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.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Unveiling the New

My family blog has a new name (you may have noticed).

It started like any other day, except it was cold (brrr!!!). We woke up, had lots of things to do (like actually cleaning) and picking up Michelle at the airport. Michelle Branch is one of our great family friends and my "mentally" adopted daughter. We've known her since 2003, and now that we've moved to Texas, the normal thing to do is to send her a ticket every now and then so she can visit and unwind for a few days. This is her third visit- I feel so loved!

Ok, on to what this post is about...

Despite all the stuff we had to do, our day, to me, seemed too calm and too slow- almost like I was watching a typical day (already boring) on a slo-mo screen showing. It was unreal! Needless to say, I had a moment to think about how our life truly is... (Overstuffed and Pink Ink had great posts and got me thinking more- my brain hurts, lol)

My hubby and I do not have many bankable talents outside of his actual job that Southwest Airlines (thanks, Gary Kelly!) is training him for. I am a student- full time, so for now, we enjoy a routine: homework, work, race to see who can nap, eat, shower, race to see who can fall asleep first (he always wins), etc... But our children, boy, our children- they run us! Not take advantage, but run us as in we plan the day according to their schedule! (I'm sure I've posted about this before)

LISA has AP US History & Calc BC; Math UIL,Choir & AC/DEC competitions and practices; a healthy social life and homework load that most college students drop out of college for.
JASMINE has Safety Patrol, Choir and LEAP. She keeps joining in all these extracurriculars and have a swarm of friends who constantly knock on our door asking, "uhm, can, can... Jasmine come out?" Her homework load is almost as daunting as Lisa's while still needing to read about 30-45 minutes a day, plus she loves to watch TV and the Wii!
IAN has LEAP and a constant battle of "sitting still for a stamp" with himself. He's such a bundle of energy that sometimes he finds himself hitting every corner he rounds (hilarious and scary). They are so much fun and they mostly dictate how we end the day- normally with an extra somebody in our house, eating our food, and playing our games. JUST THE WAY WE LIKE IT!:-D

Ooppss! Ok, back to the story behind the new name...

I was talking to Charlie about getting ready to pick up Michelle and where to take everyone to lunch after, when the "sticky note" (as Pink Ink called it) from the top of this blog came into my head with the downplay countermove of, "but you complicate it!", and voila! the name "CompliCated s1mpl1c1ty" sprung in my mental bank as if it was a million dollar note waiting to be deposited into the vault I call my brain. I didn't want to forget it so I asked Charlie how he liked it and he did so I had to quickly make a title graphic for it and post about it. If you noticed the C's are both in caps- that represents me and Charlie while the "1's" in simplicity represent our three little "ripple starters" we call our children; Lisa, Jasmine and Ian. With them, our life is beautifully balanced; without them, our lives would be empty.

So, if you ever wonder about this new name, it's because our simple life is complicated with the love, faith and laughter we share with our three other "mahals" or beloved. Charlie and I are simple folks with lots of big dreams, but sometimes simple is just too simple, it needs to be spiced with the miracle of children.

There you have it, "Complicated Simplicity"! I'm sure you noticed...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

What's in Your Pot?

Since I'm Filipino, LDS and a mom, I wanted to find who else in the blog galaxy are in these same boats with me. I found Grumpy Angel and Pink Ink. Both blogs are hilarious and thought provoking! For example, while cruising for updates on the blogs I follow, I saw Pink's new post, "Refilling the Pot" which is about making yourself do other things that make you feel alive and appreciate your life and what else is out there.

Katherine Anne Porter: Our being is subject to all the chances of life. There are so many things we are capable of, that we could be or do. The possibilities are so great that we never, any of us, are more than one-fourth fulfilled.

Leo Buscaglia: Our talents are the gift that God gives to us... What we make of our talents is our gift back to God.

Henry David Thoreau: Our truest life is when we are in our dreams awake.

After pondering these quotes, I figured out which things I would like to fill my own pot with...

1. Go to Disneyland again, this time with our children
2. Travel more
3. Continue to do tablescapes and maybe have a blog just about it.
4. Teach more people about Feng Shui- be certified
5. Learn to sew and make something
6. Learn to grow orchids (and keep them alive!)
7. Get started on my scrapbooking (again!)
8. Own a house
9. Bake more
10. Walk more
11. Go on a lobster boat and witness lobster harvesting
12. Go clamming on a gorgeous beach
13. Visit Spain, China and Canada
14. Focus time on genealogy
15. Learn how to drive and swim

What would you fill your pots with?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Name Game

This is one to try: It's a funny name game I found on one of my friends' blog just a little bit ago. I had to go and copy it. Thanks a bunch Lori for this funny meme!!

