Mouth-watering Memoir

My paternal grandmother, Lucena Ravelo Lacho used to say, "Candy, I'm happy. You know, I just live the simple life..." It's true, if we are happy with what we have, we see the beauty in its simplicity. I miss her so much... I love her so much more.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

No new posts for now...

Hello and sorry... I am having so much fun with our family blog that I found myself no time for even this personal one, so please for the time being, follow our adventures on this blog:

Mathews Memory Lane

Please leave a comment on that blog because sometimes, my list of links yield a blank black screen. I don't know why, but it does. I often have to go back and click on your comments to get to your blogs.

Funny, irritating but worth it...

Love to all! Thank you!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Amazing Autumn...

Autumn decor back in 2005, Arizona home

(I miss my decorations; they're stuck in the storage)

I just love AUTUMN; the changing colors, the cooling breeze, the smells of apple and pumpkin pies, not to mention the fun and excitement of Halloween and the soul-refreshing rewards of Thanksgiving.

Now that I'm here in Texas, I get to enjoy the beautiful colors that posters, artwork and pictures bring to life. I recently noticed how much oak trees we have around here that are now slowly turning different shades of yellow, brown and even red. I am truly amazed!

Texans complain of the humidity, but for me, Texas has the best of both West and East Coasts; beautiful summer greens, red and yellows and the cool autumn and winter greens, red, yellows and browns...
We get summer heat and winter cold; in fact, we had snow on two different days last year in 5 years; it was pretty amazing just knowing that, but the best part was that I was here to enjoy it! My first late winter in Carrollton and it snowed!(Albeit, I fell down admiring the flakes falling from the sky, but it was just as beautiful if I remained standing gracefully...)
There are lots to do here and mostly, people are genuinely friendly as they have been portrayed in the media (though their driving leaves a lot to be desired). Texas is calming to me, it reminds me of the home that I left, and the hope that brought me my husband and children. Whenever I look out my window and see the two beautiful young trees dancing with the wind, it softly whispers calming thoughts and loving images that energizes my inner soul- allowing me to understand that I am a child of a loving God.
Autumn to me is just that perfect time during the year that kindly forces you to think about what's important, and what you can and should look forward to in the coming year. Autumn is that broken in reclining chair that gets better and better over time, the perfect pair of fuzzy slippers you look forward to slipping into after a hard day's work in those stilletos.

Why all the fuss over a season? Well, let's see... my first child was born in November and changed my way of looking at things; Charlie and I became a couple in September and I learned to smile again; I was married in October and my dreams came true; I cooked Thanksgiving dinner for my family and strengthened our bonds; my wonderful mother-in-law was born in November and she taught me the beauty of each holiday; the point, most of the good things that helped me appreciate who I am, started on an autumn month, so to me, autumn is a season of hope and renewal, the season that gets me ready for Christmas.

I hope to put roots down here, I am truly grateful to be here and hopefully, we are meant to be here...

Autumn, surely a "secret candy"!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

12 Years and Counting!

Well, it's October again... Aside from the obvious culprits of it's Fall and Halloween's around the corner while kids are busy in school, it also happens to be my wedding anniversary month. Yup! 12 years ago I faced my eternal companion in the Oakland, California temple and sealed our union for all eternity.

Can you imagine it?! 12 years! I know, I know, to some it's long been a blur, but to Charlie and I, we haven't even approached it yet (a few days from now). Considering we dated for three years (a long time for most LDS couples), being married 4 times that is huge to me!!! Why? I started out with not so good relationships though I now realize that if I only knew then that I am a better friend to them than a girlfriend, I would've stayed that way. Go figure,huh?

