Filling the hole in our heart.

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They say dogs love you, cats own you. Maybe so. Cats are just as loving as dogs. They are love, oozing with so much love to give and receive. With their love, we become captives. I had two cats, Maurice … Continue reading

Last Impression

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The Empty Chair spoken by Tyrone Siglos for Josh Siglos So strange to hear this spoken at the church service tonight. Beside my bed is an empty chair. Lucy my cat and I were in bed, suddenly something fell from the … Continue reading

Memory

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THERE ARE TWO WAYS of remembering. One is to make an excursion from the living present back into the dead past. The old sock remembers how things used to be when you and I were young. The faraway look in his eyes is partly the beer and partly that he’s really far away.

The other way is to summon the dead past back into the living present. The young widow remembers her husband, and he is there beside her.

When Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me,” (1 Corinthians 11:24) he was not prescribing a periodic slug of nostalgia.

~ Frederick Buckner

A Certain Smile

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Joshua Edward Siglos

Joshua Edward Spackman Siglos

Do you smile to tempt a lover, Mona Lisa?
Or is this your way to hide a broken heart?
Many dreams have been brought to your doorstep
They just lie there and they die there

Last night, my family and I were looking at Josh’s photo and I said, he has that certain smile. A Mona Lisa’s smile.

Is his smile happy or sad? I would like to think that his smile is unequivocally happy. It’s not rocket science. Being surrounded by his family loving him to bits and unconditionally, of course, he is happy.

Even his eyes, the eyes will follow us no matter where we are in the room. A gaze that will make you wonder, what is he thinking? Again, happy or crappy thoughts? His thought is brilliant, a gifted mind.

We wish he is here with us to ask him: Hey Josh, what do you think of your photo? What is the meaning of your smile?

The answer will remain a mystery, more mysterious than Mona Lisa.

Josh Siglos died at a young age of 31 on April 28, 2017.

Life is full of surprises

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Who would know where life would take you. We make plans, we check it twice, we cross our t’s and dot our i’s, we invest all our energy and yet, we could never be sure. My mother said many times … Continue reading

The Gift of Prayer

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We have just finished our third night of prayer for our dearly beloved, Lorena when her sister’s mother-in-law followed Lorena’s footsteps. Now, we have to remember the mother-in-law in our prayers as well. Tonight will be the sixth evening that is extra … Continue reading

Border Security

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With heightened awareness on the growing tension crossing the border to USA, we make sure that we bring all proper identification. Canadian passport might not be enough because our passport states our country of origin, Philippines. Should we ever get … Continue reading

Tetris, CareNotes and Prayer Beads

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Wall Recreated: Love is the answer

He was willing to bare all if even one person could relate to any part of his story and find strength in their family and friends, but most importantly within themselves. – Repurpose a story.

Safe. I felt safe being there. Stay. The ward is a lock-down facility to keep me safe. Mind. I didn’t mind the least bit. I don’t know where to go; don’t know where to stay. When in doubt, do nothing. Minding what is safe, I stayed, for a while.

The ward is equipped with TV, funny magazines, pool table, jigsaw puzzles, coloring books; items to keep me amused or occupied but none of these interest me. So I sat on the floor at the end of the long corridor looking out through the glass door. Here alone I played Tetris, read CareNotes and rolled the prayer beads with my fingers.

Tetris, a gift from my sister Poteet. A game she took away from my nephews. As I recall, the new computer game was causing problems that the boys were glued to it and neglecting to go outside to play the real stuff. I don’t like any kind of computer programs. I was once a computer geek in my younger days writing programs, test programs and application. It drove me crazy trying to solve someone’s programming that has no logic. But Tetris became a real stuff for me inside the ward. It helped me focus. It helped me solve problems. It helped me shape and organized my mind objectively. It helped rewire, build blocks and expand the plasticity of my brain.

CareNotes is all I can find at the Chaplain’s office. The Chaplin’s office is always closed. Never saw him, never met him, and never talked to him. The notes hang outside his office. I know he came around when there are new CareNotes. I collected them all. Dealing With Suicidal Feelings, Climbing Up From Depression, Believing in Your Own Inner Goodness, Finding Strength to Survive a Crisis or Tragedy, Making Sense Out of Suffering, Bearing the Special Grief of Suicide, Easing the Burden of Stress, Encountering Midlife, Emerging Renewed, Finding God in Pain or Illness, Walking with God Through Grief and Loss, Letting Tears Bring Healing and Renewal. CareNotes is an endless resource giving meaning to my question “Why Me?” Now, these CareNotes are my bathroom companion, at home. Good reads not just for me but as well as anyone that uses the toilet.

