Friday, December 9, 2022

Mama Mary and Her Children Book 7

I immediately said yes when Rowie asked me to do some last minute editing of book 7 of Mama Mary and Her Children. I was given about 72 hours to finish going through 45 stories, the introduction and the foreword. I prayed for strength since I wasn't sure if my stamina would see me through. I worked on it 2 out of the three days because I was out of commission for a day. 

The launch finally happened today at noon. It was a good day to launch it in celebration of the Immaculate Concepcion. It is a good present for Mama Mary. Rowie shared that it was the hardest book to launch. It faced a lot of challenges, but by the Grace of God and Mama Mary it was finally completed. 

Going through the stories written by contributors was timely for me. My boys had just finished their quarantine and were still recovering from COVID-19. Some of the contributors shared their pandemic stories and how they coped with it through their faith. Heartwarming were stories of families growing closer together through praying the rosary. Other stories showed how multicultural friendships formed because of Mama Mary. 

Each of us have our own Mama Mary story. During the launch today I was tasked to host the post-launch socials. It was a joy to host and get to know the other contributors more. I mentioned to them I hope all of us could be Mama Mary's warriors. Spread the love and devotion online. More love and strengthening of faith is what we need in this difficult time. I think this is my mission at this moment of time. 

Mama Mary and Her Children Book 7 would be a nice gift for Christmas! You may purchase it through the following:

Anvil Publishing

National Bookstore

Lazada / Shopee

For assistance on book orders (especially if you're buying in bulk!), 

📌 Text: 0917-835-4746 or 0917-853-5869 📌 Email:

Now I know what I will give my Mom for her birthday! Happy 87th birthday Mommy! Thank you for teaching me about Mama Mary since I was a child <3

#BeKind #StaySafe

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Throwback Thursday: Shinkansen Ride from Tokyo to Nagoya to Osaka

One of the things I enjoyed doing while covering the Asia Pacific region was figuring out how to get from one place to another. I have a collection of train cards across Asia since that was the easiest way to travel in-country. I once visited a school in the outskirts of Tokyo and the principal asked me, "How did you get here?" I told her I took the train. She was so shocked since the train system in Tokyo can be really confusing. I told her I just followed Google Maps. 

I was scheduled to visit an event in Nagoya once and I thought it would be a great opportunity to take the Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo. I thought I was going to have someone with me, but he decided to take the plane (he said it was cheaper and faster). I already had my ticket so I had no choice, haha. 

I was so nervous I confirmed twice which train station to go to. My luggage was huge because it was winter. I took a short taxi ride to the station and to be sure I went to the information center to ask which area I should go to. I was on the right track because the gate was just beside the info center. It was still early so I managed to look around the area before I settled in the waiting lounge where it was warm.

I was told that you should buy bento before boarding the train. It is customary to take out food and eat in the train. I was glad I bought food. I ate it when I saw other people eating in the train. The meal was delicious and I wished I bought more food, haha. 

The  ride was 100 to 120 minutes long. I was surprised to see Mt. Fuji! My friend said, he got me a seat on the side of Mt. Fuji so I could see it. It was picture perfect even though I was just taking photos from a speeding train. I was so happy to see it again. Last time I saw it up close I was still in high school. It was where we got to try onsen.

I did not get bored or sleepy on the ride. I was afraid I might miss my stop! It was a fun ride since I was able to see different profiles of the countryside. It was late afternoon already when I arrived in Nagoya. I just bought some dinner and then discovered a multi-level Tokyu Hands near where I was staying. The next day I took the Shinkansen again and went to Osaka. 

Lesson learned though, don't take the train when your luggage is huge. 

#BeKind #StaySafe


Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Wellness Wednesdays: Live Grateful

I was clinically diagnosed with PTSD and depression last year after my second PE*. A friend suggested to me to see a proper doctor since I used up the consultations benefit. I knew also from the experience of other PE patients that it's important to get help. PE is truly a different kind of monster. 

I breezed through 2 OHS' and I was still able to cope after my first PE. The second one though really did a number on me. I emailed the doctor as my friends suggested, but I waited another six weeks before I followed-up. I only followed up because I wasn't getting any better and I wasn't motivated to do anything.

First vs. Last day at my psych doctor's office.
My energy (and skin care) definitely improved.

And the doctor helped. We did have some issues with meds in the beginning. I kept bleeding because it was interacting with my other meds. He eventually gave me something that worked. Within a month I progressed a lot. My breathing improved and my stamina improved also. Our sessions helped me re-establish my coping mechanims and it got me sewing again. 

