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Showing posts from 2014

A Piano Tuner, a Beautiful Christmas Miracle and Conversations with God

“There are those who say that seeing is believing. I am telling you that believing is seeing.” -   Neale Donald Walsch, Home with God: In a Life That Never Ends Have you ever picked up the phone and called someone you haven't spoken to in a year and when you hang up you're in tears because it was like you were meant to call and listen. Well, I just had that phone call. Early this morning,   my daughter and I bought a simple, silver star for our Christmas tree. When we got to the cash register, I didn't realize it was $20 more than I planned on spending. I wasn't going to buy it but I saw twinkle in my 25 year-old daughter's eyes - just like when she was 2. So when we got home, my daughter and 13 year-old son put the star on top of the tree. Christmas carols were streaming in the background as we turned on the Christmas lights. And to our surprise - a delightful treat, we were like little kids giggling with joy becaus

We were robbed of $1400. The criminals used eBay to facilitate the crime and eBay isn't standing by their system or their customers.

On Sept 17, 2014, we auctioned my son's Canon camera Lens on eBay.  On Sept. 30, 2014 I received a notification from Paypal that I received a confirmed payment of $665 from Dawn Morris and that I should ship the merchandise. On the same day, Dawn communicated to me through the official eBay email system where to ship the lens that she had purchased for her daughter. On October 2, 2014, my son and I delicately gift wrapped the lens and added 8 complimentary lens bracelets. My son also included his business card with a note saying, "Thank you. If you have questions about the lens and photography, please feel free to contact me."  We were happy that another photography enthusiast was going to make use the camera lens. I mailed the lens to Dawn through USPS Priority Mail, and also provided the Insurance and Tracking Number of VH 950 586 367 US . A few days later, the buyer, gave my eBay account an A++ and positive feedback and thanked me for the len

A Glimpse of Downtown and Uptown New York

The Freedom Tower. NEW YORK. Need I say more? When people think of America, the first thing that comes to mind is New York City. Interestingly, when my train arrived at Penn Station New York, I was amazed at how many languages were spoken.  I passed 5 groups of people and none of them spoke English. It's the proof of the notion that New York City is America's melting pot. It was a beautiful autumn day when my husband and I decided to spend a day in New York. The City will always hold a special place in my heart because it's where we met and made our relationship official. We were excited to visit the World Trade District and witness the developments made to the Freedom Tower. News of the first tenants moving into the newly built One World Trade Center, 13 years after the September 11 attacks, gave us a little sense of pride and inspiration. Is the city ready to move forward?

Carnegie Hall, Dare to Dream, Care for Others and a lot of Chutzpah celebrated The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York

(L-R: Pianist Yasuhiko Fukuoka,  TOFANY Board Oliver Oliveros, Cristina DC Pastor and Elton Lugay) Filipino American History Month, also known as Filipino American Heritage Month, is celebrated in America in October. Various community leaders, advocates and their respective organizations schedule events and awards ceremonies   to recognize the history, heritage and accomplishments of organizations and individuals who have contributed to the betterment of the Filipino-American community. One special awards event dominates the social media mid-summer, sometime in July, when nominees are announced on Facebook.   By October, when every family, friends and colleagues have voted, everyone's newsfeed is flooded with the photo-profile of each outstanding nominee. Such event is the " The Outstanding Filipino Americans in New York (TOFANY)"   - an awards ceremony held at Carnegie Hall. Yes, you read it right. "How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Pr

Midterm Election, Health Care and Immigration: Absentmindedness, Anger, Angst, and Anxiety

H ave you ever felt helpless, can't concentrate, furious or restless? Well, I felt ALL that last month! October brought a massive surge of negative emotions that I couldn't push out, no matter how hard I tried. My  to-do list included: 1) Publish part 2 of  Out of Status 2) Finish the screenplay for a documentary 3) Exercise 4) Read a book - beginning to end 5) Follow-up my mother's immigrant petition 6) Renew health insurance plan BUT I wasn't getting anywhere -- well, except the exercise. Items 1 to 4 are non-essentials and didn't have a definite deadline, while 5 was important to me, 6 needed immediate decision. Immigration I talked about my family's immigration story in my book, " Out of Status"    , with hopes that one day, legislation would change -- especially the 10 year travel ban for those who overstayed. The thought that we're 13 months away from revisiting my mother's approved yet denied immigrant petition gave me

Finally Completed a Beachbody P90x Fitness Challenge - and crushed it!