1. Your real name: Carolyn Aspiras Mathews

2. Your gangsta name: (first three letters of real name plus izzle) Carizzle

3. Your detective name: (favorite color and animal) Purple Goldfish

4. Your soap opera name: (middle name and current street) Aspiras B. Hollow

5. Your Star Wars name: (first 3 letters of your last name, first 2 letters of your first name, first 3 letters of your moms maiden name) MatCaAsp

6. Your Super hero name: (2nd favorite color and favorite drink) Green H2O

7. Your witness protection name: (mother's middle name and fathers middle name) Fang Rave

8. Your goth name: (black and a name of one of your pets) Black Cece

Ha, ha... My #7 should be my #8 and vice versa! #6 sounds gross! :D Both of my parents' middle names are long so I shortened it and it worked out funnier!

What did you come up with?

I Miss..., but...

Now that the kids are old enough to get things done on their own, I find myself with more time to think about different things in between the chaotic wave we call our life. Many times, when I can't easily fall asleep, I reminisce and hope. Here's some of the things I miss but with its accompanying caveats. (Gotta love being alive!)

I miss seeing my children as babies and toddlers still very much dependent on me with voices so cute, I feel like I can fly from sheer giddiness, but... I don't miss the stinky diapers, toilet training and weaning- all three bit me!

I miss being only an hour from the beach, playing in the sand, hoping to see what's beyond the unseen while listening to the screams of the other "sun" patrons, but... I never liked the time when I got knocked down by the wave that collapsed the sand underneath me! Good thing I managed to grab on to my friend's leg! Scary!

I miss being able to come back to my studio, all alone with the quiet and sense of pride that I'm in my own place, but... I don't miss the times that my cousin and her bf (dh now) trashed it while I was away for Christmas!

I miss walking from one place to another and riding the city bus, but... I never liked the uneasy feeling of others' looking at you. Creepy!!

I miss being able to climb trees and eating the juicy, sweet ripe fruits, but... I don't miss the fact that my sense of adventure was driven by my fierce hunger!

I miss going out to lunch with co-workers, but... not the part where I gained weight after only a few weeks! Chinese food and after 10PM, not a good combo!

I miss walking to school until I get to the bus stop, but... I never wanted the windy days that threatened to whisk my thin frame away!

I miss the dating game, being showered with attention and silly tokens, but... not the heartache, confusion and uncertainty!

I miss my wedding day, pledging my eternal commitment to one and dancing as man and wife, but... not being hungry throughout the whole reception because I was told to stay under the canopy! And no one asking me if I needed anything until I ran crying into the kitchen looking for food!

And of course...

I miss a clean house with open windows making the drapes whistle with the wind (I don't have any drapes here); the kind we had in San Jose, California before our second child was born, but... not the emptiness I felt while praying for more siblings for Lisa!

Maybe someday, I can "redo" all these experiences. I know that I don't have to start over to start over!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Me, Myself and I

Growing up, I had very few friends and mostly boys at that. Even after I came here back in 1987, I tended to befriend boys easier than the girls. I did belong to a group of 12 girls that I still keep up with, but my most meaningful and memorable friendships were with the opposite sex. Of course, after a while, the eventual spread of unsubstanstiated rumors got the best of me. I started to feel uncomfortable about having so many "guy" friends. At my wedding reception, it was very apparent that most of the guys that attended were "of my party". I think it was because I grew up with four older brothers that I got along more with the boys, and having a younger sister and an even younger step-sister made me act more like a second mom to them rather than a friend or mere sibling. Like I've mentioned before, it got to me. I wanted to have some real "spill your guts out without fear" kind of female friends, but I guess it's just not that easy for me. Sure, I have Facebook, but I see that as more a storefront to how many friends (or the friend of a friend of a friend) you could link up with. It's great for genealogy though!

In comes blogging...

In blogs, thru comments bantering, I find my equals, my mentors, my life classmates. It is exhilarating! Just like many, I started just to have a quicker way to log down the day's adventures. I didn't really share it with others in the beginning, but as I found more friends from back in AZ and the comments they get, I was able to see just how many women out there see things the way I do, feel the way I do, about their families, careers (they gave up), relatives and friendships.

In real life, I quake in my boots to talk to many women because gossip and husband bashing eventually becomes the "special of the day". And then there's the jealousy aspect of hearing about and being with other women. I grew up surrounded by all of that and I really try to avoid it, so most women, they don't understand that about me. Very few in fact, because venting is women's main crutch to hold themselves up. I do vent a lot, but not about my husband or another woman who I think is prettier than me or more talented, but rather my venting is more about "why am I so different from most women out there?" "Am I afraid to be a friend or are they afraid to be my friend?" It gets pretty tiring, you know, not to have someone close by to talk to. Of course, I can't count the exchanges of given and shared advice because that comes with the territory of being a woman and a mom, much less an LDS mom.

