Love thyself

tiffany

Elsa Peretti Open Heart ring in 18k rose gold

Every once in a while, I submit write ups to the Brew Your Best Year webpage of Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Last night they posted my latest contribution. 

I wrote this piece in time for Valentine’s month. Nothing mushy or sentimental, though it talks about an experience that had something to do with my heartYou may read about it here: Matters of the Heart.

It’s the first of two parts, actually. The second part should be mushier… though as of the moment, the whole story is still just in my head. Hopefully I get to write it soon. 🙂

Hope you’ll  learn something from this one… ❤

🙂

Photo of Elsa Peretti Open Heart ring from Tiffany & Co. website, Elsa Peretti collection. *No connection to the write up, but thought of using it because it’s just so pretty — and what girl doesn’t like ogling Tiffany jewelry? I believe it’s good for the heart. ❤ 

 

Being a Better Me

The last two weeks of December pretty much breezed by. 

There were endless get-togethers, last-minute shopping sprees and gift wrappings, family reunions with overabundance of food (with everything seemingly delectable, yummy but utterly sinful, and totally irresistible)… And we wonder how we gained those unwanted pounds. 😦

I can personally say, though, that aside from the full stomach, December left me with a full heart, too.  A heart full of love and joy.

Spending time with family and friends reminded me what true joy is about… what love is about. It is about having a certain sense of belonging and acceptance. It is about knowing that you are with people you love and who also love you back, regardless of who you are, what you have been through… People who are ready and willing to accept your flaws and quirks.  

It is about feeling at home and armed with the knowledge that there are people who value you, who will stand by you and protect you when need be. 

When you have joy and love in your heart, you are somewhat braver to face whatever tomorrow brings.  It gives you courage to conquer the new year and whatever surprises it has in store.

❤ ❤ ❤

I am a “New Year’s Resolutions” person. It has been a childhood practice of mine to list down the things I ‘promise’  I will do (or in some cases, not do) in the coming year.  

Yes, I normally start with : Lose five pounds… And truth be told, I don’t think I ever lost those five pounds.  Maybe sometimes I do, but I most likely gain them back when December comes… plus a couple more. 😦 

When no one else knows about your resolutions, chances are you will end up ignoring them or forgetting them altogether. It is never easy to lose those five pounds, you know. It IS easier to forget that you even thought of wanting to lose weight.

And so, to challenge myself this year, let me share with you my 2017 resolutions. 

If you are a friend and you see that I am getting off track, feel free to tap me on the shoulder — or send me a text message– and let me know. I will try not to feel bad nor get offended (…nor punch you on the face). Promise. 🙂 

Here goes — in no particular order of importance…

My 2017 ‘Be a Better Me’ list:

I will…

  • lose at least five (5) pounds. Yes, this still tops the list.
  • eat healthier.
  • walk more.
  • have regular spa treatments (facial, massage, etc.)
  • not scrimp on good moisturizers and body lotions.
  • wear more skirts and dresses.
  • be more positive; get rid of negativity and grudges.
  • leave hurtful events, people, memories behind.
  • do my best not to get easily offended by other people.
  • smile more; be friendlier.
  • learn how to take a compliment.
  • laugh at/make fun of myself more; learn how to loosen up.
  • be more patient with people, even the difficult ones — most especially, the difficult and overbearing ones. 
  • read my bible daily.
  • fill my head and my heart with worship and praise songs.
  • NOT listen to sad songs, especially when I am having an off day… they simply don’t help.
  • talk to my parents and spend time with them regularly.
  • make more time for my friends.
  • write more.
  • start writing my next book.
  • NOT be embarrassed to share my work, my talent and my thoughts.
  • still take selfies as much as I can, and enjoy every minute of it!
  • take photos to document my day.
  • make more picture books / photo albums.
  • read more books — one book a month, at the very least.
  • learn — really learn —  a new language.
  • travel to a country I have never been to.
  • always be grateful for the blessings, whether big or small.

Phew, that was quite a lot. I can still think of others, but this should do for now…

I know I will have hits and misses along the way… But aren’t we so blessed to have the chance to start on a clean slate? We have twelve new months ahead of us. 

Twelve months that we can spend trying to be a better version of what we already are. 

Twelve months of keeping the joy in our hearts… in our lives.

Because I said I’ll take more selfies (I guess I have this one covered)…

selfie-9

And because I also said I will laugh at/make fun of myself more… 🙂 

Happy new year, everyone! Here’s to an exciting year.

********

photos are all mine, obviously… 😉 

#guiltypleasure

IMG_20160209_120434

hmmm…

Saying see you later, yet again, to CBTL’s Mocha Ice Blend.

Why is it such a big deal?

Because to me it is.

Hope I don’t get grumpy.

See the paper bag on the table? Inside is my salad lunch.

Muffin top begone!

🙂

*****

photo via my Instagram account. (Yep, that’s me!)

 

No pain, no gain…

jump rope

Happiness?!

Sometime third quarter of last year, I told myself it’s high time that I become more conscious of my health.

I am not sick or anything… in fact, I rarely get sick.  But then I was starting to feel sluggish.  Walking tires me out easily, my metabolism seems to be taking its own sweet time, and unless I hold my breath ’til I turn blue, well, my stomach just won’t stay as flat as it used to be.

In short, I was starting not to like what I was seeing every time I looked in the mirror.

But more than that, I also know that my internal organs are most likely not in shape, as well.  I drink way too much coffee (plus ice blended mocha at least once a week… twice when I’m stressed), I eat fatty foods, junk food, chocolates, you name it.  So I’m not a rice eater (because I believe rice will make my stomach bigger). But then I was not really conscious about all the other things that I put in my mouth… the calories of which go directly to my thighs — and yes, my stomach, as well.

muffins

who wants a muffin?