Prayer Beads enclosed came in a card from my other sister and she wrote: April 5, 1992. Dearest Lady, A priest in Toronto who cares deeply is giving you his personal rosary. This has been blessed and carries with it his own prayers for your well-being and that you will find it in you to pray the rosary. Lady, believe in the power of the rosary and you will be fully alive again. Love and prayers, always. Thelma.

I did not pray the rosary. I do not know how to pray, then. I carried it with me, though. I clutch it when I go to bed, never let it go. Should I wake up in the middle of the night with no prayer beads on my hand, I panic.  Searching for it in the darkroom, the beads glow in the dark and with a sigh of relief of finding it, I kissed the cross and went back to sleep. The rosary is now gone; I don’t know how I lost it. But I still go to bed with a rosary on my hand. Can’t sleep without it just like a child with a teddy bear to snuggle with to have a goodnight sleep.

My family reads my blog and provides me articles in relation to the topic that I write. My sister Carmen sent me a Report on Business at the Globe and Mail about ‘Irv’. Irv and I share a common ground: Mental Illness.

It has been a long week of Let’s Talk. Stay well and be well, Perpetua.

A letter to my nephews and nieces. Hi Kids, I am not really crazy.

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Hi Kids, Before you make up stories about me, I want to set the records straight that I am not really crazy as you think. Crazy enough that you guys had so much fun being with me doing all the … Continue reading

The Perfect Card

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Looking for a perfect card that will match the person’s personality can be a challenge especially for my sister who never ever change. She epitomizes the word sameness. That is, the same hair style for all those years.

She wears her hair on a bun!

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Her hair is naturally long and black. Lucky person, no white hair for a 70-year-old. Unlike me, my hair is arctic white. I must have received all the white genes in our family.

As for a birthday card, we found the perfect image of her.

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I kid you not, when we were younger, we ‘teased’ her hair to create a beehive.

Happy Birthday, sister.

The Power of Tiny

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When I was a tiny girl, everyone looks gigantic. But this story is not about me. The story started when I was a tiny girl watching my sister sew clothes for a living. I remember she kept a little statuette tucked … Continue reading

Thank Goodness It’s Wednesday

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I told my sisters not to shop on their trip to Holy Land and pay more attention to the real purpose of their pilgrimage: to walk where Jesus walked. So, instead, they sent me a photo of what they could … Continue reading

Yes, Jake, memories of you do last even if you are a cat

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To lose a pet always comes with anguish. You wake up everyday and there they are. It becomes so much like breathing you can’t imagine them not ever being there. They ask so little of us food, water, love and … Continue reading

FUN ~ Bring it on!

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What do simple folks do? We are simple folks that have strong family values. We are community oriented. We live nice quiet lives devoid of drama in comparison to humans in People Magazine or Entertainment Tonight or Camelot. Every year, … Continue reading

Skip the cherry.

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My niece is a professional baker. She found a prodigy, little Jimmie, to take over her profession. Got to start them young, you know. Cupcake is Jimmie’s all time favorite with icing and M&M’s on top. Jimmie’s main instruction was … Continue reading

Word of the day

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The word for the day is ideate in Miriam-Webster dictionary. Looking at the word, breaking it down to syllables and think about it to form what it means in my head first is the game I play without jumping into the meaning. I … Continue reading

The Problem of Belonging: Being a Catholic in a Big Family

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We are a family of 13 and we are Catholic. I happen to be the tenth in line and drop in the bucket in Catholic community. As a younger sister, the rule is to listen to your elders. be respectful and … Continue reading

At the end of the day, victory prevails.

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Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman: these are just a few superheroes the children want to be when they grow up. As adults, we show them they are the symbol of victory, the one who will save us, to serve and protect … Continue reading

Learning to be at home

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And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey, a journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful, by which we arrive at the ground at … Continue reading

Roman Numeral XIII

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Tattooed on his left hip is roman numeral XIII. At age seventeen, he had this number permanently inked on his birthday suit. It is meaningful to him because it was at that age the bullying at school stopped. Growing up, … Continue reading

Cat’s Tale: Diary for Maurice

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Day 1: Maurice woke me up, breathing on my face and meowing. Startled and looked at the time, it was 4:01 pm in the afternoon. Everything was foggy since I went to bed delirious from having the ferocious flu bug, … Continue reading

In Praise of Mother: A Legacy of a Selfless Person

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I really do not know much about Mother. My siblings have asked her numerous times to write her story. If she can’t write maybe, she can record her memoir. They gave her a recorder. Thinking that she might do it, … Continue reading

Because We Are Girls

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Because we are girls Father wants us to stay home Because we are girls Mother wants us to be free Because we are girls Father does not want us to go to school Because we are girls Mother wants us to … Continue reading

Are you wearing pink? I am!

