Life Matters

peace and quiet

At just about the same time that I was writing my blog last Friday, something tragic was happening in Japan.

As I was musing about the universe telling me something by way of a sudden increase in my blog hits, somewhere out there, nature was making its power felt thru a strong earthquake and a devastating tsunami.

My sign was just a mere whisper.  For the people affected by the earthquake and the tsunami, the universe practically sent them a scream. 

There may be no connection between me and them.  Or there is a great connection between all of us, because we are all living in one planet… our lives, one way or the other, interwoven. 

As I watched the news about the calamity that befell Japan, I can’t help but be ashamed of the little things that I let myself get bothered by.  Somehow, my concerns seemed trivial, even shallow, compared to the plight of the ones affected by the calamity.   

The tsunami that hit Japan showed how everything is fleeting.  In a split second, one can lose everything that he has.  It also made me realize that one can never be too ready.  Having too much money, or a big house, or whatever material stuff you can think of, cannot protect you from whatever the universe throws your way. 

A lot of things we deem important all of a sudden seemed to lose their relevance.

Fragile and Precious

Life is fragile.  It can be taken away from you with or without warning.  That’s why your every single breathing moment should count. (And yes, it’s not about counting blog hits.) 

Life is precious.  Each of us has only one life to live.  Perhaps the best thing to do is to live it well. 

What does living well mean?  Maybe it’s by choosing to be happy.  It’s by choosing to make other people happy.  It’s about lending a hand to others less fortunate… putting a smile on someone else’s face… or even by just smiling at other people.

Maybe it’s about sharing.  It’s by blessing others with what you, yourself, are blessed with.  It may be by sharing what you no longer need to those who need it more… or sharing your talent for others to learn from… or maybe even sharing your time with those people who really just need someone who will listen or stay with them. 

Sometimes we get  too wrapped up in ourselves that we worry and we get stressed and anxious about the littlest things.  Our world seems to get so small… basically because our world revolves around ourselves.

Look outside.  There’s a big world around you.  Other people share your troubles.  There are other people who have greater troubles even. 

Maybe if we know what it means to be thankful… REALLY thankful… for the things that we have, then life won’t be such a struggle. 

contentment

Yes, I believe in striving hard to get better.  I believe in expecting greatness.  We all deserve that.  Yet I also believe in contentment.  Contentment doesn’t mean limiting yourself or setting your standards low.  To me it’s about being at peace with what you have and not putting emphasis on just the material things.  It’s about being grateful for what you have at present. 

It is about finding joy in what you have, what you are doing and where you are.  In the end, that’s all that really matters, right? 

“I had no shoes and complained, until I met a man who had no feet.” 

– Indian proverb

 

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photos via weheartit.com

Author’s note: Welcome back, my pretty pink background! 🙂

Highlight of My Year

The year 2010 seemed to have just breezed by. 

I don’t know why but as we get older, the days just pass quickly.  You wake up on a Monday (sometimes grudgingly), do your work or your errands… before you know it, it’s midweek already… and then it’s the weekend… and then you’re back to Monday. Unlike when we were young and the days seemed endless.  You stay in school for what feels like a very long time, but in reality, it’s just a school year.  Or remember those endless summer days and nights?  They just seemed, well, endless…

endless days

The last two weeks of December was a blur.  It was a series of Christmas parties, reunions, dinners and lunches.  It was mostly fun, somewhat tiring, and a whole lot fattening.  I think I gained about five pounds just these past couple of weeks.  THAT is definitely NOT the highlight of my year. 

I have to say, though, that I have honed my entertaining skills given the number of times I hosted a Christmas reunion/party at home this year.  Not bad for someone who used to be afraid of having guests at home.  Like I told a friend of mine, I was truly channeling Giada de Laurentiis these past two weeks!

sample of my feast

Right now I am preparing — yet again —  for another gathering… New Year’s countdown this time.  But before I turn on the domestic diva mode, let me recall the things that happened this year (2010) that pretty much stood out.

—  We moved to a new house end of 2009, and was fully settled by January.  Fully settled meaning most of the house is fully decorated.  However, we kept tweaking some parts — add tiles here, put a roof there, add glass and wood on the fence, etc… thus,  basically the relationship with the architect is long lasting.

— I became more hospitable, more welcoming… I learned how to warmly receive guests.  I used to be afraid of big parties at home.  I dreaded having to fix up afterwards.  For some reason, after we moved to the new house, my perspective changed.  I looked forward to having guests.  We have a group that meets at my home almost every other week.  I have thrown countless parties — and enjoyed every minute of organizing them.  One thing I learned, as I opened my house, I basically opened my heart to people, as well. 