So back to my neurosis about being married this long- Charlie and I truly love each other, we get each other's sense of humor, we talk and we tackle life together, but we are not your typical definition of "soul mates". Our backgrounds were so different that if Hollywood rewrites an LDS version of Cinderella, our story would be at the top ten candidates. No kidding! It's not easy to describe my feelings for being with one person this long- of course this is what I want, don't get me wrong, but you know sometimes you can't help but pinch yourself (especially by someone like me)just to see if the reality I enjoy now, is indeed a reality. When most LDS women are groomed to find their one eternal companion, they know what that entails- unconditional love and fidelity under the guidance of our loving Heavenly Father, but for someone like me who's been told enough times that I don't deserve much, it's pretty much a daily pinching session. I know silly thoughts.

Charlie and I are in love with each other- we make a point to declare our feelings for each other as much as needed (mainly for me). So, how do we survive each year without me all bruised up and smiling at the end of the day? Simple...

We declare to each other: "You are my love, my life, my eternity."

Friday, October 17, 2008

Multiple Blogs

It's fun to blog, you can't deny that, but sometimes, one is enough. Maintaining one for myself and one for my family has been quite a challenge, but all I really need to remember is to separate the two and make it meaningful, then it's really twice the fun! So, just have fun and keep blogging!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Down Memory Lane...

When you have children and they become teenagers, you can't help but think of when you were a teenager. How different or similar they would be to you. Either way, it's a scary thought! Well, back in highschool, I was pretty much a wallflower, but one day...

It was 1989, a couple of weeks before Junior Prom... My best friend PS and I decided that we will get our dresses together, so we shopped at this hole-in-the-wall place in Downtown San Jose. She found two dresses, and she proceeded to explain why I need two myself- one for before Prom pictures and one for the Prom. For her, it was because she got invited to her date's prom as well, so she didn't want to wear the same dress. Teenagers! Well, I wasn't satisfied with my selection so I secretly returned the other one and bought another one (I forget where) and kept it to myself. Why the secret dress? Because... I have a crush on PS' date and I wanted to see if I can get his attention away from her even just for a minute. Yeah, I know, how bold!

Anyway, the night of the prom, I've got everything taken care of: I have a "safe" date (another good friend), a pink dress for pictures and my secret dress. My date's mom was a make-up artist, and she proceeded to slather make-up on me that ended up looking like I had a mask on. To be polite, I took pictures in my pink lacey dress with this "mask" on at my aunt's house in Downtown. We had a great time! (By this time, my date knew about the secret dress, but no idea as to the style). We go back to my house and I proceed to change and smooth out my hairdo- a french braid. When I came out, my date was shocked!

Soon enough, we are standing at the doors of the school gym and scanned the place for our friends. I found PS and the others right away and they looked at me with utter surprise. "What happened to the dress you were going to wear?, PS whispered since she was slowdancing with BL, a red headed cutie, and all I could do was smile. The song ends and BL turned around to greet DM and I. He was shocked; (we're talking jaw opened and speechless!) PS quickly grabbed my arm, led me away from everyone, bent on finding out what happened to the other dress. After admitting my returning it, she said, "Wow, Carol, you look sexy!" Of course I said thank you. We go back to the group and another slow song comes on. DM and I start to dance, but not after catching BL staring at me with a big smile on his face. Needless to say the next two slow dances were with him (by this time, the thick makeup was mellowed out by my oiling face and a quick powdering of the nose gave me a more natural made up face). He said, "you look beautiful, very sexy and smell incredible". In a word, to him, I was hot!!!

What was I wearing?

Typically, I was a "no-date, seldom dance goer, never had a boyfriend in highschool, jeans and T-shirt" girl. My date, DM, he was a good friend who didn't go to our school, and PS set me up with him so I wouldn't go stag. You see, BL asked PS to his prom, only after he said ok to going to our prom. I was cool with seeing them together, she was my BFF after all, but I guess, my crush was stronger than I realized; I wanted to make my own prom special, I wanted to dance with BL. Plus, I wanted a different colored dress since all of my friends found pink or baby blue. I wanted a black sexy number and I found it- a black form-fitting, long-sleeved mermaid dress with gold lace at the hemline and a low open back (most dresses would look low because I'm short, but this was almost sinful on me). I completed the "femme fatale" look with this pair of gorgeous 3-inch closed toe glittered pumps and complimentary earrings. My perfume that drove him wild, "Beautiful" of course!

