.  It helps me to channel my burdens into something productive.  When sleep or even just silence eludes me, I can find my calm and the stillness in other ways.  All I have to do is pick up a pen, my tools or just let my thoughts take me away to a story that unfolds in a constant daydream live streaming in my head.  I know that it isn’t always easy for others to filter their negative thoughts and energy into something positive, and while it has been an evolving process for me, I am thankful I can.

.. for being able to see the glass half full, even when at times I knew it was really half empty. I have always been the eternal optimist, and my brain and heart have been trained through the years to focus on the good rather than the bad.  It has helped me to mask the sadness and the heartache when I needed to put on a brave face.

.. for having the humility to laugh at myself, and finding the light in the midst of all the challenges and disappointments that came my way.  One thing I have learned is that we cannot take life too seriously, even when it seems to be hell bent on seeing us fall flat on our face.  I think it speaks volumes about how we deal with life when we are able to take it all in good stride, and laugh with those who laugh at us when we find ourselves down and out.  If we can find the humor in the sorry situations we find ourselves in, no matter how ridiculous or how tight a bind we might fall into, there is a better chance that we will get out of it with less pain or harm.

.. for the second and the third and the fourth chances I was given– which, in turn, paved the way for the fab discoveries I made not just about myself, but about the world around me.. There are mistakes that just happen and mistakes that we commit out of choice.  The latter being a product of bad judgment, or perhaps a miscalculation.  And yet life is generous with do-overs or second or third chances.. We often get a second stab at things in the most unexpected of circumstances.  Someone who may have offended us fades away from our lives, and someone else comes in who proves to be not a better replacement, but just a better friend altogether.  What we thought might have been a bad call resulting in a loss might actually be us being saved from ourselves.  I have had many such breaks in the last 11 months, and I keep trying.

I have been jaded, true, but never jaded enough to give up on life.  Disappointments have led me to lower my expectations in general — and perhaps it’s that lack of or lowered expectations which have led me to be pleasantly surprised when the good things come my way.

.. for never losing the courage to try new things.. Like the desserts that I discovered, the new things I got to do.. The things I got the chance to do over, and over and over again.  I have always been adventurous but never daringly bold.  So sometimes, something as elementary as trying out new food, being adventurous with my palate, or even just changing things up can lead to some wonderful discoveries.  We just have to take that “big girl” step to get there.  I had taken quite a few this year and I’m might proud of “big girl me”.

It can also be about the things we give up to focus on something singular.  Life can be so much better when we need to focus our energies on one instead of many voices.

..for the new appreciation I have for this city I call home, where I know I truly belong.  There was a time I thought I had had enough of New York City and had started saying goodbye.  But like many things that had come and gone, the feeling went and I realized this was where I truly belonged.  For all the heartaches and disappointments I have had here, some of my greatest joys, particularly in the last year, were also found here.  So to NYC, I say Thank you.

.. for my son’s resilience in the face of the changes the world around him has thrust on his lap.  Sometimes I can’t help but wonder if I’m putting too much stock on finding my strength in his, but he has proven to be even stronger than I thought. Perhaps it’s his innocence or his maturity — but this 11-year-old has pick me up from many falls, and he is still there, holding me up

I may not have celebrated Thanksgiving this year with much aplomb, but I feel the gratitude crowding my heart as I think about the many things I have been blessed with.  It was a meaningful Thanksgiving, yes, for different reasons beyond the turkey and the feast.

#Thankful for the #sunshine and the #blessings. For @angelogon2004 who makes it all #WorthIt every single day. For all the #ReasonsToBeHappy. #HappyThanksgiving.. #gothamchicksays #inmybackyard #pinaynewyorker

A Better Christmas

UntitledOne of the lessons of 2014 I had learned has been to look forward and see the positive, instead of dwelling on the pains of the past, no matter how you just can’t seem to shake it off.  I am trying.  So instead of dwelling on how last year’s Christmas was probably one of the worst if not the worst in my life, I’d like to think of the reasons why this Christmas is going to be a better Christmas for me.

I had spent the last three Christmases in Manila with my dear family, and for the first time after those three years, Angelo and I are spending Christmas here in New York again.  New York — after all — is home.  I had long ago accepted that and have embraced it — so much so that when I thought I was ready to leave some three years ago, it was a quiet but difficult long goodbye..  And then it dawned on me that there was no other place to go — that I would and did choose to stay, here at home.

