Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A thrill of hope

I had been planning to write about my birthday last week over here at Topaz Horizon and our Disneyland trip over at Topaz Mommy but in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, I wasn't in the mood to talk about fun.

Actually, this weekend, I wasn't really worried about Yolanda. After all, we Filipinos are typhoon veterans. We know how to deal with typhoons. We get at least 20 typhoons every year! But when photos, videos and news reports started coming in on Saturday afternoon, I was in shock. I think everyone was. But I had a personal reason for being alarmed: My parents are from Leyte—Mama from Tacloban, Papa from Tolosa—and many of our relatives still lived there. They weren't responding to calls, texts and messages on Facebook. Just silence all weekend long.

Then finally this morning...

You know, I've been through some pretty nasty things. Life hasn't exactly been perfect. But it never is, right? But in recent years, I've finally learned to really believe in God and to trust in Him. Yes. I've been a Born-Again Christian since I was a child, was even a youth leader in my early 20s, but apparently I never truly believed in God. I allowed hate, bitterness, anger, resentment and fear to rule my life for almost two decades.

Only when I finally gave up control of my life to God (marriage, my mother's death, and the birth of my kids had something to do with this phenomenon!), did I realize that whatever storms we're going through, there is always hope, peace and joy if we have complete faith and trust in our Sovereign God.

Okay, I'm in a better mood! I've been seeing a deluge of interesting and uplifting stories on social media. These are my favorites:

God bless those kids! Imagine that. If they can help, so can we!

Okay, newly engaged women! Here's your chance to wear a beautiful wedding gown and help out the typhoon victims! Makes me want to sell my wedding gown actually, like what Patty Laurel did last year for the Typhoon Pablo victims. Let me check first if it's still in good condition—it's been packed away in its box since 2007!

image source and story here
This is from Shekinah Eden. People failed to mention her Hollywood connection. She's Zachary Levi's sister! Anyway, she Tweeted that adorable photo of kids in her neighborhood. My goodness, aren't these girls so inspiring?

God bless these people! They were here to relax but they chose to help instead!

Here are some links I found re: guideline on donating in the most effective ways. The font is different because I copied and pasted from my Facebook:

Ok, I've been reading a lot about what to donate, etc, and everyone says DO NOT DONATE CLOTHES. Best pa rin daw is cash so that the proper agencies can buy the things the survivors need (tents, medicine, food, water, blankets, etc.). http://www.howstuffworks.com/10-worst-things-donate-after-disaster.htm

Eto pa. It says while everyone wants to help immediately after a disaster, it's also a better idea to donate waaaaay after the event. Right now, funds are being used for rescue and recovery but in the ensuing months, rebuilding happens. By then, no one cares anymore and the survivors suffer another "disaster". http://goodintents.org/disaster/the-dos-and-donts-of-disaster-donations

But here's a good list of things to donate that people don't think of. For example, underwear and sanitary pads. Oo nga naman! I think we should add diapers, tissue paper, toilet paper. http://www.divinecaroline.com/life-etc/culture-causes/after-disaster-twelve-unexpected-things-victims-need

Okidoki, Pinoys! Let's do this!!! Don't give up. Don't lose hope! God bless us all!

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Monday, November 04, 2013

Birthday resolution: Drink more water!

I'm turning 37 on Thursday. Hooray! Another birthday! I love my birthdays!

Now, I look good for a 37-year-old woman but I look like a woman in her 30s nonetheless. I'm okay with that. I certainly don't want to look like I did in my teens...

... or in my 20s...

I finally grew into my looks. I'm glad that the blossoming happened in my 30s. I can say for certain that I got my man and my career because of my talent and personality, not because of my looks haha!

I like my 30s. This has been a fantastic 7 years. I got my dream job, I got married to my great love, we built our lovely home, I had his children, I have made a few but truly wonderful friends, I retired from the dream job because my family was dreamier, and now I'm just writing for a living. My life is all about my passions. I can't ask for anything more!