Why was BL shocked to see me like that? Well, he was my trainer and lead at a nearby McD's where I replaced PS for a couple of months while she went to the Philippines. I was smitten right away, but I knew he had a crush on PS, only she didn't like him and gave me her permission to keep crushing. I worked there a total of four months, and in all that time, all he saw me in was the dorky uniforms we had to wear (I was surprised to know how often romances bloom in this particular franchise)! We never hung out or saw each other outside of McD's until that wonderful prom night...

I had a great time- I found a great dress, I danced with the guy I was crushing on twice and at the end of the night, he asked for my phone number! Of course, since none of us were able to carry a pen or paper in our miniscule purses, he had to call PS for my phone number the following day. We dated for a few months.

All three proms I attended were great and obviously all were before I became an LDS mother of three, but nevertheless, I am so grateful that my own teenager, despite several offers of potential boyfriends, still think "they have cooties and is not ready to date. Whew! (I honestly don't know what I would think if she pulled something similar to what I did; I told you it's a scary thought!)

Wanting to look different than the regular "jeans and T-shirt" and having the guy you like tell you just how great the transformation was, a definite "secret candy"!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I Love Detective Shows!

I'm now a big fan of CSI, House, Medium, Bionic Woman, NCIS, Criminal Minds, Numb3rs and Bones! It's a fun way to unwind while following these heroes "crack the case"!

Pretending like you're a superhero, brilliant doctor or a bonafide psychic, what a secret candy!

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Favorite Flowers

Do you see a pattern?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I discovered something...

Sorry for not updating for several weeks, I've been busy...

Anyway, I discovered a few things about me (isn't that always the case?)

I've been accompanying my children to bookstores for their summer reading requirements and despite the numerous volumes of bios, documentaries, self-help compilations and adult fiction and mystery novels, I gravitate toward the teen fiction.

Why you ask? Do you really want to know?

One thought came to mind: I don't like to be reminded that real life is either predictable or that mankind is capable of true evil against their own... At least in young teen fiction, the innocence and fantastical storylines are dominated by one single evil character and his oblivious minions that are dominated by fear. Authors that write for children have to truly stretch the imagination to produce monsters so fierce they have to add extra limbs and teeth to instill suspense and thrills. The possibilities are endless with children's books while adult fiction, in my opinion are limited to crimes against each other and humanity, a journey of regret or if it is about mythical creatures, sex is always involved somehow. I know sex sells, but come on, even go as far as pairing up aliens or a supernatural being with a human being? To me, all of these angles have been told and retold, but having a child discover his or her potential to be the hero of an entire world, now that's a story to write about!

That's why I encouraged my daughter to write her own book reviews and ask her friends to join in because we need more children reading and adding to their immense bank of imagination that can diffuse most stress in their lives.
Check it out if you like...

Friends On Books (a teen book review)

Adult books read (but only barely):

The DaVinci Code

The Bourne series

The Sookie Stackhouse series

Can you say, oh well...

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

LDS Temples... I hope to see them all!

Oakland, California temple where I Charlie and I were wed...

Here's some of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints temples I've seen or have visited. I wish to have the resources to see them all someday...


Mesa, Arizona

Sacramento, California

South Jordan, Utah

Salt Lake City, Utah

All beautiful, all sacred, for all eternity...


Sacramento, California temple, April 2008, with my eternal family

Well, I discovered that I needed to make three more blogs. Those that would reflect my whole family on all three sides: My marriage family, my mom's family and my dad's family. In my excitement to create a blog that would show all of our current adventures and for my thoughts to be written down, I realized just how multifaceted I am. I'm not just Carolyn, the wife and mother, I'm also Carolyn, the daughter of two beloved people who has ties to more people that I haven't yet met or wish to strengthen my own ties with. What a gift from a loving Heavenly Father! To show you just how important you are not just to your immediate family but to those that connected you by blood and love, now that's a gift for all ages.

