So I Turned 40, What Now?

As I try to reflect on the past month, it is hard to pinpoint what I have accomplished in the first month of being 40. Nothing much happened on the surface but internally, I am more relaxed and happier. I think this has something to do with just being grateful. I like the person that I am now than the person I was 10 to 20 years ago. Life experiences enriched my soul. I am looking forward of the many life experiences that will add layers to who I am. I trust God’s will in my life. I cannot thank Him enough for all the blessings in my life. Although it is not all bed of roses for me, I am thank God for the strength to survive whatever setbacks that came my way.

So what was I up to the past month?

Catching up with family and friends.

Two of my uncles turned 70 and 80.

My friend, Glenda, also celebrated her birthday and invited us to dinner.

An aunt and uncle celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. What a feat! There is forever!

Finally, my cousins and I were able to go to the food parks we wanted to try and stuffed ourselves with these food. Ha!

My friend, Pia, is finally back from more that a month long trip to South Korea. We have been following her adventure. I love her photos so much that I wanted to go to South Korea. We had dinner with friends to catch up.

Photo swiped from Pia’s FB.

Practicing my landscape painting skills.
My friend asked me to paint landscape in watercolor for her. She already sent some samples of the type of painting her husband likes. I already researched on some inspiration for the final painting I am doing for them. Below are two of the practice pieces I have done to prepare.

Practicing some baking.
My friend, Dinah, just celebrated her birthday and she saw that I baked my own durian-filled birthday cake. She wanted one for the gathering she planned soon. So while I had have the time, I tried to bake this Durian-flavored Japanese cotton cheesecake which was a failure. The cake was supposed to rise to a certain height and this one did not. It still tasted good but this is not pretty to look at.

It was supposed to look like this.

Photo from Rasa Malaysia.

Good thing that this was just practice. Maybe I should stick to the same recipe I did during my birthday.

Chilling with this cutie.

Lately, Blessy has been hanging out with me- sometimes in my room and sometime in my work area. I placed a clean, old curtain on the floor for her sleep on. Sometimes, she looks at me chilling in my bed that she wanted to chill with me, too. once in a while, I give in and let her hang out in my bed. I love this dog.

I love Joaqui, too, and we still miss Peachy.

I am loving my 40’s so far. This week, I need to finish the painting and I have a workshop to document. Plus, I have the cake to bake for Dinah.

Bye for now!

6 Memorable Things of My April 2015

Time flies so fast when you are having fun and I cherish every moment spent with love ones and friends. I invest a lot on memories and on learning about things that interest me. I do not mind not having a fat bank account, new car, new gadgets and other bright new things. As long as I have stories to tell and I learn new things, life is worth living.

I live each day trying to balance between earning a living and doing what I want to do in the hopes that one day both will become one and the same thing.  I try to explore the world as often as I can and if I can’t, due to some constraints, there are always books I can read that enrich my imagination. Life is too short to get bored.  I try to fill my minutes and hours with things that matter and  important to me like exercise, prayer, walking with the dogs, conversations with my loved ones and learning something new with art.  These were the things that kept me busy this April and there are 6 things that stood out in my memory.

1. Vacation. When my cousins and  I here in the Philippines learned that our cousin from Canada was coming home for a short vacation, we were already looking forward to the first week of April. It was a short stay but a fun and relaxing one.  I will talk  more about this trip in the coming days.


2. Cousins. This is my  Canadian cousin’s 4th trip to the Philippines so I have to post a then-and-now photo to mark the event.  The photo on top was  taken more than 10 years ago.


3. Art. I started to explore The Flourish Forum and The Postman’s Knock. Both are excellent resources I can use to improve on my calligraphy. I am interested in joining their mail exchanges that I signed up for June. I also made some birthday cards. My friend’s birthday was coming up so  it was an opportunity for me to practice calligraphy.

image1 (2)

I also made a lot of artworks to catch up with friend requests.  I am just happy that many liked my work. There are only two that are left unwanted. Poor artworks.  I will open an online store soon and I hope somebody buys my artwork.