My doctor was concerned about moving back home. He said it was going to be stressful. I was confident when I told him that I felt I'd be fine. I was okay and even weaned myself away from the meds early (he gave me instructions on how to do it). I knew it would not be good to be dependent on meds. I had to re-learn to be resilient. 

The past 10 months since I stopped taking the meds has been very challenging. I still have 2 banigs of the medication which I can take in case of emergency. I have not taken it even though I had been going through a difficult time since September. 

A friend posted a quote on his FB stream about "living gratefully". I remember the lesson Chade Meng Tan taught us about being grateful and being grateful for others. He said the effect of being grateful is multiplied so much more if you are grateful for others. That's what broke the dark cloud that was on my head. 

 This is my emergency pill.

I realized that I should celebrate what I have instead of lamenting over what I don't have. That's the reason why I made this post last week and why I think my posts now sound more happy than morose. Live grateful and you're heart will overflow with happiness. 

If you're feeling downtrodden or sad or stuck in a rut, it's always helpful to start a gratitude journal. You can start with one to three per day. Start with simple things like appreciating the beautiful blue sky when you wake up. Believe me your list will soon grow long and you're perspective will change. For extra oomph, try being grateful for others. It will rocketship you to the stars. 

*PE - pulmonary embolism

**OHS  - open heart surgery

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Creative Happy Tuesdays: Maybe I'll Do a Cross-Stitch Project After Christmas

I like cross-stitching and doing embroidery. It was one of my favorite sewing lessons we were taught in school. I think I will find the sampler I made once we finish unboxing and decluttering our home. The other day Sweetie found my original sewing kit. It was a pink toolbox which I think I had Mom buy for me maybe 30 years ago? 

I don't have the patience though to finish huge cross-stitch projects. I honestly still haven't finished the mother and child cross-stitch my Mom had me do when Miggy was a baby. He's now 28 and I still haven't finished it. The project has also moved across all the homes we lived in, haha. The box of DMC thread is still intact. Found it hard to complete because the design is very intricate. I'll review whether I'll continue to do it once I find all the materials. 

While de-cluttering some books, I found a give Miggy gave me almost ten years ago. "Subversive Cross Stitch", a collection of designs that will freak out my Mom (hehe). I think Miggy got it for me because he knew I'd be cool about it. I laughed as I went through the pages of the book. DMC ads keep popping up on my stream (bakit kaya?). Maybe I'll do something soon since DMC seems to have a monthly sale. 

Brought up my old sewing kit because I found two quick projects I made many years ago. A Hello Kitty cross stitch which I think is still very cute. It's probably time to frame it since my plan is to have a HK themed powder room in my craft room (yes, I'm having the shower removed since the bathroom is too small). 

And I found a small butterfly project I did. I don't recall anymore when I made these. I probably made it before I left for Singapore? Yes, probably between typhoon Ondoy and before I left for SG. Dating it after Ondoy because all of my things got wet during the flood. Luckily, both projects were in the sewing kit so it was kinda preserved. 

I'll probably stick to smaller cross-stitch projects from now on since I don't have the patience to finish bigger ones. Plus I think my trigger finger would not be happy. That's also the reason why I rarely hand quilt now. I make sure to do some PT exercises when I do to avoid pain. #signofoldage hahaha. 

You don't need to just do one kind of craft. I like exploring and incorporating my crafts. Sometimes I do some embroidery on my quilt projects. It's not perfect, but it makes me happy. Here's one I did two or three Christmases ago -

If I stuck to cross-stitching, I probably wouldn't need my own craft room. LOL. 

P.S. Santa seat cover project is progressing very slowly. Things have been crazy busy with renovations. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Monday, December 5, 2022

Home on Mondays: New Kitchen is Almost Done!

I stayed away from the kitchen when it was being renovated. They also covered it up while working on it, so I only saw updates through the photos Sweetie would send. Everyday Sweetie would have a timelapse of the work. It was fascinating to watch it being torn down, seeing the huge damage made by the termites and then seeing a new kitchen being built from ground up. 

Here's a before and after photo:

We're not done yet. There's a hole in the ceiling because the roof and electrical installation needs to be fixed. The top of the cabinets will be boarded up when the roof is fixed. I went through the cabinets and drawers and there are a few things that need to be tweaked to fit my needs. And, just confirmed our choice for the backsplash.