"Your cholesterol numbers are high. Since your family has a history of heart disease, I'd like to put you on Lipitor." Cholesterol. High. Lipitor. These three words from my primary care doctor felt like I got in hit the head - really bad. My rationale: I was turning 50 and I was having a tug-o-war with my hormones. Not my fault! For the past 2 years I struggled to keep the weight. In addition, I'm petite so when I whined about the 10 pounds I gained and that my clothes were tight, people dismissed me like I had weight and body image issues. For the past two years, Mother Nature had a blast with the snow machine. I practically lived in stretchable work-out clothes which made it easy to not notice that I was gaining weight.  I was in denial because I always had this genetic power to lose weight fast. You see, when I was 25 years old, I was pregnant with my first. I weighed 95 pounds but by the time I gave birth, I was 167 pounds! After childbirth, I neve

Make every step count - TURN YOUR MILES (RED) and support the fight against HIV/AIDS

Do you like to walk? Do you like to run? What if you can turn those miles into something powerful -- something that can help donate funds to help purchase lifesaving pills which can help put an end to mother-to-child HIV transmission? Bank of America, (RED), and Nike+  joined together to "TURN YOUR MILES (RED)" - a campaign that started on October 12 and will go on through December 7, 2014.  For every Nike+ Running miles pledged to (RED), Bank of America will donate 40 cents - up to $1 million dollars. As posted in Bank of America's Newsroom: "Today, it costs as little as 40 cents for two lifesaving pills called antiretrovirals (ARVS) which, when taken daily, can prevent an HIV-positive pregnant woman from passing the virus to her unborn baby. Still, 650 babies are needlessly born with HIV every day. TURN YOUR MILES (RED) is an initiative designed to enable people at every fitness level to play a part in delivering up to $1 million to HIV medical clinics an

Take time to breathe

Everyday we struggle to find time for ourselves - to listen to what our heart truly feels, what our mind wants to discover, what our eyes wish to explore, what our ears can hear, and to experience the healing powers of our touch. Not everyday do we get to appreciate the benefits of just being able to breathe. Breathing sounds like a basic act that we often tend to forget that breathing alone is a proven stress reliever. We're in an age where we've trained our minds to focus on short bursts of data, we're always fidgety   -- always in a rush that we don't have time to fully take advantage of the powers our own body possesses. Today, I was blessed to have been re-introduced to the benefits of breathing and mediation through a practice with my friend, Gwen. Gwen founded " Nurtured Soul Yoga".     If you ask Gwen how her yoga journey began, she would say that it was "Divine Intervention". She was at the poin

Things a 50 year old mom do to hang out with her 13 year old son

Kind of  a silly title, but recently, that seemed to be my goal. There were times I wished video games weren't invented. Don't get me wrong, I, too, benefited from having my kid played video games. He learned a few techniques, some I wished he never discovered. The past few days had been challenging in terms of finding something to do that we both enjoyed. Earlier this week, I drove him and his friends to the skateboard park. He was concerned at first that I would be worried that him and his friends would get hurt that he suggested that I just drop them off and come back. Of course, that would never happen. I stayed at the parking lot looking over them while they skateboarded. I experienced a few pins and needles as they fell off their boards, but I tried not to make a scene -- I didn't want my son to revoke my invitation to sort of hang-out with him. Today, we were supposed to head to the City, but I just found out that my 13 year-old son didn't like

Happiness Found

"The present moment is filled with joy and happiness.   If you are attentive, you will see it." - Thich Nhat Hanh's The day started out on a positive note. I have a bad habit of checking my email every morning. You see, my family lives continents apart and the only way I keep in touch with them is through social media or email. That morning, my dear friend happened to email me about her 21-Day Complaint Free Challenge, and one of the quotes she mentioned was that of Thich Nhat Hanh's, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk. So is it true that the present moment is filled with joy and happiness? I was up early because I needed to be in uptown New York to find answers to a medical concern that was haunting my child for months. Spending time with my son is always a happy event. So I guess, so far so good. Fortunately, the neurologist gave us good news. To celebrate such a day, my son and I had an impromptu breakfast at a diner nearby his school. Another hap