Thru blogs, I've found and met talented, beautiful, resourceful women who know how to bring a repeat audience into their cyber journals. I've met women who are truly hoping for a miracle because their faith is what sustains them. I've met women who are so creative, they can write about things that I've never thought about or hoped to remember again. Being LDS and a mom, I read a lot about the great childhood they had and have used it as bonds to connect with others, but me, there was nothing like that: I had to learn things on my own, find things that bring out what's good in me, on my own.

As it turned out, it was food and children. I dress my tables in the most appetizing way I can because that's how I respect food- growing up hungry and all (Just like Sandra Lee, I know...). I was a lonely child then, so children from lonely homes seem to find me and they find that connection thru my own very friendly children. My best callings have been in serving children. My daughter Lisa, 16, last night said,
"I'm so glad you are the kind of mom who stops what she's doing to listen to what I have to say." (funny, since I was dusting the table while she told me this) "I hear many of my friends, LDS or not, complain about their parents not listening or being too strict to talk to them, and then they meet me, then you, and ask me how we do that."

This is my true self; I am lifted up by children's innocence, their need for attention and my respect for food. The few friends that I count, it is because they let me be who I am though we don't seal it with scheduled lunches or shopping trips. I've been told that I don't take care of myself enough or that I could do with more ME time, but that's not who I am. I love staying home because I moved so much in my lifetime. I love to read children's stories because I never got to. I didn't like much mystery then (my kids do now)(I'm a fan of the supernatural) because the books belonged to my brothers. The other things that I can do, I learned from all the LDS women that have crossed my path, and for that, I thank Relief Society.

I love reading others' blogs because I see myself relaxing; by laughing with them, it helps me remind myself to laugh at my own situation and appreciate the small things in life. I cry with those that poured their hearts out. I scream with those frustrated authors. I rejoice and go ga-ga over posts about beauty, rewards, accomplishments, discoveries and great talents. I read them all because each one makes me think, and boy do I love to think! I read and I leave a comment because, as one of my friends reminded me, she reads all of her comments. (Thanks, Lara!)

I could write about how I didn't like the "weaning and potty training" stages of my children plus I hate ironing. Or that if I have my way, I would only make Filipino food all the time, but I'd be facing a sure mutiny in the near future. How about how our diva of a cat still thinks the new couch is her biggest scratch post despite the awesome cat tree my dh made with his own hands. Or, that I have a habit of not finishing projects, that I am a literal zombie due to a family with 3 schedules. What about that I'm afraid of growing veggies of my own despite promises to my 9-year old enthusiast. Or even how I like to observe people, though I am not a people watcher, being able to decipher reactions pretty accurately. But truly, I find all that frustrating and awful to remember (but it's funny reading about it in y'alls blogs!).

So.. I write in my blog about things that are good in my life; careful to focus on the highlights of the day. It's not to have a perfect front (as others like to describe it), but to show anyone who wants to linger in my blog, my own struggle to appreciate the life that I now enjoy- which only took about 20 years to receive. (So yes, I feel somewhat hurt when other blogs claim that "only good news" blogs like mine are only fronts to cover up the bad. I find that it's a little bit judgmental. Just a tiny bit...) You see, I'm a faithful sap, meaning I look at each blog as a different chalkboard to take notes from, from different teachers of life. And just like different teachers, bloggers have different ways of looking at their lives and which part of it they wish to share. (Just sayin' y'all...)

I feel that everyday is a gift; not because mine is never as chaotic as most people's (oh, the stories I could tell you!), but rather, at the end of the day, I make a choice- to dwell on the bad but funny or the good that makes me hang on to my sanity and show my family how great they truly are. This is my journal after all, plus we talk about how funny and imperfect we are (even with visitors) that we can all laugh about it now rather than later. Right now, everything is still surreal to me- a great husband who truly cares about me, three wonderful and beautiful children who can hold their own and a life that I am truly grateful for despite the lack of excess in resources.

Back in 2007, I taught in RS a lesson about how gratitude leads to happiness. I recall being so inadequate to teach it, but equally excited to share the good news. I came out of it just as well fed as those I hopefully fed with my lesson. It spoke of how gratitude leads to better actions and decisions that bring about happiness. But to me, throughout my whole life journey so far, my pursuit of happiness has been my source of gratitude... It's been the only consistent workout routine I've been able to stick with!

To the women that I've truly connected with (you know who you all are, thank you so much!). Those that taught me much thru your leadership, thank you. To those that left a kind word with me or my family, we are in your debt. And to those new, I thank you for letting me know I'm not an alien, just different...