I write this with overwhelming flood of gratitude to my family, all over the world, past, present and future...

Finding out who started my line on both sides and where my children will take our future, my ultimate "secret candy".

check out my other blogs:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Look at what I did!

I will never claim to be creative, but I do amaze myself from time to time when I put my mind into doing and finishing something. Back in Utah, in my sis-in-law's home, she had similar plaques that she did with her Relief Society group, so it reminded me of the ones I have yet to do. Thanks Kate!
The plaques, I bought from a Relief Society craft evening project sometime ago, but never liked the notion of having pressed time to do it so it sat in the sidelines. They even endured our move here to north Texas. Also, I'm not a country girl; I'm Filipino so I had to give them an Asian flair. The "Mathews" plaque, I stained it instead of painting or just shellacking the surface. The wood it came with was neither wide nor long enough, so I asked Charlie to help me find a suitable replacement. After he cut and prepped it, I used a deep burgundy stain and used a roller to give it a lacquered look. The result with beige and white vinyl letters on it looks so elegant that it can be used it on any decor. Even for those die hard fans of leather furnishings, it would look great with it.
For the "Family Home Evening", I strolled down memory lane for my inspiration. I grew up looking out onto a construction site of a 5-story home and clothing factory. Outside, at the end of each day, I would find wood with splatters and brushings of paint. It looked messy but beautiful to me. Charlie and I found 2 "oops" paints for $1 each at Home Depot, mixed it to a pinkish beige tone then I used the chocolate shade to splatter with a toothbrush and hit the sides with the bristles using long and short strokes to simulate degrading wood. I was jumping up and down at how good it looked when I laid down the burgundy lettering. To finish it, I'll be placing hooks and star shaped balsa wood with the same paint technique to complete the plaque and use it to organize our weekly family time. I can't wait!

I made the memo & chore board for my children who can never remember their appointments or chores, rather too conveniently... I used canvas boards and my children and I voted on the fabrics to reflect our dream decor. I covered the buttons with the same or coordinating fabrics to the ribbon I used. The memo board is in blue because Lisa's room used to be white and blue, but now, Ian and Jasmine are using it as the neutral color as they share a room. As for the chore board, I used a thick fabric reminiscent of Spanish tapestry as Spain is part of my heritage. The chore board is not quite complete yet; I'm still missing its other component to function as a chore board. For both of these, I only saw what's being sold and decided that I can do it, so I tried it!

Finishing a project and even starting one on your own, very cool "secret candy".

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Feeling at Home

It would seem that it took Independence Day for us to grab new suitcases, take some time off and visit family in Utah again (last time was February 2007). Since moving here to Texas, our lives just seems so upside down! Most of it in a good way, but upside down nevertheless. Being with family on both sides made us realize just how isolated we are to those that mean much to us. What am I talking about?

Well, in San Jose, CA, my mom lives with my brother and my aunt, while my only sister Wena, her two kids, and our oldest brother Ronie live a few minutes away in opposite directions. Though one of my other brother, Alan and his family live in Canada, my brother Noel is in Elk Grove, CA with his lovely family and are neighbors across the street with my mom's sister and her daughter and their little family. The weekend we spent there back in April, the most memorable was not only Mama turning 70 but how much the cousins treasured each other's company. They played Wii, pretend games, chased each other, sang, watched TV and even made sure they all ate and slept at the same time. It was amazing to see that distance does not kill solid ties between families.
Now in Utah, it was the same scenario; Charlie's parents live in South Jordan while his sister Kate, live in West Jordan. For all of you who know this region, you know how close they most likely are to each other. We flew over there to see the newest member of Charlie's small family, Carter Boyd Gurney, Kate and Gary's baby boy. He's cute, full of life and so aware of how much he is loved. Again, one of the most memorable is how Lisa, Jasmine and Ian found ways to have fun with their cousin Taryn in all five days we were there. Our 11-people reunion revolved around food, making memories, common culture, family outings and of course, fireworks- big, little, noisy, whistling and popping, we had them and used them. We had a blast! We were amazed that Ian and Carter managed to sleep through a lot of them while Lisa, Taryn and Jasmine couldn't stop handing them to Charlie and Grandpa so we can keep the fun going. For me, I managed to try different varieties to calm my nerves about fireworks and the menace they seem destined to come with.