September 11, 2001 : A Day We Will Never Forget

Does God have a plan? What can it be? Is it fate? Is it God’s will? Why so much violence? Those questions were raised by my children - at a very young age. September 10, 2001, I said my “goodbyes” to my parents. Because of corrupt lawyers, my parents had to move.   We had a little argument that night because I was upset. Then tomorrow came. It was September 11, 2001. A few minutes past 8 in the morning, I had just dropped off my three children at school. I was driving my Ford Expedition with my 6-month-old baby in his car seat, heading back home to drive my parents to the airport when I heard on the radio, Z100-FM, that an airplane had crashed into the World Trade Center . I hurriedly went back to the house and turned on the television. I couldn’t believe what I saw on television. My parents had originally planned on taking an earlier flight from Newark International Airport to San Francisco , where my Mom’s sister lives. However, in the previous wee

Quaint Happiness

 When you lose someone you love dearly, something about you changes. After all the tears have been shed, Your life goes back to quote, unquote - normal. You dig deep in your heart to find a way to change the colors that surround you;

Jersey Shore Summer Expedition 2014: Ocean Grove Beaches

Summer means family time and if you live in New Jersey chances are you and your family will spend a few days at the Jersey Shore . Last Friday was Day 1 of our family's Jersey Shore Summer Expedition. In preparing for a few hours at the beach, I packed the following: beach chairs, umbrella, towels, mat, sun block, insect repellant, water bottles, snacks, brim hat, change of clothes and a book. However, I forgot to pack the kids' boogie boards.

Are You There?

I was out for a run when I saw this image.   It was a striking image that I stopped and cried because it reminded me that we are all different but in our own unique ways, we're special. It also reminded me the hope Spring brings. Everyday is a new beginning. I was feeling lost --   sort of.   I forgot how to express myself, to focus, to be at peace. My father passed away 20 days ago. He was sick for 5 long years and the past 5 months, his body deteriorated.  

Skiing Anxiety and Family

I have a very serious neuropathic sense of fear. Bad experiences leave a permanent imprint on my brain but being a mother of 4 leaves no room for being afraid. 16 years ago, my family and I went skiing. I don't like the cold weather. I hike mountains. I wear flip flops.

To Forget Life For A While as Billy Joel Rocks Madison Square Garden

 My third child, Jonathon , is our Piano Man. Almost 9 years ago, after thousands of hours of practice, Jonathon, who was 10 at that time,   took the stage at one of the talent shows at his Middle School, and for the next five minutes captivated the audience with a powerhouse rendition of Billy Joel’s classic “Piano Man”. He sang and at times played the trademark harmonica fills while playing the keys. The crowd gave him a rousing standing O. And I was in tears   -- from joy and pride. When asked about that night, my son commented, “It was the greatest five minutes of my life. I was in shock, and it’s hard to describe what it is about the experience that makes it so incredible. It’s not just the rush, but more about the deep connection with the audience. It just felt very liberating, like when I’m performing, that’s when I am most connected with the music. I knew I wanted to spend my life doing this.”   Ever since then, we've been trying to get a hold of Billy

Complain And Then Move On

 I lost something and I needed to get it back. It had been a tough few weeks. My mind was onto something unpleasant. No matter how much I tried to mask it, my heart was heavy for reasons I couldn't put my finger on. Whatever happened to A New Year, a new beginning? Maybe it was the hormones. I'm turning 50 in less than 6 months, and   my body had been screaming for the past 3 years. Maybe it was the freezing temperature. After two warm winters in New Jersey , we're finally experiencing winter once more. I had forgotten what winter was like and my Filipino bones couldn't figured out how to adjust my inner temperature. Maybe it was the possibility of being "ill". Biopsies and lab tests had a way of making me feel anxious. Maybe it was the uncertainty of what the future has in store for me and my family. Maybe it was just something I had to go through. I needed to complain. I needed to cry. I needed to ....WALK.