Why write this long missive? To show all of you how much I love all blogs, except those truly offensive of course. My talents now were born through your examples. But most of all, I am still a woman who secretly wants to be just like all of you. I've been different my whole life, and it's getting pretty tiring you know?

I truly want to get to know you and your friends. Share this post with them and see how many other women out there can relate to me. Thanks for letting me "read your eyes off"... 'Til next post! :D

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Love the girls, no matter what..."

Most of you know that I used to be the Activity Days Leader for the Gateway Ward in Gilbert, AZ for two years. I am glad to announce that I still hear about most of them. And they have done great! Check this out:

Lisa Thompson(16)- NJHS; 5th in Regional Spelling Bee; AP classes; Math UIL; AC DEC Medalist and District Choir Champs

Tina Wilbur(16)- Early HS graduate; lost 30lbs; going to comm college next sem

Brittany Rowe(15)- Academics; Band

Kamry Brower (13)- School sports

Kaitlyn Lang (15)- School Drama

Jennifer Malmin (13)- Academics;Sports

Caitlyn Hanson (13 or 14)- Academics

and now

Kaylie Minson (13)- Academics; NJHS (National Junior Honor Society)

I can't help but feel very pleased with these girls. They were great then, now and I know that if they keep it up, the world is theirs to mold according to Heavenly Father's plans for them. It was a real honor to have known these girls. I loved them then and I still love them now, "no matter what"...

More good CHI

Two days ago, I reactivated my WEALTH area (it holds our shoe cubbies and the jackets hang on the wall. It also has Charlie's commercial planes poster hanging above the jackets.) by pairing up the shoes, dusting and clearing the space. Plus, I created a vertical focus by placing a small trunk on top of the cubbies and a plant on a burgundy and gold pot. Plants symbolize growth and trunks are often associated with valued possessions. Guess what happened? The next day, the rest of my school grant arrived in the mail plus Charlie mentioned that he was paid OT for the extra hours they put in one night of extended maintenance check. He came in the room asking, "Did you see my net?" Let's just say, "Good going, Charlie!"

The next day, and even today, we found some really good deals! Check my FREE Feet post

Remember... Energy in, energy out...

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another Awesome Thing to Note

I opened my email when we got back from Walmart this afternoon and guess what? I got and email from Stephanie McWilliams! I am now part of her mailing list, meaning I get her Feng Shui tips directly from her and Evolving Arts, the company she founded. Today's "My Cup of Chi" email topic focused on "How 9 Quotes from the King that Can Transform Our Lives Today" (MLK) and #6 really struck home with me.

6. "We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools."
Especially in this country, we tend to see ourselves as individuals, separate from the whole. We get concerned with our own needs, our own injustices, our own struggles, and our own desires. But if you look around, we are all so utterly interdependent, that it's almost mind-blowing. Every bite of food, piece of clothing, brick that built your home, or piece of metal that makes up your car has likely been touched (literally) by hundreds of other people. Unless we're living off the grid, every move we make is linked to lots of other folks.

The same interconnection is found on an interpersonal level. Every time you meet another, you're making an impact -- either positive or negative. Every smile, grimace, compliment or hug ripples out into your home, your community...and eventually, the planet. Only until we begin to see each other as united, as cells of a larger being... as our very own selves... will we experience peace throughout the planet. So let it begin with you!

This has been my personal mantra since I was a little kid forced to grow up. I quickly realized that if I want people to get to the real me, I shouldn't be afraid to show the best me and focus on leaving a positive impact rather than negative because I want the best people to grace my life here on earth.

Then on her email, she invited all to join her in her Facebook Network of Friends, so I did. I thanked her again for visiting my blog and for sending out great practical tips on using one's chi for good. She responded just a little bit ago:

Subject: You're SO welcome!
"You're adorable... thanks for joining my mailing list too!!!!

Have an awesome week...



She is great! Her personality in her show is not any different than how she shares herself in her email and responses. She is very aware of what her chi can do to impact other peoples' lives, including mine right now. She is helping build my confidence in myself to teach people about Feng Shui to help them better understand themselves through their immediate spaces and circles. I love that!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


All you need is one post to say everything for that day...

Thankful for my Eyes

Happy reading!