But... I should do more. Exercise. Eat healthy. Drink more water! Although I'm proud I look great for my age, the fine lines have started, the freckles that used to be cute are now sun spots, the pimple scars are getting deeper. So I started on Shiseido Ibuki skincare regimen. But now I also want to drink drink drink water! I was shocked when I saw this:

That's just from drinking 12 glasses of water a day, folks. Here's the story: "Drinking three litres of water a day took TEN YEARS OFF my face!"

Argh! I can't even finish three glasses a day! One liter is 33 oz. A glass is 8 oz. So a liter is 4 glasses, which makes 3 liters 12 glasses. How on earth can I drink 12 glasses a day??? My dermatologist says I need more water. My dentist says I need water. My husband says I need water.

Drinking more water has been my birthday and New Year's resolution every year. Every single year. It never happens. But one look at those before-and-after photos and I'm really seriously doing it. I just need tips. How do you drink water, dear readers? Help me!!!

Plus, wouldn't it be fun if we did this water thing together? Okay, let's take a photo of our face today, Nov. 4, then drink our 12 glasses of water a day every day, and then take a photo again on Dec. 4! Oh, this is going to be so exciting!

A reader who is a registered nurse, and who I'll hide under the pseudonym Ms RN, sent me this caution:

Hi Ms. Frances. I saw your post about water. While it's really great to drink lots of water, just enough should do the trick, say 8-10 glasses a day. Too much water dilutes essential nutrients in the body and flushes out minerals too

Para di ka maoverwhelm, you can try half glass every hour Or a glass every 2 hours. Annoying lang kasi iihi ka ng iihi. 

By the way, people should also be careful drinking lotsa water when they [eat] too much salt because it can cause water retention. So less salt and more water talaga Another thing to remember is when an individual has a kidney disease, water intake should be limited depending on the doctors order. Hope I helped!

So, readers, let's stick to the 10 glasses max muna, okay???

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Sunday, November 03, 2013

You're never too young (or too old!) to start a business!

When I was a kid, my dream—aside from becoming a writer—was to become a postman. Yep, the guy who delivers mail. I figured I'd be at the post office early in the morning to get my batch of deliveries, then spend the rest of the morning going around houses and chatting with the people. Then I'll rest in the afternoon, and then—and here's when the real work begins—then I'll sit down and make up stories about the people I met that day.

I tested out that dream by selling tapa, tocino and longganisa one summer. I was 11 or 12 years old, very skinny, and I put the frozen meat in a pail of ice (very heavy) and walked around the neighborhood selling people breakfast. I had a great time. Everyone loved my products, everyone loved that a young girl was so entrepreneurial, and I loved that I met so many people and learned so much about them. After all, people like to talk to someone who brings food!

But the business ended when a neighbor, who had been getting meat on credit, refused to pay me. When I kept showing up at her door to collect payment, she finally set her dogs on me. That ended that business real quick. When I told my parents about it, in the hope they would confront the nasty neighbor and get me my money, my father said, "It's best this way. I don't like you out in the sun because your skin gets dark."

I hope to be a parent who encourages my kids to do crazy things. Hopefully, the crazy things are the sort that makes them money haha. Vince told me he was so charmed by this little girl who would collect rocks around her neighborhood, wash them and paint pretty designs on them, then sell the painted rocks to her neighbors. I wish our sons would be that entrepreneurial!

How inspiring is this?

He earns enough to buy LEGOs. Those things are so expensive! I know because we buy our boys LEGO all the time! He is so cute. And so encouraging to me because I want to sell bags again. You all know how that business failed spectacularly. But I don't regret it because I learned a lot.

As with my frozen meats business, I learned that credit must not be extended lightly. With the bag business, I learned that I can't just assume people are doing their jobs just because they said so. I actually have a business now, my freelance writing. I'm learning a lot, too, the most important being this: Start charging after the second meeting and don't be shy about my rates. Argh, I've wasted a lot of time and energy this year meeting prospective clients and working on proposals and mock-up projects which all went up in smoke anyway. So the project didn't push through but I spent time and money and brain cells on them anyway and I got nothing in return. Lesson learned! Just goes to show you're never too young or too old to learn something new!

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