4. Flipping Ships.  Below is a photo of a junk boat that I posted here. Remember Edwin McCain? He was the singer behind “I’ll be”, a relatively popular song in the late 90’s (I think). He will star in a new reality show called “Flipping Ships” where he and his team revive old boats to their sailing glory. The show premiered last August 24 on Animal Planet. One of its associate producers emailed me to ask permission to use my photo of a junk boat as reference photo for an episode which might be aired on May 29.  It is cool that they made efforts to get in touch with me to ask permission to use the photo.


5. Fixing the faucet. I have allowed my faucet to drip for a week until I made an effort to replace it myself. My cousin promised to fix it but forgot to return and finish the job so I mustered some courage to do it myself. And I fixed it! I am proud of this accomplishment.


6. Photoshoot. I will have a photoshoot with a friend which I reluctantly said yes because if I say no I might be saying no to possibilities and challenges.  Besides, I think it would be a fun morning of catching up with a friend. We might even forget we are doing a shoot.   I am just thankful for the trust given to me. I hope I can meet expectations.

As I write this post, it is already almost the middle of May.  So far, May is treating me well. How’s your April and May?

January 2014 Wrap Up: 5 Good things that Happened

I completed my gratitude project for 2014.  This year,  I am doing a monthly wrap up on the good things that happened for the month. Time flies so fast. It seems that January went on a blur and, little did I know it, it is already February!

I am grateful for the past month. There were surprises and realizations.  When I look back on my January, this is what come to mind.

Tried the art of lettering.

Tried the art of lettering.

Friendship. I started the year with a lot of gatherings with friends. I am thankful for the friends I have. God sends people in my life who are angels in disguise. I never thought I can be this friendly but God has a way of allowing me to meet people who are genuinely nice and warm that I can be myself around these people. I do not have to exert effort to be liked and loved.

Fantastic news. I received a good news from a friend. It was an amazing story that I often see in movies. I promised to keep the news as a secret as requested by my friend. Besides, that big news is the kind of story that should be shared by my friend not me. l feel special for being entrusted with a secret. It is an honor to keep a secret for someone. One of the reasons I do not drink anything alcoholic is that I fear I might spill secrets I keep including  my own secrets if I get a little tipsy! Hehe

Food. I have been watching my food intake. I tried to cook healthier. It is a challenge to go on diet in our household because my family sometimes does not take my diet declarations seriously. They kept offering me food that are not allowed in the junk food challenge. They forget. They kept requesting me to make dessert which obliged but it was quite a challenge to resist eating the dessert after. It is sad I slaved in the kitchen to make those dessert and I do not get to eat them. But I prevailed.

Fitness. I started to join a fitness challenge. My friend, Grace, posted a video of herself doing some exercise sequences and it looked like I can do those types of workout. I tried one set of exercise and I liked it so I am doing this for 60 days. I am already on my 6th day. 54 days to go!

Faith. It was an inspirational month for many of us who followed the visit of Pope Francis in the Philippines. I hope I remember the message he shared to everyone. With the sad news recently, it is really a test faith how we can unite as people of God. I pray for justice and peace in my country.

I am looking forward to February.


The Gratitude Project

Happy New Year!

The holiday season is over and I still have a lot of things to blog about. I still want to share what happened over the Christmas season. It is nice to reflect on the past year and work towards a better 2014.  I had a good 2013 and I wanted to keep track of my 2014 by starting a gratitude journal. Every night, before I sleep, I am going write something  that I am thankful for for the day.  At the end of the month,  I will be sharing what I have written down.  I will do this every month and at the end of the year, I will have 365 things I am thankful for.


There are other ideas for a year long project like this one: a gratitude jar.



Still, others try to capture one photo per day to briefly describe their day.

I do not know what is in store for me this 2014. I am excited about it and this is what I am going to declare: I believe that this year is going to be the best year ever.

Counting My Blessings the Past Week

I always keep a positive attitude. Even if I see a dark cloud looming over certain stressful situations I am in, I can still see that thin silver lining ahead.

Although there are occasions when my temper breaks loose, those incidents do not happen that often. I attribute such calm and worry-free attitude to God’s love. I cannot claim about having a strong faith. I have my weaknesses but even with my fragile faith, God never failed me.


There is so much to be thankful for. So let me count my blessings the past week. Even the littlest of things matter. Simple things can already bring me tremendous joy.