Saturday, January 17, 2009


"A good design is all about balance." - Karen McAloon (Find Your Style)

"Growing up in suburbia gave me an aversion to sameness,..." - Kim Myles (Myles of Style)

"...get back to the basics." - Kristan Cunningham (Design on a Dime)

"Everyone likes different things from different rooms, and determining your personal style and how you want your room to feel is a key step..." - Vern Yip (Design Star/Deserving Design)

"People are afraid, very afraid of color." - David Bromstadt (Color Splash)

"...your master bedroom should appeal to buyers of both sexes." - Lisa LaPorta (Designed to Sell)

Getting a pattern yet? All of these design philosophies and observations have been encompassed in the practice of Feng Shui! Here's a good summary of how a good design can bring the impact you are looking for:

"Keep in mind that everything in your space has a voice to it..." - Stephanie McWilliams (Fun Shui)

That means, just because you brought it in to your space or you displayed it does not mean that it suits you or the room you placed it in. It can mess with your natural chi balance by either revving up the extremes of your personalities or further drag what you are trying to change about yourself and your space. It's all about harmony and balance between you and your space. In other words, Feng Shui...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Violet, Aubergine, Eggplant, Grape

If you currently have color on the brain, you guessed it, all of the above are shades of the most beautiful, wonderful, regal color- PURPLE!

I just plain love it! I have since I was a kid owning her very first box of crayons on the first day of 1st grade. It is the color of royalty, the color of wealth and the color of my "best me" feeling. One look at its many shades, and I immediately feel better, happier and more content. Grape is one of my favorite fruits...

I was even absolutely giddy (and would've bought it all if I had the moola) when the purple-inked pen came out back in high school.

Right now, I love the darker shades- you know, aubergine or eggplant? It's sophisticated, powerful and romantic at the same time! I love it, love it, love it!!!

Can you guess where I have this in our current abode? Think smiles...

Let me know...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Simpleton, Technophobia...

It would seem that I'm a bit (ok... a lot!) behind than most women about what books they've read and movies they've watched. In the scrapbooking department, I'm ashamed to say that I haven't even created a real working layout design yet for my wedding album. Cookbooks, forget it! Crafts, months ago! And now this... (Am I a gadget simpleton or a closet technophobe?) I feel like such a cave woman... :( You see...

Charlie has his cellphone with Google and text, I-Pod, PDA, Wii and new DVD & MP3 players (thanks to his dad who used to work for Philips), tools galore and his biggest babies- our computer with not one, but two monitors for dual pane or panoramic surfing purposes (very cool).

Lisa has her cell with texting, MP3, a TI-83 Plus, Guitar Hero (and soon Rock Band 2), hair straightener, contact lenses, braces, the complete series (all read within acquisition) of hardback Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, Alex Ryder and Twilight, Converse classics in 4-5 different colors and shirts that everyone seem to want (Hooray for CLEAR-ANCE!!!) and an almost finished fiction teen novel.

Jasmine has her recorder and very own alarm clock; eyes on a dinnerware set with horses on it, is currently planning which plants to have in the patio and has now graduated to reading Margaret Peter Haddix line of fiction, just about to start reading the 7th HP installment and has finished various Agatha Christie online games.

Ian even has his system worked out as to how he's going to manage his 100+ HW toycars and Lego blocks that are now hitting critical mass of storage failure. He also managed to get us to vote on getting the Wii My Sims Kingdom game. He has read through all the Dr. Seuss we have in our library (same for the other series); has successfully devoured Ichabod Crane: 100 words to remember and is now finishing Tale of Despereaux!

Then... there's me; I don't own a cell, no MP3, and the extent of my texting ability is through my blogs (which I barely learned to customize) and emails.

I feel so backwards against my own family; being back in school the last two years, I admittedly have my share of "gadgets" (though most of which belong in the kitchen). All four cool members of this household have their own vices that they are carefully holding onto and are not afraid to seek seasonal "upgrades on", often driving me nuts. But then and again I remember, all these organized approach to their well-deserved or much needed gadgetry and literary collectibles, I helped be possible using the proven low-tech system of "not now" or "when it goes on sale" budgeting tactics... (To the tune of "Mickey Mouse"; C-LE-ARA-NCE, CLEARANCE! and repeat.)

Simpleton? I don't think so; I still head the council. Technophobe, no way! I can finagle my way into learning the current computer lingo and software.

What is it then? This council head... is just plain too busy to care...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Scattered Clues

"Double Happiness"
Courtesy of

Tonight, Charlie, Jasmine and I went around looking for more Valentine goodies for the table at Marshall's and Jo-Ann's, but no matter how distracting everything was, I couldn't help but wonder how I came to be the Carolyn who is now a mother of three, Charlie's wife of 12 years and dinnerware connoisseur.
As I looked around the various candidates for my upcoming tablescape, none truly stuck out. So we left, but we left content (Charlie was very accomodating to my love of walking tonight). With our very first child holding on to one hand each, it was almost as if time stopped and everything was just about us...