I'm really happy about our kitchen now. The remnants of what it went through is gone now. The team captured my needs and what I wanted. We chose to use wood laminate to make the look more timeless. White and grey squiggly lines countertop to make it look clean. And matte grey tiles for the floor (glad it's no longer slippery). 

The appliances are the same. Architect Wansi and his team decided to switch the refrigerator and pantry. The stove was moved closer to the sink. The ugly part of the exhaust is also now covered (no more eyesore!). The counter is also a bit longer now. If you notice though, the oven is gone! 

View from the other end.

Really grateful to Architect Wansi Oliveros and the whole Alab team for our beautiful kitchen. Thankful to Ms. Myna for introducing Architect Wansi to us. I'm excited to finish the priority works we've identified so we can have a beautiful and happy (and hopefully de-cluttered) Christmas!

#BeKind #StaySafe

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Miracle Sundays: Don't Beg for Love

We were busy all day clearing up space for the workers tomorrow, so it's going to be a short reflection today. I chanced upon this post by The Feast Official on IG yesterday. It spoke to me because I finally realized why a part of me always felt incomplete. 

I was only ten years when my sister flew out of the nest. She left for the US to study. She also got married there. Since 1985, I've only seen her less than 5 times. My brother got married when I was 13 and soon got busy with his own family. I saw him at least once or twice a year even when he moved to another country. The last time my family was complete was during my wedding. That was almost 13 years ago.  

Before I met Sweetie, I took a long break from being in a relationship. I had been making bad decisions on who to love. It was a good thing I took a break because I learned to love and value myself. I went into relationships where I always felt I wasn't enough. The last one reached the point where my parents talked to me and told me he wasn't the right guy. 

Those bad decisions stemmed from feeling abandoned by my siblings. It's not their fault they were much older than me (16 and 13 years older). They were already well on their way to adulthood when I was still going through my terrible twos. They already had their own families when I was in high school. I skipped growing up with siblings to tita-hood.  

I think I turned out okay anyway. Made a lot of mistakes. Got hurt and disappointed many times. But life is beautiful. I have what I need and I know God always has my back. Appreciate what you have and be grateful for those people in your life who really show you that they care. Don't ever beg for love. 

#BeKind #StaySafe

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Plantita Saturdays: Kitchen Scraps Experiment Results

The past few months I've been trying to grow veggies from kitchen scraps. Some were successful, some did not work out. I've been experimenting so I could learn and hopefully have my own produce. I'll probably continue to experiment until I get things right. Here's a list of what I've tried to grow from kitchen scraps:


I tried this experiment in Singapore. I cut up one tomato and planted it directly on soil (apparently you're supposed to just get the seeds hehe). I soon enough had a lot of seedlings. Several survived when I transplanted them and I was able to harvest some. They were tiny though and I now know what went wrong (it lacked calcium and phosphate). You can read up more about the experiment here.

Bell Peppers

Best to dry the seeds before you plant them. They are quite prolific, but it takes a bit of time for it to grow. I was able to harvest some, but they were not perfect. Also realized that I should have given it fertilizer so it would grow well. More about the experiment here.


After cutting off the leaves, I propagated the bottom part of the lemongrass in water for a few days. Then I planted it in soil. It's one of the easier veggies to grow. I just chop off some every so often and it grows back immediately. 


Made several attempts to grow onions. I tried propagating the roots in water, then planted it. Tried directly growing on soil. I must have overwatered it because they died after a few weeks. Maybe I'll try planting from seed. 


It's so easy to propagate roots in water. After planting them in soil they would grow stalks for a few weeks. I'm not sure what went wrong, but they all died too. Gaaaah. I'll probably try again when the weather is hotter. 


Ahhh, one of the easier ones to propagate. Just make sure to propagate the roots when the ginger is still fresh. Plant in soil once the roots grow out. The ones I propagated and planted in early August. Should be ready for harvest by summer! More about ginger here.


Got a bunch of tumeric from a friend. Propagated them the same time I tried growing ginger. They have grown nicely and should be ready to harvest by June next year (yeah, longer than ginger!). More about tumeric here.

I've suspended planting anything for now since there's work being done at home. Sawdust hasn't been good for my plants. I think the weather hasn't been good also since my seedlings have been dying from the lack of sun (the angle has noticeably changed). I'll probably focus on maintenance for now and just start planting again early next year. 

#BeKind #StaySafe