I normally don’t do enumerations but I can’t think of any other way to do this.  In no particular order, as random as the thoughts come, here are the reasons why this is a better Christmas for me — and it is my hope that sharing this list here will help you see that there is much to be hopeful and thankful for, and that it is a better Christmas for you as well.

1. Christmas in New York is Christmas “at home”.  As I had said earlier, being where I consider myself at home cannot be anything better than spending Christmas elsewhere.  Yes, even in my beloved second most favorite city ever – Paris.  And yes, even better than the country where I grew up and spent the majority of my young life: Manila.  When you find yourself trying to find your footing again, the best thing is to find your anchor where you are strongest.  And while all the love I’m showered with in Manila is unique to that former “home” of mine, the truth of the matter is the one love that keeps me going will always find his home here in the land where he was born in.  So this is home because it is my son’s home.

2. This Christmas, I welcome a better “ME”.  I had a rough ride the latter half of 2013 and well into the first half of the year, and then I made up my mind to rise above what had held me back and move forward.  It wasn’t easy, and it still isn’t.  But because I focused on putting one foot in front of the other and keep going, I have managed to become a better person than I was 14 months ago.  I focused on taking care of me, losing weight to keep myself healthy, fixing myself up and believing in me again.  I smiled and radiated a self confidence I had long ago forgotten — and people noticed.  The hair went several shades lighter, and I even finally said goodbye to my “bigote”.  (Sorry, Toks — I know you thought that was part of my appeal, but I’ve learned to let that go.)

3.  I appreciate family and friends in a different sense this holiday season, because they never let go of my hand during the worst of times — holding mine as tightly if not tighter than they held me during the best of times.  I would never trade my family and friends for anything in this world — more so the select few who laughed and cried with me — and who told me that I can always go home when I feel I need some loving.. those friends who saw me at my worst and most evil, at my angriest and most vulnerable, and who never judged me for the feelings that drove me to be so scheming and full of hatred.  They never gave up on me when others left me to deal with things on my own, telling me they couldn’t take sides.  Because in truth, there was no taking sides — there was only being a friend or a brother or a sister — and being there without fear of recrimination from others.  There was only right and wrong, not right or left.

4.  This Christmas, I can say I have finally allowed forgiveness into my heart.  While I cannot say I have forgiven everyone, I think I have forgiven the people who matter most in my world.  There are things that I just cannot let go of, and there will always be people who will be on my “hate” list (and yes, I do have one), but this year, I have come to terms with actually saying “I forgive you” to the people who I needed to say it to most.  And like I said, I was telling them I forgive them not so much for their benefit, but for my own.  There was a certain release to that declaration every time I said it to the handful of people who heard it.  The conversations didn’t all resume — but I didn’t need to start a conversation again.  I only needed to say I forgive them.

5,  I’ve learned to laugh at myself and laugh harder this time around.  BFF Fe says it’s refreshing to hear me laughing again — even if that’s via text on viber — and to see me able to laugh at myself again.  There were days when even smiling was a struggle.  But now, I walk off the bus and make it a point to smile, rain or shine.  The thoughts that make me smile or break out into a grin can range from an elevator ride, rain and umbrellas, a yelled joke, a shared song, from friends old and new.  There are times when we don’t realize what a smile or a joke or the gift of laughter can mean to someone, and though they may not know how their humor had helped lift my spirits up, this Christmas I wish them the gift of laughter and warmth in return.  It is because of the jokes — screamed or whispered — and the laughter that I heartily let out, that I can look back to last Christmas as a nightmare I’ve woken up from finally.

6.  I’ve been blessed with new friends walking into my life and making things better just by being part of my “now”.  There are many people we tend to ignore and whose interaction with us we take as part and parcel of our everyday routine.  We fail to see the little contributions they make to help us become a better person.  One friend egged me to take the online History courses on Columbia edX which I have enjoyed immensely.  I’m taking notes again, reading textbooks and learning.  (Yes, I’ve missed school!)  Another has introduced me to the music of Pink Floyd (talking about “US AND THEM”) — I knew “OF” them but never quite listened to any of their music — and I was surprised to find that I actually liked it!  Another friend’s passions for photography has helped me to find even more inspiration to take more pictures with my limited resources and be proud of the photos I have snapped up.

7. This Christmas, I actually gave two anonymous gifts to children in need in the community — and that really felt good.  And Mom got enough funds to get her little Christmas party for the poor kids in her community back in Bulan.  I felt like I had a million things to be thankful for despite the challenges of the last 14 months.  After all, I am still standing on my two feet, my son is healthy and happy, and life has become markedly better even if it is a continuing journey.  I managed to pick up the pieces and start on the journey to healing and be more forgiving of myself.  I have learned to count my blessings and acknowledge the people who continue to bless me with their presence in my life — and what better way to give thanks than to share with those who aren’t as lucky?