1.  The gift of laughter. I bought these almost a month ago. I am a fan of the radio tandem. I get their sense of humor so when I remembered their book, I bought a copy the first chance I get.

I was able to read the magazine but I was not able to find time to read the book until last week. I was on field work for a few days with no internet access (I do not own a laptop nor a smartphone).  Good thing I brought the book along so I spent the night laughing alone silly. 😀

2.  Family conversations. There was one dinner when the food did not seem to fill our hungry stomachs. We opted to buy these post-dinner snacks while we chitchat.

I am thankful that I have a family to talk to even without these delicious snacks.

3. Simple tools that get things done. I am not the type of person who buys the latest gizmos in the market. I was asked to document a certain forum.  These are the simple tools I use. (These also remind me that I need to write that report. Oh my!) Newsflash to the younger generation, the old school pen and paper still work.  😉

4. Full breakfast. We often hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

5. Daily walks. I walk the dog regularly. This is already my exercise.  When I am busy, my cousin does this task for me. I think she is enjoying the walk, too, because she did not complain when I gave her this task.  Walking the dog is also a  stress-reliever for me.

6. Surviving a freak accident.  One Friday afternoon, it was already dark when the dog and I returned home from our walk.  Joacqui (dog) was panting hard so I went to the laundry area to get water for Joacqui. The area was not lit but I knew my way through that dark nook. I was a few steps away from the faucet when I heard a screech and I felt pain on my left foot. I realized that I stepped on a rat and it bit me.  Crazy, huh? The bleeding did not stop as I was washing the area with running water. Thank God I have an aunt whose a nurse.  She told me to clean the wound with alcohol and apply Bactobran, an anti-bacterial ointment.  Here is my makeshift bandage: cotton and tape! (Warning: ugly foot!) 

There was swelling in my foot the following day so my aunt suggested a warm compress. Another aunt was cooking banana that afternoon. So we had the idea to use the heat of the banana peel (the real one, not the slipper brand) in order to apply warm compress on my foot.  I wrapped the banana peel in a clear plastic and stepped on it.

Thank God for the nursing wisdom from my aunt. I took some antibiotics and continue to clean the wound daily. Btw, a rat does not carry rabies.

7. Cheap finds. I went to the grocery with the intention of buying the Head and Shoulders buy one-take one pack for Php118. It was not available so I bought what is in the rack: the Pantene buy one-take one pack for P98. I went to another grocery in another day to check if it had the Head and Shoulders buy one-take one pack. I found a Rejoice buy one-take one pack for Php83.25 so I bought it because I need an anti-dandruff shampoo.  When I went back to the first grocery for another reason, the Head and Shoulders buy one-take one pack was available so I bought one for fear it would sell fast.  Thus,  I ended up being a shampoo hoarder! I  think these will last me for more than 3 months.

 I also found this cheap belts. I hope they are not as durable as their price.

8. Getting paid. I got paid for a freelance work so I shared my blessings with the family. Magnum is back!

9. New bank account. My parents have instilled in me the value of saving for the rainy days. My savings is what kept me afloat the past four years of living without regular income. Because I started earning again this year, I wanted to return to the habit of setting aside for my emergency fund.  Hopefully, in the future, it is investment plan that I am going to think about.  I am taking baby steps for now.

10. Seeing an opportunity. I went to get my cedula. The lady at the counter did not have enough change for my bill so I have to pay using the loose change in my wallet. It left me without small bills for the tricycle ride home. Then, I remember that I wanted to try the buko pie near that area so I thought of just buying buko pie so I will have loose change to pay for my ride home. We had this for dessert after lunch yesterday.

11. Enjoying a family favorite. One type of dried fish we enjoy is buwad na haw-an (dried mudfish). This type of dried fish is seldom sold in the market.  It is often peddled in the neighborhood by people from Agusan del Sur.  The mudfish thrives in vast waters in the Agusan Marsh. In the past, electricity was not available in the marshland so residents in that area learned how to preserve their food through sun drying.  Even with electricity, they still dry the mudfish for personal consumption and commerce.

I sleep with a grateful heart every night.


Source: via Emily on Pinterest


This post is a BC Bloggers‘ meme for the week sponsored by Yashiro.

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