Sometimes, I can't seem to get enough of just how much we, adults, can learn from children. There's nothing pretentious to their interactions, they either choose to have fun or not. Choose to be friendly or be the center of attention. Reflecting on our trip to Utah, I can't help but recall my sis-in-law's comment about making "snap judgments from snippets of time" that we allow ourselves to see each other. It's almost a cruel game we put ourselves through when we know that we should be more like children and just decide that having fun and making the most of short reunions is our main agenda. At church today, we were reminded of how obedience to our faith leads us to act in order to make a difference in other people's lives. Though we are responsible for our own choices and actions, our ultimate judgment is based on just how much we helped Heavenly Father gather the rest of His flock back to him. Children seems to be the experts on that and it's up to us to cultivate and nurture that in them so that when it's their turn to be adults, they will still use their "friendshipping" power to find that other lost sheep.

Now I understand more why even God invites us to be like little children if we are to inherit the heavens in His presence. It is because only then that we would be able to appreciate each other completely and without pretentions. Only then can we truly feel at home.

Children; the sweetest "secret-candy" and my best teachers...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

"Unique" is our middle name...

As my children drift off to dreamland, I couldn't help but be filled with gratitude for them and our little family. We consider ourselves unique because I personally make sure that we live "in" the world, but not "of" the world. To clarify things, let me list down what's special about my family. Of course, exceptions happen though they are few in between.

1. Sodas are only sipped on Friday nights. Under 4, NO sodas, under 13, only rootbeer for dark sodas.
2. 5:30 PM is the curfew, 6:30 during summer vacation
3. Reading is a daily activity. No exceptions.
4. Mommy & Daddy approves all visual and audio materials. NO exceptions.
5. We don't do Spring cleaning, we do Summer cleaning.
6. Library trips are considered summer treat.
7. Bedrooms have to be clean if going anywhere, even birthday parties.
8. Clearance is the only way to shop, except for necessities. Clothes, only clearance.
9. We don't go by brand names, we go by style and modest appearance.
10. Modesty is a must in all aspects of our lives, including how much we eat.
11. A pound of any meat is enough for 2-3 meals. Veggies we splurge on.
12. Ask first. No answer, ask again.
13. We are strict, but fair.
14. Guests are only guests the first time they come, other times, they are family.
15. You have to be honest about the food.
16. No gross topics at the dinner table or you don't join us.
17. No cussing of any kind. Substitutions that mean the same thing is a no-no!
18. Gossiping stops at our front door. You're not allowed to bad mouth anyone.
19. Hugs and kisses are our main currency.
20. Everyone's on a budget, no matter what the expense.

My darling family, my ultimate "secret candy"!!!

Dessert Treat

I don't know about other households, but in mine, dessert after dinner is a rare treat indeed. The exception are few, either we had company or I give permission on any particular night. Such a night was tonight when I gave my family a round of blackberry & vanilla frozen yogurt milkshakes. I made it special by creating this simple recipe: (Enough for 5 people)

2 cups frozen or refrigerated blackberries
3/4 tub of vanilla frozen yogurt
1-2 tbsp. sugar
2 cups of milk

I blended the sugar, 1 cup of milk and the berries until well pureed. Then I strained out the seeds from the juice. After rinsing out the blender to get rid of the leftover seeds, I scooped all the frozen yogurt into the blender, add remaining milk then poured in the blackberry base. I used the "ice crush" button to puree it all and smooth out the consistency.

It was so delicious that even Jasmine, who normally prefers Sonic shakes, did not get up until her glass was empty. Yum!!!

You can substitute raspberries or strawberries and creamier ice cream for thicker consistency. For soft sorbets, use berry sorbet as your chilled base and enjoy all that Vitamin C and other antioxidants. Enjoy your summer! Be healthy and eat well.