— I started to write regularly again.  Thanks to this blog, I am able to do something that I am passionate about.  I may not be able to write as often as I want, but I do try.  And it’s the perfect outlet.  I love, blogging.

— A favorite writer of mine posted a comment on one of my blogs. Yey!  I almost died of shock, but yey! just the same. Did I say I love blogging?!

— I met new friends and got closer to old ones.  My baseball family is really like family.  I believe all those games helped strengthen the bond between us.  It is good to know that there are people who will look after my son when I’m not around… the same way that they can trust me with theirs when the need arises.  I am also thankful for the blog friends that I found this year.  Who would have thought?  I started blogging just with the goal of somehow being read by someone… I never expected I will form friendships along the way.  A big bonus… or better yet, a blessing. 

— We got a dog.  A yellow labrador. Now a big, yellow labrador. A big, yellow labrador that drags me around the garden whenever I am the one holding him.  I used to be afraid of dogs.  I didn’t like the noise, the smell and the thought that they might bite my legs.  But now I know what googly puppy look means.  My big labrador gives me that look and my heart just melts. I love this dog to bits!

— Sometime during the year I realized I was losing some jewelry.  The thing was, I couldn’t just accuse anyone.  Given the number of workers who went in and out of the house (because it has been a work in progress, like I said), I had no proof.  I was heartbroken.  For some time I didn’t know who to trust, how to trust… But then I guess the most important learning that I had given the incident was that after all that has happened, one’s relationships with people are still more important than any material thing.    And yes, I learned to be more careful (and responsible) with my things, too. During that really low point, I prayed for inner peace, more than anything. 

— I counted — and shared– my blessings.  I became more appreciative of what I have.  Appreciative and thankful.  And I learned how to share wholeheartedly… without expecting for anything in return.  I knew that when you bless someone, you will be blessed back.

count your blessings

Moving on… moving forward…

I am thankful for all the days I was blessed with this year, whether good or bad, exciting or boring… Am glad I was given those days.  I am thankful for friends, near or far… from baseball fields to malls, from Ohio to London to Sweden… You guys totally rock!!  I am so blessed, indeed.

And I am looking forward to another year of abundance. 

Happy New Year everyone!  See you next year… or tomorrow. 🙂

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photo credits: beach house and blessings — via weheartit.com;  Sumptuous feast — mine!!!

Mommy tantrums

Last night i found myself ranting about someone I don’t really know, but never really liked (that usually happens when past relationships get entangled with present ones).  I was going at it for a good ten minutes when my 11yr old overheard what I was saying and asked if that person I was saying mean things about did something bad to me personally before.  I said no, but her existence somehow has an effect on my life and the thought of her just irritates me.

To this, my son replied, “But mom, why can’t you be the bigger person?”

That basically shut me up. 

(mommy in tantrum mode)

  

It dawned on me that while I was whining and complaining like a spoiled brat,  my son was teaching me the mature thing to do.  Be the bigger person.  Pretty embarrassing, really.  At that moment, the roles were reversed.  I was the immature one.

We teach our children about fairness, about having good manners, about patience, understanding, about not being petty… all the good things, all the values that we would want them to imbibe.  But sometimes we forget that we do have to be role models.  We have to set an example… we cannot teach them one thing and act the opposite way.  We do have to be careful with our words and our actions specially around our kids because we don’t want to  be inconsistent.

Being the bigger person is not always easy.  There really are people who just rub you the wrong way that the mere mention of their names make you go ballistic.  Yet how can you expect your children to be non-violent, peace loving citizens, when they see you blowing your top just at the mere mention of one name?   

Self-restraint.  This is something we should all have. 

Yes, and next time I rant about some person I dislike, I’ll make sure that my son’s not within earshot.

 

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photo credit : myvibrantfamily.com

 

Sunshiny day

I like waking up early.  

Who am I kidding?  I don’t really like waking up early.  I’m a night person. I can stay up the whole night… reading a book, drinking coffee, watching tv, surfing the net, chatting with people from the other side (of the world, okay?)…  So before I sleep, I hope and pray that i don’t need to wake up at such unholy hour (say, 5:15am, even before the sun rises).

But that’s wishful thinking.  Because I am a mom. I am a hands-on supermom.  I have to be up early, specially on weekdays.  Whether i sleep at 10pm or 3am, I’m still the first one up the following day. Up and about.

After years of following the same schedule, I have come to realize that there is something special about being awake early — and that’s the chance to see and watch the sunrise.  

Facebook | Minhas fotos – MOTL      

Looking at the sky as the sun rises, watching a new day as it unfolds…  awesome feeling. 

 

Hope abounds.

Autumn Landscape | Flickr – Compartilhamento de fotos!

 

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photo credit: weheartit.com