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Pink is about acceptance. Pink is about safety. SAFE KIDS: “Schools play an important role in helping children and youth develop this essential aspect of their social development – both by teaching healthy relationship skills and by modeling healthy relationship … Continue reading

A life for life

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Listening to my elders sharing their war stories fascinates me. Not that I enjoy knowing the gory details but understanding how they came to live a full life after the war. My Uncle “Tito Jess” is the best story-teller, ever. … Continue reading

Courage to come back: Joie de vivre rather than c’est la vie.

April 1

The birthday of my nephew who turned 25 years old this month of October and the demise of his friend took me back 23 years ago on Easter. This is a photo of my nephews and nieces I keep close to my heart as a reminder how far I have gone along in my journey of “mental” illness. We had more children added to this group since then.

Being released from the hospital on Easter, it was a great celebration but short-lived, I relapsed quickly. My family admitted me back to the hospital and stayed for a long time to make sure I get better. It was April fools and the joke was on me.

Some people are cruel that they are hasty calling me crazy. My response to this is “you have no idea” followed by a sinister laugh and facial expression similar to “one flew over the cuckoo’s nest” that I mastered to scare the living bejesus out of them for labelling me.

When they are too quick to judge, I fire back with a retort “take a hard look at yourself!” A statement that gives them something to think about.

Stigma? That is not in my vocabulary and I refuse to feel victimized.

Crazy as I may sound, I think being afflicted with this “mental illness” is a “blessing”.

I am blessed because I learned humility, compassion, love, kindness, tolerance, respect, perseverance, understanding, recovery, patience, hopeful, peace, joy, live at the moment and enjoying the in-between.

I learned to become thick skin and have broad shoulder. I used this “illness” to my advantage. I am aware that I will have this for the rest of my life, a part of me but it does not define me.

I am lucky that the medical professions that treated me are more knowledgeable about this illness. Even the school industry is educating the children and employers are actively promoting wellness in the work environment.

I simplified my life, focus on the ordinary, and make them extraordinary.

I can educate and advocate for young ones in my family and people in the community that no one has to live alone with a disease that is hereditary or caused by adversity in life.

With care, love and prayers of family, friends and community. I have the courage to come back and live a normal life.

Should I have succeeded on dying, I will not experience the joy of watching these children grow up, get married and have their own children. To hear Baby James call me Miss Pretty is music to my ears and the best medicine to provide relief to sadness.

Do I sound arrogant? That is not my intention. It’s pointless to wallow on self-pity and negativity. There’s plenty of that going around and it’s more contagious than a common cold.

There is a positive point of view in every situation. One can maintain a joie de vivre rather than resign to c’est la vie.

Humanity’s Greatest Desire

Coming from a big family, in part, I would think that I can get away from people during  a pilgrimage.  Wrong. What I experience is a sea of humanity. We all have this desire to belong and to connect.

After pouring our heart and soul to our devotion, we also have something in common that is totally different. Guess what?  SHOPPING!

The Grand Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar – Turkey

and this is my family, in part.

Family Reunion

Family Reunion

After all of these events, I spend  a great deal of “me” time.

Dad nominated for ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: He MUST do it.

I’m here today to do the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as nominated by Marky, Matthew, Jordan and Sean.

Marky

Marky

Dad: I’ve been nominated so many times, so I must do the Ice Bucket Water Challenge. So without further ado:

You Must Do It

You Must Do It

I hereby nominate:

My brother: YOU Must do it.

My brother-in-law: YOU MUST do it.

My sister: YOU MUST DO IT!

And that’s all. Thank you for coming to my Ice Bucket Challenge.

Mom: Is the bucket ready?

Kids: Daddy, be careful.

Mom: Jordan, don’t dump it, do it very s-l-o-w-l-y.

Dad: No: do it quickly.

GO…. woo hoooo….

Slow torture

Slow torture

Kids: laughter in the background

Mom: How was it.

Dad: Brrrrrrr..…. Argh, COLD !

AND: This is how it all started. Mom and Markus: You MUST watch this!  http://wp.me/a2QcZD-45a

 

I am happy and I always will be.

