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!!!

Princess for a Day… (A Birthday Blog)

fit for a princess

Twenty years ago, around this time of year, I celebrated my 18th birthday with a big party. With big, I meant, gowns, suits, good food, party coordinator, mobile band, photo and video coverage, the works. 

My real birthday wasn’t until after two weeks, but since it was December and there were a lot of bookings for Christmas parties and weddings, the only available date for our chosen venue was the first of December.  It was supposed to be a garden party but it started raining midday so the venue coordinator decided it was best to move the party to the main ballroom upstairs.

I remember visiting a nearby church that afternoon with my mom.  I remember seeing her crying, angry at the weather for ruining the original idea of having a garden party.  But as I prayed, I just offered a prayer of thanksgiving.  I thanked the Maker for, well, making me and blessing me with another birthday.  I thanked Him for the opportunity to celebrate with my family and friends.  I thanked Him for everything that I had and I think the only thing I asked for was for my friends to be able to attend.  (Oh, and I think I prayed for my accounting exam that I took the day before…)

Twenty years is a long time.  Somehow, I still remember bits and pieces of  my 18th birthday party…

  • I had no boyfriend then.
  • My escort was a cousin who was a couple of years younger.  He was more nervous than me because we had to do the waltz.
  • My sister and another cousin were the hosts of the evening.
  • My sister lost the list of names for my 18 roses dance.  She improvised.  Ended up calling the names of her friends instead of mine!! (Dear, dear sister.  I never let her host any of my events after this)
  • I have a family friend nicknamed Booey who was asked to dance by a schoolmate of mine.  With the music blaring, he couldn’t quite get her name right.  He kept calling her “Boobsy” the whooole night.  (Shame!!)
  • I had a hundred guests. I think half of those were my parents’.  Hahaha.
  • It was 1990.  The song of the night — if not the year — was… All right stop, collaborate and listen…  “Ice, Ice Baby.” 
  • Ice, Ice Baby ended the evening.

Vanilla Ice was THE man!!!

I was a happy, single, 18yr old sophomore college student then.   I was studying in a good university, I had great friends, my family was intact.   Perhaps my main and only real concern at that time was passing my Accounting exams. 

At that time I didn’t really know yet what I wanted to do in life.  I was young, naive and pretty clueless about my future.  Maybe I was a bit scared of uncertainty, but I was expectant of great things to happen.

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Now,  20 years (and about 20 pounds) later…

I am no longer the naive girl that I once was.  Experience has taught me a lot.  I can make my own decisions and I am firm about the things that I want as well as the ones that I don’t.  I value my non-negotiables.  I now know when to shed a silent tear and when to be a drama queen.  I choose my battles… and I try to choose well.

Oftentimes I am clueless about certain things… but because I am a mom and children look up to me, I try to exude confidence and intelligence.  Moms are supposed to be all-knowing, so I dare not burst the child’s bubble. 

I still get scared of things unknown, things uncertain.  But now, I have more faith in myself. I also have more faith in Someone greater than myself.  I know I will be led.

I still continue being thankful.  Thankful that I have a family that has been ever supportive.  Thankful for my son — the very reason why I try to be the best person I can be, always.  I am thankful for not being alone.  I am thankful for my high school friends who are still my bestest friends ’til today. I am thankful for the new friendships that I have forged.  

I am thankful for this gift called life and for each and every breath that I continue to take. 

And I thank the heavens that I don’t have to take another accounting exam ever. Ever, ever…

Just as I was when I was 18, I am still expectant of greater things to come.

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Let's parteee!!!

 

I have no plans for this year’s birthday yet.  Most likely I will spend the day wrapping Christmas gifts… then maybe have a quiet dinner with the family.  Maybe my birthday weekend will be about baseball games and Christmas parties.  I really don’t mind.  At the end of the day, it’s about spending it with the people I love.

It’s 2010.  I have no idea what this year’s best song will be… but I have a feeling I’ll be hearing Justin Bieber’s Baby over and over before the year ends…

 

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photos via google images and clipart