I was sluggish… and I felt heavy… and I was beginning to have a muffin top. Not nice.

And so, sometime last year, I decided i wanted to be healthier. I told myself I’m not getting any younger, and that hard as I wish and pray, I can never revert back to my 20-year old body… unless I do something about it.  And doing something about it basically means undergoing drastic changes.

I started watching what I ate.  I started by removing carbs from my diet.  No more pasta, no rice, no cake (of whatever sinful kind!), no bread. Once in a while I would allow myself a teeny weeny slice of wheat bread. I ate fruits in the morning and salad for lunch and dinner.  I would eat chicken and beef and fish, but not too much of pork. I stopped buying my mocha drink (such heartbreak!!). I took my coffee without cream and with half a teaspoon of brown sugar.

I also started exercising.  Jumping rope became my best friend.  I jumped rope every day… until I got injured — my ankles just wouldn’t cooperate and had to swell.  (But after two weeks, I was back at it… though I deemed it best to take it easy and just jump rope every other day.)

After about 2-3 weeks of dieting and exercising, I started to feel lighter. My cheekbones started to show and even my thighs were not as heavy.  I felt good about myself.  Whenever people say I looked thin or that lost weight, I would proudly reply, “Oh, I don’t eat carbs and I exercise!

And then December happened.

december

the most wonderful time of the year…

December — that month of the year when a lot of things seem to be happening… The hustle and bustle of daily life seems to have multiplied… That time of the year when there’s just so many things that you need to do… so many reunions or get-togethers to go to… so much goodies and sweets waiting to be tasted.

Okay, so maybe I didn’t really eat that much over the holidays… But I became easy on myself.  I took and munched chocolates here and there… I tasted my cousin’s brownies and butterscotch bars… tried all the pasta dishes available…

Worst of all, I allowed myself to become too busy to exercise.  And once you stop… it becomes difficult to get back into the habit.

And because December was busy, I entered January feeling tired… and once again sluggish. Too tired and sluggish to work out.  Everything just felt heavy… Heavy butt, heavy thighs, heavy heart.

This morning, as I was watching the Superbowl, I saw Bruno Mars on stage singing Uptown Funk. I remembered those mornings I spent working out with the music of Bruno Mars — and Taylor Swift — blaring in the room. I knew I had to do something.

I’m done feeling heavy.

And so I dug up my jumping rope and started getting into the habit again.

This is Day 1. Again. So help me God.

Thank you Bruno Mars.

*****

photos via google images

 

 

 

 

#patience

long line

there’s forever…

Pa·tience
ˈpāSHəns/
noun
1. the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

I have always thought of myself as a patient person.  

Long line? I can wait without fidgeting. Call on hold? I will even hum along with tune playing.  Waiting for a health report? I just pray. Giving instructions to someone who just cannot follow?  I try to keep it simple and I speak slowly to give the other person the chance to process what I am saying. Listening to someone share a story that was told and I have heard a hundred times? I still listen, I nod and I try to show interest. I don’t yawn. I don’t show boredom. 

See? I am patient. Forbearance is my middle name.

But then there are days… Days when my patience is tested — when it is just so tempting to lash out, then use the “Sorry, I’m only human” reasoning/cop out after.

Days like yesterday.

***
I started the day waiting for a document that I needed, something that was supposed to be given to me last Friday.  Person concerned did not give said document last Friday, promised to send it by email over the weekend.  Come Monday, I still didn’t have it.  
It took a great deal of self control on my part not to tell the person off.  I tried to be patient.   
Got the document at 4:30pm.
***
My son came home from school not feeling too well, complaining of pain in the lower abdomen, so I brought him to a clinic for consult with the pediatrician.
Everything went smoothly.  The doctor was there, we were next in line.  The consult was thorough but brief.  We were done in less than half an hour.
The doctor however suggested that my son have an xray of the abdomen, just to be sure.  He can have it done in the same clinic, so it wasn’t really a hassle or anything.  And we saw that there was no queue outside the xray room so we thought we would finish fast.
I told my son to proceed to xray and give the technician his doctor’s request, while I go to the cashier to settle the bill.  Instead of going to xray, my son stayed with me for two seconds to clarify what he was supposed to do and what to tell the technician.
Two seconds.  In those two seconds, another person appeared from nowhere and knocked at the door to the xray room, handed the technician her doctor’s request. 
Two seconds and thirty minutes later, my son and I were still at the hallway outside the xray room, waiting for his name to be called. Waiting for his turn.  That one patient before him just took too long. 
My son and I just entertained each other while waiting by telling each other stories.  But inside, I was like, “Really?! Forty minutes for an xray??!”
Patience.
***
When we finally — FINALLY — finished at the clinic, I had to go to the pharmacy to get my son’s meds.  
There was a queue.  The number being served was #26… my number was 35. 
After about 5 minutes, I checked the number being served… Great, still at #26.  Somebody must be buying half the pharmacy. 
I was getting fidgety but still I tried to keep my cool.  I sent my son (who opted to stay in the car) a text message: #forever. 
The next numbers got called eventually.  I saw an old schoolmate come in and got a number.  Hers was #43… when we both looked at the counter, the number being served was #33.  I gave a sympathetic shrug.  Join the club, sister…
We just ended up chatting.
***
Things don’t always go as we planned.  There are situations we cannot control, people who are not always reliable.  There are trying moments.  Patience truly is a virtue. 
But when we don’t give in to that urge of lashing out, or allowing our emotions to get out of control, I believe we will be better off in the long run.  
I won’t say, though, that I was not on the verge of a tantrum yesterday, because I seriously was.  But then, exhibiting patience is more mature.  
And so, I decided to take the high road. #chooseyourbattles
*****
photo via google images
Patience definition from google