Your finicky children loving what you made, a definite "secret candy"!

Summer is here...

Wow, I can't believe how quickly the temperature has risen the past few weeks approaching Summer. It seemed as though the hot weather has always been just around the corner after the first sign of complaints about winter or spring. Vacations, swimming, outdoor meals and the smell of propane or coal definitely rings its arrival while the fiery symbol of our freedom in this country further welcomes Summer in July. For me and family, it's almost the saddest time of the year; our Lisa travels on her own while brief visits to family and places render us both renewed and exhausted. Planning outdoor activities take so long that it's almost not worth the thought in the first place. Jasmine and Ian want to go, go, go while Charlie and I, beg for more sleep and rest. Though the days are longer, it never seems enough as lists of "to do's" keep getting longer and longer. Laundry seems to pile up, electric and water bills seem to shout, while boredom seems bent on ruining a beautiful sunny day for lack of "cool" things to do.

Summer, summer, summer... it's definitely for those that love the outdoors while the sun itself is trying to bake in its rays.

Summer, not quite my "secret candy", but we love it just fine.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Keeping Healthy

We finally found a pediatrician. Yay!!! It only took a year, but we found one, Dr. Michelle Fowers, who also happens to be the first counselor of our ward's Relief Society presidency. I was very impressed with how she directed everything towards the kids as Jasmine and Ian went for their well check. To me, if kids are allowed to answer for themselves especially during doctor visits, it's a quick way to alleviate nerves.
She was awesome, thorough and knew just how to comfort the kids into allowing her to examine them. A good thing, too, since my middle one is too shy, and my son doesn't like to be prodded much especially after discussions of his "differences" (food allergies, asthmatic tendencies, fibrile seizures). One thing that really made me go "wow" is Dr. Fowers' BMI chart that correlated my children's weight with their heights. It clearly showed that they are healthy children along with 20/20 vision and good hearing. That was a great experience. I do apologize that we got lost along the way and actually finding her office once we were in the building.
I also hoped she didn't go deaf after Ian let out his blood-curdling screams while getting a booster shot for chicken pox. Sorry, Dr. Fowers and staff... A big thank you and "whew!" came across my mind throughout our trip back home, of course, after stopping for some ice cream.
I'm so glad to know that despite our normally laid-back lifestyle, my kids have energy to burn enough for two people that allow them to do healthy activities such as hoola-hooping, swimming, bowling, walking to stores, bike riding, test their flexibilities, run, jump and climb everywhere, on a daily basis.
Despite of how I am now, I can remember when I used to do those things and when I got tired, I climb the nearest fruit tree and grab a quick snack. Anything packaged was nothing short of a treat for me. When I lived in Laguna, Philippines, my house was surrounded by all these fruit trees and we grew our own vegetables. During the rainy seasons, the mudfish normally buried in mud comes back to life and we catch and grill them after harvesting the sweet potatoes' young leaves. After the first weeks of summer, we dig up the sweet potatoes while making sure we don't disturb the hibernating mudfish. I wanted the same active memories for my children so I made sure that I introduced them to all sorts of fruits and vegetables, though Jasmine can eat more veggies than what's in V8 Fusion or Splash. They love hearing stories about each fruit I introduce them to that I ate back when I was their age. I encourage them to exercise and play, though most of the time, they just wiggle long enough to burn calories rivaling any intense workout. I'm tired just thinking about it!
Parents, especially moms, often wonder how their children are doing healthwise, and sometimes, a good doctor is the answer to that age-old question. There's nothing like a good report from a great physician and a thorough pediatrician like Dr. Fowers, is definitely any mom's "secret candy"!

I wonder how my mom is doing on her new treadmill?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Guess who turned 9 today? Jasmine!