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   Totem Pole Mother is the Beaver because she is hardworking, looking after the children, cooking, cleaning and everything else. Little sister is the loon because she goes up to her room and reads all by herself. Sometimes she goes … Continue reading

Draw me something

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“I want to be a paleontologist.” “A paleonto what?” “I love dinosaurs and I want to take care of them.” “Well, you love Barney, Bamm-Bamm and Dino in Flintstones.  That’s only cartoons; besides dinosaurs are extinct. There are no more … Continue reading

Never enough

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NatGeo Kisses

Kisses

“Calvin: Dad where do babies come from?
Dad: Well Calvin, you simply go to Sears, buy the kit and follow the assembly instructions.
Calvin: I came from Sears?
Dad: No you were a blue-light special at K-Mart – almost as good and a lot cheaper!”
― Bill Watterson

 

Father and Son

Father and Son

“A little boy who had been to Sunday School told his father that he learned that God the Father and Son were equal.

The father said: “That is ridiculous. I am your father; you are my son. I existed a long time before you.”

“No,” said the boy, “you did not begin to be a father until I began to be a son.”

~ Archbishop Fulton Sheen

Happy Father’s Day To One and All.  Blessings.

Two is better than none

poster two

I love
My two dads
I love
My two moms

Love!

Imagine that these are adopted
children  and brought into
a loving home. They were given
food, shelter, education,
plenty of love to be had and
grew up happily.  The only difference
is that their parents are in the same
sex relationship.
Moms, Dads, daughter, son.

Diversity!

Imagine that these two children have no
parents, unwanted, grew up on the street
and became a statistics.

Imagine!

“Heterosexism refers to the assumption that
all people are heterosexual and that
heterosexuality is superior and more
desirable than homosexuality.”

“Homophobia is the irrational fear and hatred
of homosexuals.  Both of these are
perpetuated by negative stereotypes and are
dangerous to people and communities.”

Definition!

 

Mother’s Day: Then and Now

“Mother’s Day is a personal, family and memorial day. It’s a celebration for sons and daughters; a thank offering for the blessings of good homes.

Anna Jarvis“Make Mother’s Day a family day of reunions, messages to the absent and the spirit of good will to all. It is a constructive movement emphasising the home as the highest inspiration of our individual and national lives. Mother’s Day is a day of sentiment — not sentimentality; a day for everybody, but is well named Mother’s Day, for where better can sentiment start?,”

Jarvis told the Miami Daily News in a heated interview in 1924 to make a stand defending Mother’s Day against turning it into a “hallmark” occasion.

If you hate the commercialism of Mother’s Day, then you’re not alone — in fact, you have the ideal person in your corner.

Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother’s Day, hated it too.

The American woman who single-handedly worked to make Mother’s Day a national holiday was reportedly so disgusted to hear that a department store was having a Mother’s Day sale that she threw her lunch on the floor. Jarvis then dedicated her life to disbanding the day she spent six years campaigning Congress for.

Jarvis’ original intention was that Mother’s Day would be a day to honor the sacrifices women made for their families.

And to add, a comment  from Mr. T.  of  SpeakListenPrayDon’tBeS …

Links:
Anna Jarvis ~ Founder of Mother’s Day
Image source

On the move from hall to hall

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“Music is a world within itself, with a language we all understand. You can feel it, they can feel it, you can feel it all over people” ~ Stevie Wonder Hurry up, and wait. It never fails.  My family and … Continue reading

Easter is Way Better than Christmas

It must be the season of the year that Easter feels way better than Christmas.

After being all coop up inside the house from rainy fall to cold winter, spring fever infected our family.  Of course, the adults instigated all these fun and games.

First we imprisoned the young ones and just let them have a look what the outside world looks like.  Ha, the bunnies are hopping all over the place.

With the youngest as high as our knees, we make sure that it’s feasible for this young tyke to find all the goodies at his eye level.  Basically we just threw the goodies all over the ground.  For the older children, they might just have to climb the tree to pluck the egg.
Collage Easter

The baby had a good five minutes head start before the older children.  We did help baby to find some eggs hidden under the leaves and on the cars but he is more interested on picking the ornaments planted on the ground.
Collage The Hunt

Oh what a crazy family I belong.  Crazy that we are, there is so much love, support and faith in this clan.

We were all in the background, cheering and egging one another.  Cars have slowed down to watch what’s the commotion was all about.  Neighbors were too curious and inquisitive what’s going on.  My sister was kind enough to bring them food since they are too shy to join the festivity.

Actually, anyone can join.  Easter Egg hunting has nothing to do with race or creed.