8.  I have immersed myself in the serenity that has allowed me to accept the things I cannot change. I am no longer fighting reality but instead, have learned and continue to learn to accept how things are in my life today.  It doesn’t mean I have given up — but I have stopped fighting the things I have no control over. I have learned to accept those things I cannot do anything about.  I think the last 6 months have seen me finally living the Serenity Prayer which I had prayed religiously the first 8 months of my struggle.  Every day, first thing, I clicked on that note in my phone and read and recited it with feeling.  And yet I didn’t see myself living it until the last 6 months when I let go and said, I’m fine with the choice I have made.  I will stop expecting a turnaround, or for things to change.  There are immovable objects that will never budge.  I thought I could pray for a miracle, but I think I finally got the message I was asking for the wrong thing from the boss upstairs.  So I stopped asking.  I said, okay.  And this Christmas, I think I’m okay — I’m even better — because I stopped insisting and instead, let myself embrace acceptance.

9.  I have more hope in my heart now than I had this time around last year.  The optimism in my heart has risen from its deep slumber.  I have stopped nurturing vengeful thoughts and schemes in my mind.  The universe has a way of taking care of things, and I leave the fate of those who thought they could take my happiness and my son’s happiness away to chance.  Life is one big gamble.  I lost a hand or two.  But the game continues, and I have won my share of hands.  And while the plan may have been different in their minds, this year, I think I have much to be thankful for knowing that I managed to hold on to what others thought they could take away from me.

10. This Christmas, I actually am celebrating “ME” and giving myself a gift that will make it a merry Christmas, indeed.  I haven’t quite made up my mind yet what it might be.. I just know I’m getting myself something.  Year in and year out, I would get gifts for everyone but myself.  To me, the gift was actually handing them my present and seeing them light up and that was good enough.  I cherished the hugs and the thank you more..  This year, though, I’ve been hard pressed thinking about what I can get myself that will actually make me smile and be happy about getting for ME, myself and I.  Something I deserve, not pegged into an amount others think would be good enough.  Not anchored to what someone else got as a no-occasion present.  I’ve let that go.  I’m being selfish and thinking about myself first, this time around.  And if only for that present to “ME”, I know it will be a better Christmas this year, indeed.

Grateful

Grateful for a truly meaningful and fruitful past week..  For baby steps turning into a leap of faith.. For finally being able to go back to a classroom even if it was only a virtual experience.. For more than just elevator rides and sidewalks and being aMinutes to midnight again and I almost shut down the computer to turn in when I decided I owed my latest instagram post a companion piece here. I figured I’d type away for 10 minutes and end there.

The thing is, I posted the graphic as a “thank you” for a meaningful week just passed, despite the challenges and the adjustments that had to be made along the way.

Like I wrote in the caption, “Grateful for a truly meaningful and fruitful past week..”  There are weeks that just come and go uneventfully, but there are those that do pass us by and leave us with a more profound impact than others, even in the absence of any life-changing events. I’ve started listening to that voice inside me again — realizing that as Evelyn and bff Fe kept telling me, I am important, too. That means taking care of “me” as well as I
take care of everyone else. I did and it actually wasn’t a bad thing at all.

For baby steps turning into a leap of faith.. ” I have always referred to my attempts at moving forward as the combination of many baby steps to take me from one point to another.  It’s my way of coaxing “Me” into trusting myself more.  I’ll say it again, I used to be more courageous (or impulsive is another way to put it), but I had been cowed into retreating into a corner instead of standing on stage by the many setbacks I suffered in the last year or two.  No more.

“For finally being able to go back to a classroom even if it was only a virtual experience.”  I wish I had an extra 6 hours a day to do the readings and catch up with the online lectures, but I am slowly making progress with my History Course.  I actually enjoy the pressure of having multi-chapter readings, of taking notes, and of just taking it all in.  While I know I have far to go, my journey has started and goes on.

“For more than just elevator rides and sidewalks and being able to see things differently.”  Something as mundane as riding elevators can have a new meaning or significance when taken in the context of things you do before or after riding an elevator.  I’ve had these experiences lately of picking up on things I see or conversations I hear as I take those two brief rides up and down my building.  It has, like
I said, enabled me to see things differently.

“For reminding me life is short and it should be enjoyed for what it is.”  Self explanatory, no?