But how did I get to this point? Through scattered clues--the same life markers that I wouldn't have spotted if I didn't hold on to my main dream- to be a mother and a wife to someone that would love me no matter what. You have to understand that I grew up molded to see myself as a "worthless, good-for-nothing, ugly" girl by two cruel stepmothers (Cinderella's is a saint compared to these two!)

First, there's the growing up dancing to 80s US music videos after school. When no one's looking, I turn on the TV, wait for Madonna, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys or Wham to come on and I dance like I was their only fan.

Second, there was the Filipino healer that told me my happiness lies where my mother is. I thought it meant that I would finally get to know her and life will be normal. (Boy, I wanted to be normal! You know, two parents, a house, and feeling valued). Though I love my mother, it was quite disappointing that she really didn't have anything to do with that happiness, she was just the jumping point.

Or how about the fact that my parents almost bought a house in the James Lick High border, but couldn't find one they liked, so they crossed over the freeway and bought a house there.
Then, there's working at Great America, where I almost didn't finish my first day of being a cashier because they left me for 6 hours and I ended up crying from hunger, sore legs and feet in front of customers!. I ended up getting a "secret admirer" who came back several times. He made me remember about my dream man plus I loved riding the Tidal Wave and the Demon rollercoasters.

Then there was Taco Bell; when my then high school bff, PS and I, found it while walking to her apartment complex, it was an immediate hangout for the two of us. We went there whether we had $2 or $20 to talk about everything. And we always chose one of the window booths that faced the road.

Of course, after high school, I can't ignore PS calling me to try getting a job at Komag, Inc. that made me move from my awesome studio in Sunnyvale back to the "can't afford even if I want to", Berryessa Road in San Jose with my then live-in bf, Mark. Was I happy there, no! Our relationship went down the toilet almost from the move-in day. What made me stay? I was pregnant with Lisa.

And I can't forget being 7 months pregnant with Lisa; kept alive by a defective heart. I was told by three specialists to either bury her in six months or face a lifetime of hunting down other specialists to keep her alive. This drove me to my knees...

How about immediately after that horrible news, I came across all those "you can be better" commercials that turned out belonging to the LDS church?

Here's a kicker; my ex-boyfriend Mark told me that most of the guys I dated seem to look alike and yet none worked out (looking back, the redhead, the thin blond and the Mexican all had the same facial structure). He was right, the others that didn't fit into that profile, it was almost a friendly relationship; though they doted on me, I was the one you can accuse of being the "cold fish".

Well, apparently each clue connived to bring me to my dear husband Charlie. How?

(It would be prudent to mention first that the clues started with dreams of his face, only blurry, and I got his name from a perfume bottle I received from my aunt when I was 12. I wore that scent everywhere.)

Charlie loved most of the danceable 80s group and still listens to most of them actually.
He lived on the other side of the freeway, just 10 minutes away and attended James Lick High.
He's been a season pass holder of Great America and have gone since he was a kid.
His fave rides were the Tidal Wave and the Demon!
The Taco Bell we met in was in Berryessa Road in San Jose, California and we sat on a booth by the window facing the road.
He was BIC and an honorable RM.
He was the gorgeous compilation of all three faces I dated.
and...He loved Lisa, with her now perfect heart, from the get go.

The healer was right, my happiness lies with where my mother is. She didn't say where she exactly is, but I realize now that it was to start there.

By the time I got in the door tonight, I realized that these once scattered clues perfectly aligned to give me my three amazing children and a remarkable husband.
I am happy...

Never doubt that Heavenly Father has a sense of humor...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Whose Blog Is this anyway?

I really should stop looking and get tempted to click on the recently updated blogs feed at the top of my dashboard, because though normally I am not easily offended, I am very much an advocate of fairness. And some blogs, I just don't care for! Whose blog is this anyway?

Wow, I mean even in the blogging world where your soul can easily be exposed and dissected, people can't help but show their true colors and allow these slow degradation of morals to occur as if these are just another pesky fly they can choose to ignore until it flies away. Do they think that just because others talk like them and feel like them, it is validating? NO! Let me reiterate that, NO!!

I guess sometimes, when one is justifiably emotionally involved about a topic, it is very easy to incite thoughtless, rude responses without much prompting, but isn't that why we're supposed to have private, pour-your-heart out journals or have that bff that can listen about anything? Honestly people, some things should just be kept private, sacred and between those involved, like Heavenly Father, or a long lost relative perhaps?

Lately, I guess since this is a New Year, some falsely see their blogs superior over others or should I state the obvious negative mirror of these "lookie-loos" who has nothing better to do than see how many people relate to them or would maybe, just maybe side with them?