After the ruckus and after 40 days of NPO (nothing per orem), what it means basically is fasting, we have to feast.  Food, drinks and fattening stuff to replenish all that fat we shed.

Easter is definitely way better than Christmas.  No obligatory presents, no dress up, no sweat.  It’s all for the glory of celebrating that rites of a living God.

Keeping my Mother alive

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.” ― Shannon L. Alder

Mother subscribed to “Living with Christ” that I took over when she died. I changed the mailing address and kept her name. It’s a booklet of daily mass readings.

As years go by, I noticed I started receiving other mails addressed to her.  Now, there are more mails for her than for me.  These envelopes are coming from various charitable and health organizations asking for donations.  Some mails even have greetings cards, address labels, calendars, pens, bags and other goodies.  I consider these as bribes.

motherWho on earth is keeping my Mother alive?

I know that there is an industry that collects and sells data of name and address of other people.  At the same token some organizations buy the list for solicitation purposes.  I wonder if they have any idea that some people on the list are dead.

I find it rather amusing that these organizations are totally clueless.  One envelope is from Heart and Stroke.  Do I dare tell them that Mother actually died of a massive heart attack on March 31, 2000?

Seeing all these mails for Mother is one way of keeping the memory of her alive.  I do not have the heart to return them to sender for I love receiving her mails.

Mother left us a lasting legacy of love, faith and hope.

Love is her guiding principle, faith is her foundation and hope kept her forging ahead to raise her thirteen children as a single mother.  Like most parents, she wanted the very best for her children.

Mother had a tremendous responsibility to maintain love and care for one another in our family unit. She provided a modest rented apartment as our home that is welcoming.  Even though our home is small, our friends and classmates are part of the family. There was a sense of belonging and ease.  They even call her Mother, too.

When it comes to education, Mother wanted us to focus our energy on studying since she only finished Grade 4.  Once we graduated from University, only then can we try extracurricular activities such as having a boyfriend.

Family is all about relationship of unconditional love, giving and nurturing.  She loved, gave and nurtured.  Her children came first and sacrificed her own personal wants; a very altruistic person. She set a good example and standard for me, my siblings, family, friends and community.  The community presented her an award as Mother of the Year.

When I was younger, I cannot see through what Mother is.  Only then, as I grow older and have more time to contemplate and reflect about her, I can truly say how blessed I am that she chose me to live and saved my life when I became gravely ill.  Not just me but so many others before me.  We are all lucky to have Mother.

Even though she’s no longer here on earth, we keep her legacy of love, faith and hope.  And for as long as we are alive, we will continue to speak and tell stories to the younger generations.

Family Reflection

”No one is ever born into Life alone. Everyone has shared the bond of family, at least at birth, and for many people, it is a bond that will follow them throughout life. For many people, it is the most important bond of all.”

I was lucky enough to have in my life a family filled with love, compassion, acceptance, and tolerance. I am what I am as a direct result of a family life where belonging is imperative.  It is gratifying to my health and one of the reasons why I am still alive.  Without my family’s caring nature, I cannot conceive living alone.

Reflection 25 years ago

Reflection 25 years ago

When I was younger, I tagged along with my sister, her husband, and two boys.  Have a van, and we traveled anywhere. I was more than welcome to join since I can chop woods and carry water on top of being a babysitter. Stopping on a pristine crystal clear rocky river bed to cool off on the way to the campground is always part of the fun.

Reflection of my 17 year old nephew

Reflection of my 17-year-old nephew

I used to drive the children around and take them on a field trip.  Sometimes, I am the one that takes them for the weekend of cub scouts or brings the boys along on a camping trip without the parents.  Yes, they trusted me with their children.  Trust is essential.

Years flew by, and I am the one being driven around by their fifth child. Making a short conversation so that I don’t distract him while driving, I asked: “Aren’t you much too young to drive as a sixteen-year-old?”  He quickly exclaimed: “I’m seventeen years old!”  “Oh, pardon me, young man,” I responded.  His father beside him was chuckling while he teaches his son to drive. No, I wasn’t scared of a young person driving me home.  I trust him.

Reflection of a one and half child

Reflection of a one and half-year-old child

Life is all about playing when I am with my sister’s grandson. At his age, everything is magical even playing hide and seek behind a jug of water. ROAR he screamed as he was trying to scare me with his dinosaur sound.

Through thick and thin our family will pass the bonding to the younger generation. I am hopeful that we have shown them the importance of forming an intimate family unit as a cornerstone of our existence.