It was a great day... Our lovely Jasmine turned 9, so what do we do? We have breakfast at Denny's, shop Target for new sheets and other gifts then end the day with her favorite dinner, an awesome cake, good friends and some awesome Cranium games, of course! We had a ton of laughs and ended up thoroughly exhausted from the all-day soiree that is Jasmine's birthday. She couldn't wait to get at the gifts and eat her "horse stable" cake. It was delicious! It was a combo of white and confetti cake with vanilla filling. Her gifts, well they are new quilted comforter and sham set complete with a sheet set from solid colors she chose, a big Palomino toy horse, a paint by numbers kit, and a check for $10. But the best gift she got was from the presence of the people she invited and the laughter they shared with us during dinner and our game time. We even managed to listen to Bill Cosby's stand-up comic routine titled, "Chocolate Cake".

Every child, every year, I celebrate their birthdays the way they want to help them remember just how precious they are to us. Though it amazes others by how much effort it seemed to have taken, I personally think they deserve even more. Something inside me wells up knowing that my child arrived at their next birthday relatively healthy and happy going. Just as strongly, I can't help but feel very sad by news of children dying at such ages either from the hands of cruel people, freak accidents or childhood diseases. I love knowing that we celebrated as a family, while having some friends over becomes the lovely bonus of the day.

My life is simple, but it's full of complex memories, I wouldn't trade it for the world. My kids' birthdays, another sweet "secret candy".

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Some Feng Shui Advice

Ok, some of you maybe thinking that Feng Shui is some kind of Chinese Voodoo, but all it is, is finding the right furniture arrangement in your home to bring about balance that leads to happiness, prosperity and all that is good to continue living a balanced life. Being LDS, Feng Shui has taught me that living a Christ-like life is finding that balance that Feng Shui offers. We are all missionaries and if our private spaces can be more open to social, personal, familial and intimate opportunities, we will all be better missionaries which would then allow us to further the work without much feet dragging. So, here's some advice that I've lived by since I've included Feng Shui in my life:

1. Feng Shui has a bagua or an octagon-shaped direction finder of where you should "activate" your needed chi or life energies that you are probably neglecting or missing in your current lifestyles.
2. Once you've pinpointed where these good energies are, even after a "children and life-based" disasters, you can still visualize your balance and get to work in repairing your chi without self-inflicted guilt "bruises".
3. Every family is centered on how the parents see and treat each other- love, commitment and communication are central to any marriage, so create that in your bedroom. Focus on two's and a romantic color pallet that says "this is where we become united to tackle another day."
4. The next room of focus should be your living room- find a common color or symbol that unites your family. Feng Shui chi flows through a room that has a purpose but open to other areas of your life. If you have two sofas, if possible, have them face each other and anchor it with a rug. It will improve communication and gathering.
5. Corners are "dust magnets" and are therefore considered dead or bad chi. Fill them with tall plants or anything that can bring about life to the corner, i.e., a light fixture or a painting with obvious movement like a wave crashing or boat sailing.
5. Kitchens should be filled with things that are nourishing to your soul and stomachs. If it's not food or an appliance you rarely use, it shouldn't be out in the open.
6. Dining rooms I consider the gratitude room, so fill it with colors and paintings that symbolize what you are grateful for. For example, I'm grateful for live houseplants, and having a good enough disposition so, in my dining room, I have live plants and an Asian rendition of the Good Samaritan. Fill a basket with fruits or veggies you love and put it on the table. It will serve as a reminder to eat better and appreciation for the luxuries of having food on your table.
7. For the children's rooms, place a painting they did where they can admire it and a painting that shows what you want them to learn that's important to your family.

Feng Shui experts can go as deep into symbolism or as simple as changing your color scheme, but my approach is to find balance in what you already know is your core: things and colors that make you get up in the morning and take that necessary step to make a difference. That will help you find your balance.

Feng Shui is my secret candy, what's yours?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Check out my Slide Show!

Time certainly can run!

Last night, I browsed through my family pictures and it amazed me just how much time runs away from you when you are at your best in trying to keep up with it. For example, I still remember the day I met Charlie inside Taco Bell in San Jose, CA or the delivery adventures I had with each of my precious children. Watch the slide show and tell me how right I am...