The previous week has not been without its share of challenges, but the gains far outweigh the stress and worries that accompanied my usual toil.  At the end of the week as I look forward to the next, I am grateful.

Even as I am trying to make sense of some things and trying to make adjustments to others — I am full of hope for the coming week and know that there will be more things to be thankful for when it comes to a close.

 

There is always something to be thankful for

Flowers and Butterflies

One of my facebook friends posted this today.  She is actually a celebrity in  her own right and it is admirable that she tries to use her celebrity by spreading some positive vibes through social media to her thousands of followers.

Indeed.  We often let ourselves be overwhelmed by our burdens instead of counting the many things we’ve been blessed with.  I know that it’s hard to always focus on the positive and not let our troubles weigh us down.  It is, after all, easier to laugh than to deal with the many questions that life throws our way.  Yet we let ourselves be overwhelmed and be taken over by the puzzles we cannot put togehter.

Guilty.

Every day, I try to find something to laugh about.  I try to find something to smile about.  When I wake up in the morning, all I have to do is reach out for my little guy.  He has grown so much that I am afraid that he will soon be too big to pull close to me.  I would have to pull closer to him.  When I get home he positions my slippers just so I would have to literally slip my feet into them as I go up our humble home.

When I walk outside, I try to find something simple and part of the every day to pay some mind to — things most people just ignore.  I take note.  I snap a picture when I can. (Yes, even when I know i’m running late and trying to catch the next bus!)  I have found that it helps to walk out into the world with a positive outlook instead of dragging a fear of anything and everything that can go wrong with you into a new day.

It helps to acknowledge the many little things we should be thankful for.  It reminds us that there are positives no matter what obstacles might be in our way.  There is always something “good” in all the “bad”. There is always something to be thankful for.

Back to Art Journaling and saying thanks

Art Journal Every dayI was hoping to be halfway done with the altered book I’ve been using for my Art Journal Every Day entries by now, but the problem is that I haven’t been too good with the “every day” bit. Weeks to even a month between posts have practically ground the art journaling to a halt. But I have picked up the Art journal again, so there is hope.

I thought I’d do a “Thank you” post, more so since I’ve been trying to kick off a project. It’s something that I’ve been playing around with in my head and something I’ve been doing some mail art to prepare for. We just don’t say those two words enough. On the other side of the spectrum, a simple thank you in our hands can make such a world of difference.

I’m pulling together a Thank You Postcard Project by repurposing old advertising free cards into mail art with a visual “thank you.” I’m using my stash of decorative/fancy table napkins, subway (and other) maps and other background materials to cover the original print. I’m even using some of my original photography in some. I’ve probably pieced together close to a hundred of my doodled flowers and I just can’t stop.

It’s not about me thanking you. I want to give you the medium to say “Thank you.”  It’s about saying thank you with a postcard.. more to come.

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.

 

Five things to be thankful for

1.  A warm and cozy home to go into when the temps outside dip down to 27 degrees.  (Thankfully, we didn’t get a ton load of snow again.  Just another regular winter snowfall sometime this afternoon.)

2.  Instagram.  18 followers.. my most popular posts are a series of photos I’m tagging #jeepneystories.  Come and take a look and let me know what you think of my photos.

3.  A nice dinner of tuna sashimi and shrimp tempura with rose wine.  I’m trying to be good with the diet… tuna shashimi at 1 pt each and 2 shrimp tempura.. plus a glass of wine.  Life is good..

4.  Getting on with my altered book and Art Journal Every Day project.  Finally drawing and writing again.  (Writing more about it at Gotham Chick.)

5.  Watching “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” with my boys.  Makes me miss Tom Clancy.  I’m sure he left a ton of story ideas that will see more of his genuis on the big screen.  I love Chris Pine as Jack Ryan and I’m keeping my fingers crossed he will come back for the next installment.  I would love to see him do the succeeding ones eventually.  But the even more intriguing thought for me is if they will ever do John Clark who is my favorite Tom Clancy character of all.  I totally enjoyed  seeing Kenneth Branagh who, it turns out, was also the director of the movie.  I have long been in love with this Knighted Englishman from the moment I first saw him in one of my forever favorites, “Much Ado About Nothing” some twenty years ago.  (Which he, again, directed and starred in.)

I have around two hours more to go before I hit the sack and I have a corner I want to attack and weed out stuff that needs to be disposed of.  I’m on my second cup of tea and hoping to write another post before I hit the sack in a bit.  I hope everyone is having a good weekend, too… despite the cold for us here on the east coast…

We should all count our blessings.