The Art of Selfie: Call me Miss Pretty.

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On a beautiful autumn day, one cannot help but feel good and pretty inside.  Taking photos of the most colourful neighbourhood, a few people had the same idea as me.  It was amusing to watch some of them taking a … Continue reading

I’m Done!

I received an e-mail from my sister that she’s done! And I am not!

Today is her first day of not having to go to work. RETIRED!

Am I jealous?  Of course, I am.  She’s only 60 and a day, I think.

Now, I have to look for this book to keep her busy, or maybe I’ll teach her how to knit, bake, do gardening, or better yet blog at WordPress.

Retirement: When you quit working just before your heart does.  — Unknown wise person

Instagram of Gratitude

A weekend lost was a weekend found

becca
I learned that vulnerability is okay,
to unmask myself,
I am not the only one who faces obstacles in life,
to make the most of time,
to “just be,”
and that I am more than ordinary.

God has numerous wonderful plans in store for me.
His love is the most selfless and everlasting love.

I cannot put into words how thankful I am
to be surrounded with people who love me
and go that extra mile to make me happy.

Sometimes the adults wonder what the children are thinking.  Most importantly, sometimes we wonder whether we have raised the children well.  We can only hope that they are safe and sound when we are not around to protect them.

This is an instagram from “becca”, my youngest brother’s daughter who is more than happy to share it with me.

These are her words, the breaks and italics are mine.

Proverbial Family

We are born in a family that we did not ask for, and we can’t trade them for another.  Families are complicated, and they are the most important thing in the world.  The relationship we have for our family may be filled with love or skeleton in the closets.   And if we can’t get rid of the skeleton, we might as well make them dance.

Family entertainment at the park

Family entertainment at the park

“To understand your parents’ love, you must raise children yourself.”– Chinese proverb

Family Summer Camp

Family Summer Camp

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family: Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”– Jane Howard

Family shell seekers on the beach

Family shell seekers on the beach

“Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!”– Albert Einstein

Family travelling by bike along the Camino de Santiago

Family traveling by bike along the Camino de Santiago

“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”– Mother Teresa

Family visits the grave of their Mother

Family visit the grave of their Mother

“Family life is too intimate to be preserved by the spirit of justice. It can be sustained by a spirit of love which goes beyond justice.”– Reinhold Niebuhr

Quotes source: Keep Inspiring Me.

Letter to your future self

Have you ever written a letter to yourself only to be opened in the future?  I did.

In one of the retreats I attended, I wrote a letter to myself, sealed it in an envelope, addressed to me, left it at the retreat office and mailed it to me a year later.  I completely forgot about the letter until I received it.  Excitedly opened it, read it, put it back in the envelope, stored it away and cannot recall the content of the letter.  Currently, I don’t know where I have hidden it.  Maybe one day, I’ll find it before I die or maybe my family will.

What brought me to write this is due to Taylor.

Taylor was a vibrant 12-year old girl.  She died young due to pneumonia-related complications.  When her parents were going through her things, they discovered a sealed envelope addressed to her future self:  “To be opened by Taylor Smith on April 13, 2023, only unless said otherwise,”

The letter reads:

little girlDear Taylor,

How’s life? Life is pretty simple right now (10 years in your past). I know I’m late for you, but as I’m writing, this is early, so; congratulations on graduating high school! If you didn’t go back and keep trying. Get that degree! Are you (we) in college? If not, I understand. We do have pretty good reasoning, after all. Don’t forget, it’s Allana’s 11th birthday today! Sheesh, 11 already? In my time, she just turned 1! I didn’t get to go to that party though, because I was in Cranks, Kentucky for my first mission trip. I’ve only been back for 6 days!

Speaking of, how’s your relationship with GOD? Have you prayed, worshipped, read the bible, or gone to serve the lord recently? If not, get up and do so NOW! I don’t care what point in our life we’re in right now, do it! He was mocked, beaten, tortured, and crucified for you! A sinless man, who never did you or any other person any wrong!

Read the rest of the letter here.

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ithinkimfinallyunderstand HASHTAGS#

Who else would teach me about computer but the younger generations?  Not just computers, I learn so much about life from them.  It gives me so much pleasure listening to their constant chattering as if there is no tomorrow.  They don’t seem to run out of topic to discuss.  I’ve missed out on the gathering on Christmas, and since I cannot be with them, I have privy to their Facebook.

One thing I’ve noticed that the children’s mind is starting to develop and hardly post any selfies.  There are more writings than their faces.  These are some of my favorites.