My most infuriating finds: blogs that bag on others' enthusiasm, posts that flourish their sentences with toe-curling words that most likely their mothers would slap them for or what about those blogs that think inappropriate pictures are artistic rather than the truth-mild porno, but porno nonetheless! Blogs are personal; they are intimate to the authors that decided to create them. So what if their posts are sickeningly sweet or lacking in rhythm and panache? So what? I personally think that they are the most honest in this "write but hide" world of blogging. These so called sweet but boring posts are awe-inspiring, they are able to put into words what they wish to be. They are the ones that are fully aware that we are not perfect, so they choose to pour out their heart because they know how to write down what could be, rather than what was and what just happened without much reflection on any possible change! I'm all for free speech, but not at the expense of other people!

I love my friends' blogs; they are able to confine their posts to comprehensible labels that define their emotions for that moment, but those who go out of their way to flourish, bag, reach for the border of no-return moral degradation, boo on you!

You claim you believe in God through your choices of "add ons" and yet, the draw of more confused and just as uninformed audience, goad you to compose ridiculous, hurtful and immoral topics! Mind your own business! Through your mocking missives, you mock God and nullify any real sense of faith you have in HIM since others that have now convinced you, and you've convinced, through your moment of stupidity, lead to that!

If you ever visit a blog, next time, be kind and respectful of those that you see next, because, "hello!" we are all unique, and that includes our brain wiring and perceptions in life!

I believe that when something is not to be done, you work hard at changing, avoiding it; without the expense of others' reflection of their own failings. And hello, bad things do happen to other people and yes, they are allowed to announce that to whoever wants to listen, just like what you are so desperately trying to maintain. Thoughtful people do not slice through others' imagination, thoughtful people quietly cheer everyone around them, because change for the better is gaining momentum!

Did you ever think of that? You, you ridiculous, superficial, artificial, unbelievably vain bloggers!

Get your fingers ready...

I've just checked in to my classes and all four Public Administation classes are related, so they staggered the homeworks to prevent too much overlap. The best part of it all, three are done in two months! Yay, me! (Boy, do I watch too much Disney channel...)

What does that mean for you? It means you will need to keep posting (if you feel like it; no pressure, (cough! everyday)) on your blogs to help me (if you think I'm worth it, (cough! I am!) Lol), break the monotony of online classes.

I love reading everyone's post; yes, everyone's and now that I've figured how to deal with feeds and links, then I can definitely keep up with most of your musings, ramblings, rantings and ravings!

Are you up to the challenge? So, what are you waiting for? Crack those knuckles and ready... set... type!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Room by Room Feng Shui- Living Room

Feng Shui Your Living Room

In Feng Shui, Yin is the quiet and calming chi while Yang is the active and can be destructive, chi. You can’t have too much of either, you need both to achieve total contentment. “There must be opposition in all things.”

Anyone can have a beautiful home no matter how eccentric the taste. When I go to someone’s house, the first visual impression is not what dictates my comfort within. It is the flow of chi from person to room, one room to the next, wall to wall, and floor to ceiling. A lot of times, when people come to my house, it doesn’t matter that it’s messy from the day’s chaos, they come in and say “it’s so comfortable here” or “I love how your home feels so welcoming”. Good chi is not hard to reactivate, but very easily ignored when we fall prey to stress.

For 12 years, I have practiced these seven simple steps in reactivating my own good chi, starting with our living rooms (I’ve moved quite a bit). It can help you, too. I will not delve into symbolism for practical purposes.

1.From your front door, look around your first set of rooms. If there’s a “spot” that seem to catch your attention negatively, note it down. Do each room seem too dark, too bright or does it have much of what you don’t want as opposed to what makes you feel good? Put lamps on dark spaces and darken stark spaces with big plants or a vertical statue.

2.Still struggling to get things done, even after your yoga poses and blood-pumping routine? See if the room is the culprit. Again, from your front door, look at your furniture placement. Is it a maze or a meandering pathway? If you have to keep “turning” to get to the next furniture, then you're in a maze. The best yin chi is free flowing , gentle and invokes relaxation and creativity. Move around your sofas and tables to soften the flow from the front door to your living space and beyond to the back door.

3.Someone once told me, “If you keep looking up at the sky or always on the ground, eventually your neck will hurt.” Each of us needs to recognize what’s around, below, above, behind and in front of us to be well-balanced. If a room makes you feel too excited and the next agitated, then you have too much of each chi. Your own chi should compliment the chi inside the home. If you are a tall person, you should have low level attractions to help you see every surface. Reverse that for short dwellers. Don’t ignore tall ceilings and corners; if they are bare, it's like ignoring a part of you just because no one can see it. Eventually, it will be a source of annoyance. Maintain your good chi by making it “rise up” and dwell longer in your home. A good vessel to capture more yin is a tall and small necked vase or a vertical painting you love.