Charlie's with Southwest, Lisa's 15 and a soon to be high school junior, Jasmine's almost 9 and Ian is 6; we've moved 6 times, transitioned from Italian countryside to French Provencale to now my signature decor of Spanish Asian Fusion and along the way have decided to give college a second chance. What is life without its adventures, huh?

Take pictures of different moments; sometimes, the most mundane becomes the most memorable... A bittersweet secret candy of raising a family.

Red Anemone

Back in 1997, my birthday, I lost my dearest father. His name was Adonis and in the Greek mythology, Adonis was a demi-god blessed with such a perfect form and face that Aphrodite, the goddess of love fell madly in love with him. When he died, her tears mixed with his blood sprang red anemones to commemorate their love. In another story, it told of how as his blood seeped into the dirt, red anemones grew and served as his marker so that Aphrodite can always find him.

Here's an anemone in honor of my love for my late father. I still miss him...

Check out my Slide Show!

The Rest of the Family

I've given you glimpse of the pets we have, but I think it's time we gave them faces as well for your viewing pleasure. Let me proudly introduce, Cece our cat, Dexter our cockatiel, Gabbie and Maggie, our guinea pigs. They help us deal with long days and all sorts of "yuckies" of everyday life. We absolutely adore them!

Cece is our diva who acts tough but is really a big softie around the other pets

Dexter loves his freedom that he's now learned trying to open up one of the doors of his cage.

Gabbie and Maggie love baths, though they will never admit to it.

Our pets, definitely another "secret candy"!

Now if we can only take pictures with all of them for our next Christmas portrait, we'll be one big family!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Mathews Majesty- "A Plain Royal Unit"

Charlie, Carolyn, Lisa, Jasmine and Ian. We're the Mathews!

We don't have much money or the best of everything, but our kingdom is full of love, laughter and wonderful memories. Our tapestries cannot be traced back into the medieval times, but rather a time when two people fell in love and conquered many barriers. Our children are blessed with riches not of this world, but with treasures that mere mortals cannot find. Their place in this world is not of a blue bloodline but from such purple (regal) heritage, so exclusive that even powerful men haven't yet attained. We are a family, a loving unit that God joined and formed to be one of the best and blessed kingdoms of this nation.

We wish you the same happiness and strength we enjoy.

My Little Genius

Now that I have music on this blog, I'm most likely going to be on it more. My daughter Lisa set it all up so it doesn't look like a raggedy old newspaper you can't unfold. Enjoy my posts and hopefully be generous with your comments so I can keep making it better. Read the "100 Wonders of Being Me" and find interesting likes and dislikes that makes me tick.

Thank you and enjoy reading!

Check out my Slide Show!

Eight (Texas) Cities in 10 Days

Ok, so our friend Michelle Branch (slide show above) comes over from Gilbert, AZ for a much needed visit. I had to scramble to figure out where we can take her so she wouldn't blow her brains out from boredom. Well, here's what we came up with so that we can also do errands while we're also entertaining her. I personally think it was a blast, but of course for a young chick like Michelle, she'll probably remember more the down time rather than the good times. This is where we went:

1. Dallas- she arrived and departed from Love Field airport; visited Dallas LDS Temple
2. Carrollton- room and board; celebrated her 20th bday,swam at the Rainforest Aquatic Complex and apartment pool; shopped Kohl's and ate at Sonic
3. Grapevine- shopped at Build-A-Bear, Forever 21 & Pac Sun in Grapevine Mall; took pictures inside Rainforest Cafe.
4. Coppell- cruised through en route to Grapevine
5. Lewisville- ate out at Panda Express, hung out at Petland, shopped Bath & Body Works and Ross and bowled at Main Event; also played the games there.
6. Garland- cruised through en route to Mesquite
7. Mesquite- picked blackberries @ Merry Berry Farms
8. Plano- shopped at Wal-mart for a specific T-shirt and swimsuit

Check out my Slide Show!