LIFE ADVICE: One must always order a bowl of steamed rice to soak up the sauce.

LIFE ADVICE: One must always order a bowl of steamed rice to soak up the sauce.

I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! There was a time in my life when I wanted as many people as possible to like me and be my friend… but now I am proud to say that the QUALITY of my friendships outweighs the QUANTITY of friendships. I AM SO THANKFUL TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU FOR YOUR FRIENDSHIP. YOU DON’T EVEN UNDERSTAND. (God Bless!)

DID YOU KNOW… that the word MERCY in the Bible the root word is CHESED in Hebrew? It means steadfast love, covenant, loyal, faithful, love. So when we say “Have mercy on me” we aren’t only asking for forgiveness, but we are asking that they will continually love us past the hurt, pain or suffering that we may have caused.  (That’s beautiful.)

ithinkimfinallyunderstandingHASHTAGS#   (Almost. The # goes in front. )

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I’m changing myself.  #changing #yesterday #today

#tomorrow?
I don’t understand the tags. Is that where you are getting your quotes?
#today is better than #tomorrow. I just checked it out.
Secret as to where I get them. Haha. I read sometimes?

The longest walk we will have in our lives is the journey between connecting the heart and the mind #persevere   (deep, very deep…)

Every day is a small death to who you were yesterday. #dailyDeath  (I hope this means you are reborn today?!)

The only things I’ll ever regret are the things I didn’t do and the times I’ve stopped trying. #regrets  (EDITH PIAF. Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien, Subtitulado)

And especially this one: Family is everything.

2013 Things to do before I die: Done!

I only listed two things to do for 2013.  The third one is the gravy.  Gravy could mean I will die happy for having accomplished my endeavour.  The list is:

  1.  Cook ham the way my family does it
  2.  Cook turkey the way my family does it.


Who am I kidding?  I am not a domesticated chick that stays in the kitchen.  I’d rather
plant my own garden, be a cat woman, climb the mountain and be surprised by the light.

The Ham.  Done.  I fed it to Mr. Polish and Mother Teresa next door at Room 307.

The Turkey.  Done.

Impromptu party for YaYa sisterhood last night. They loved it.  Gave them all the left over.  Just like I said, I only eat the Pope’s nose.

As a reward for the sisters gobbling the turkey,  they each received a bottle of wine that I won at United Way and then some.  And then some means, unburdened me with gifts I received that I have no need and giving clothes that that they are eyeing for a long time.  They always enjoy coming here empty-handed and going home with party favours.

As for my reward:  The Carcass.

Mission accomplished. It’s a good day to die.

A Special Gift

Today, I received a gift.  For me, it’s nothing special.  From the giver, it’s a very special gift.  And the gift is one Mango.

This is a very special mango brought by the three special stooges (my nephews) all the way from Palawan, Philippines.  Men think differently when it comes to buying gifts.  I wonder what they were thinking in choosing a Mango for a gift?  Maybe they though this is a perfect gift?  Maybe they thought I want a mango?  Maybe they thought of surprising me.  Maybe they were not thinking at all?  Maybe I will surprise them by returning the gift!

mango

Not.

I am happy to receive the gift and happier even more that these young men came home safely.  That is the most important part.  As for the gift, it’s the thought that counts.  It’s a gift from God to bring them back to us, mango included.

Now, allow me to ask these questions.  Indulge me, please participate, especially the men.  The questions are:

  • What if you bought the perfect gift for someone you love and they wouldn’t open it?
  • Would you leave it with them so they could think about it and maybe open it later?
  • What do you think God does when His gift is not accepted?

If you do not believe in God, think of your higher power or think up of anything.  Your comment awaits.  Thank you.

 
 
Source:  Patricia

The rest is history

“There are causes worth dying for, but none worth killing for.”   ~   Albert Camus

Trying to gather some war stories from the family to document is just like pulling teeth. Inextricable

My first older four siblings, their dad was a World War II soldier. Their dad was my Mother’s first husband.  It’s just one of those things that we forget to share family stories especially our parents are no longer on earth.

Today, being Remembrance Day, I want to remember their dad.  So I sent out e-mails to them asking to tell me a story about their dad with emphasis on being a soldier.

I learned that he was a Major in the military of United States Armed Forces of the Philippines. His full name is Maximo Abendan Papas descendant of  Greek origin.  He was a prisoner of war and helped wounded co-soldiers in the concentration camp.  Their dad survived and escaped from the famous “Death March”.