4.You should have a good exchange of oxygen flow in your home. Unless you are super allergic to dust, let the air in. Open those windows! Not only will it refresh your room, it'll do the same for your mood while you’re in your favorite room or the living room. If you clear your lungs, you clear your mind and mood. Air cleaners do the same if you have allergies.

5.Bring in plants that produce a lot of oxygen like bamboo or any pothos ivy. Scientifically, plants need and release carbon dioxide and oxygen to maintain health. Having more oxygen clears our heads and lightens our mood. We are told to drink water to maintain our health, right? Consider plants as your home’s water supply. But not in the bedrooms; as plants cycle carbon dioxide and oxygen for their own life maintenance. During the night, you are not in control of how much CO2 you inhale. See Gas Exchange in Plants .

6.From your sofa, can you see the front door? If you can’t, that uncertainty brings in undue anxiety about your safety. If your floor plan forces you to hide from the front door, place a mirror on the wall that allows you to see the door from where you like to sit and relax.

7.Make your living room, a living room. Meaning, represent your whole family in it. For example, children’s artwork displayed in a beautiful frame, most recent or favorite family portrait, favorite throw, books and a few toys in a beautiful basket that can be hidden away. Consider a conference room; it is designed to hold all that can contribute to a meeting or activity. It is normally bright enough, wide enough and meant for all involved in the meeting. Well, your whole family is your team, therefore, let their “input” be a part of the main room.

Sometimes, we forget that our own energy level is “dumped” into our own homes and to undo that, we need to reorganize our furniture and space to give us a new perspective. Feng Shui can also be seasonal, so don’t feel constraint about your initial reactivation. Remember that each season brings its own chi with it and it’s up to you to harness the good chi to help you deal with the bad chi life throws at you.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Repost: Some Feng Shui Tips

The Bagua from library of images

After getting that wonderful comment from Stephanie McWilliams, host of HGTV's FUN SHUI, I decided to repost these simple tips that can have a powerful impact in your lives. Everyone seeks balance and contentment to achieve happiness, but if you don't know where to start, how will you get there?

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, back in 1996:

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.

6. 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. 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?

"Fun Shui" TV Host found my blog!

... and she commented on it!!! Oh, wow! What a great day this is turning out to be! First, on Free Cycle, I got a white cake stand (picking up tomorrow AM) that I need for Valentine's tablescape and now this! Yes, yes, yes!!! At first, I thought it was my ward friend Stephanie Bean, but when I re-read the post, I knew it wasn't her! Wow!

Here's what she said: (Original post on one below...)

"Well, you just made my day! Not only is your blog posting so heartfelt and inspiring...but I also got a big grin on my face when I saw my very own show on your Gratitude list. I'm the host of "Fun Shui" on HGTV...and it means the WORLD to me that there are people like you out there looking to change your life and make a difference. Keep doing the great work you're doing! And feel free to email me directly if you have any great feng shui questions or stories to share!

Lots of love to you,
Stephanie (McWilliams)"

OK, I am now officially the luckiest person in Carrollton!!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Here's to New Beginnings...

Hello everyone, or someone who may be free enough to be following this blog. (You or all of you make my heart puff up with joy, just knowing you even read this blog, lol!)

The last part of 2008, I focused a lot on my family blog, but I was thinking, if I'm going to add three more blogs to this one, I should be able to maintain this one just fine, right? Right!

So, here's to new beginnings and new goals. My goal is to be able to have more of my thoughts and reflections on what makes my heart sing, my eyes to widen, my breath to catch in my throat and my brain to keep firing. It's the best resolution I can start with, to be more proactive in recording how I see the world. And to any naysayers out there, "to each his own!" These are my own personal logs and I'm entitled to them. I don't have to use any distracting or scandalous adjectives or verbs to gain an audience, I have a fat account in my lexicon bank and I am not afraid to use them to get my point across!

Just to review: I...
- don't cuss (anymore since the early 90s)
- think cussing is disgusting (I can't believe I did back then)
- am all about my children (love, love them!)
- do not offend easily (only 3 things actually)
- love my life now
- love the color purple (on anything, but cars!)
- have a great, wonderful, awesome husband (too much billing?)
- few, but unbelievably awesome friends
- am a Latter-day Saint
- am not afraid to tell people what I think
- love doing tablescapes
- love finding good in everything and everyone
- love the Philippine culture and its people
- love living simply, and simply living (with practical limitations)

Now that's out of the way, it's up to you if you still want to follow this blog, if you do, I thank you, if you don't, no skin off my back!

Having just ranted all that, I'll see you next post!

My life now... my then dream "secret candy"!