Death March happened when the Japanese invaded the Philippines.  The Japanese have taken Americans and Filipinos as prisoners in 1942 and made them march 128 km to reach the camp .  There were many casualties that even the historians cannot take the full account of the prisoners.  War is war: prisoners were treated brutally, full of  physical and mental abuse.

Even their dad escaped, he did not escape the disease he contracted during the war and eventually died of lung cancer.  He was 36 years old.

My eldest sibling was only four years old when his dad died.  At that age, I suppose one has little memory of their biological father.  One thing that stood out in their story how they spoke highly of Mother’s second husband, my father.  Father was good to them and that he is the Father they know and love.

The rest is history according to my sisters.

The Best Gift of All

It seemed that it took forever to see a first Canadian baby born in our clan.  Finally, when the baby came, we nicknamed her Goldie.  Goldie because she is a precious little girl.  In her baptism, all of her Uncles and Aunties are her Godparents.  I mean all 10 of us plus a few friends of the parents.  I’ve lost count.

She is now an adult, fun to be with and the best baker in town.  It’s quite funny when she discovered an App that depicts her and started posting it in Facebook.

Here she is preparing for butter shortage, having fun in an accidental spillage, and baking us a cake to remind us of our mortality.

Well, she just celebrated her birthday and here I go again. Happy Birthday, Niece.

niece #1

As an adult, she hardly receives gifts from us.  Instead she gives us gifts, herself, the best gift of all.  Never ever change, sweet Niece.

Octoberian Costume Birthday Party

Fearing that I will miss the birthday party for the month of October while I was walking the Camino, they waited until most of us are present.  We celebrated it in style: costume birthday party just in time for Halloween.

It was all start cast:  Mini Mouse, Ginger of Gillian’s Island, Captain James of Star Trek, Ghost Buster, The Venetians, Race Car Driver, Pirate, Nemo, Nurse (a real one), Lulu the gypsy fortune-teller, M&M, Pikachu, Priest (a real one) and much more.

Minie, Capt. James & Ginger

Minie, Capt. James & Ginger

The leading person who turned 60 years old is my brother who looks like David Suzuki.

Lulu, the gypsy fortune-teller is a very memorable character in our family life.  She was my mother’s friend.  How she suddenly appeared in our life remains a mystery.

Suzuki and Lulu

Suzuki and Lulu

Mother has a way of helping out people.

I remember how Mother helped Lulu take a bath.  Lulu was apparently so dirty that the water turned brown.  She doesn’t speak our language and we only spoke English to her.  She came in and out of our apartment, bee-lined to the kitchen, helped herself out on any food to eat and made herself at home even Mother was not around.  Lulu called my mom Mother as well.  Mother is Mother to everybody and everyone.

Having had her fill, she takes out her Tarot card and starts reading them.  Talking to herself mostly and suddenly, she will say, Mother is here.  Huh? No she’s not, I said.  Next thing, Mother walks in the door.  How did she do that is beyond me.

Lulu gives Mother a reading whether she likes it or not.  Mother doesn’t mind.  I don’t know if Mother believes in fortune-telling or palm reading because it is quite contrary to our belief system.

One day, Lulu read in the card that we are going far away to another land.  Mother did not believe on that either.  And it did happen.  How did she do that?

Back to the party.  The Filipino tradition, if it’s our birthday, we are responsible for throwing in the party, bring our cake and eat it, too.  We do not wait for anybody to throw us a surprise party.  We do not wait for anybody.  We let the whole world knows that it’s our birthday and we invite as many people as we can to help us celebrate.  Celebrate we did.

As for my costume, I wore my hiking gear; boots, poles, backpack, hat, waterproof jacket and pants, iPad in a red leader pouch,  a camera, gloves, sunglasses, water bottle, etc.  Gosh, cannot believe I carried these for 15 days.  Eventually, I had to divest myself since it was boiling inside the house with all these characters and cooking going at the same time.

The Pilgrim

The Pilgrim

The cake is always gigantic.  There was no blowing of the candles because most of us are sick of colds and we definitely want to keep the germs to ourselves.

Birthday Cake

Good times, good times.  Happy Birthday to us.

Related link: Tenth month of the year

Competition

Competition is what I avoid and I am really good in avoidance.  It’s bad enough that I constantly wrestled with me, myself and I.

There is something to be proud about wrestling because my niece is graduating today after wrestling her way in becoming an Engineer.

She did several wrestling competitions and won some medals.

Medals, medals, medals

And a black eye to boot. 

Black eye

Black eye

Marianne, Congratulations.  I am very proud of you. 

Related link: Wrestling: Sakamoto vs. Marianne