whole pizza

"I am large. I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Double Chocolate Latte

Double Tulip Chocolate

"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." ~ Charles M. Schulz

My new favorite thing! Coffee *and* chocolate! Perfection.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Labels

What would happen if we stopped labeling our experience as sad or bad or tragic or morose or unfortunate? If we looked at it and see that it was good or for our good each and every time? How would that change us? How would that invariably change our experience of our life?

Monday, December 31, 2012

It is a blessing to get old

"It is a blessing to get old. I cry a lot because I miss people. I cry a lot because they die and I can't stop them. They leave me. And I love them more." ~ Maurice Sendak

The illustrated radio interview (linked through the quote above) with a very raw and vulnerable Maurice Sendak wrecked me. God bless you, Maurice Sendak. It must be wonderful to be with your brother again.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Sky

Sky

The sky. Every hour of the day it’s different, it’s fluid, graceful, elegant. Any time you look at it, it’s restorative. And it doesn’t demand anything from you. When I look up, I think, “Wow sky, I should do that more often.” ~ A.M. Holmes

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Brave & Kind

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Your No-Matter-What People


Everybody has a home team: It’s the people you call when you get a flat tire or when something terrible happens. It’s the people who, near or far, know everything that’s wrong with you and love you anyways. These are the ones who tell you their secrets, who get themselves a glass of water without asking when they’re at your house. These are the people who cry when you cry. These are your people, your middle-of-the-night, no-matter-what people.” ~ Shauna Niequist

Make sure you have this in your life. 

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Life

That's where the magic is happening

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

"Lessen the suffering of others"


"The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation.


For me, I am driven by two main philosophies, know more today about the world than I knew yesterday. And lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” ~ Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pay Attention

"Pay attention to the people who take the time to hang out with you." ~ Anonymous

I read this line and saw this photo on Tumblr today. I am pleased to say that I try my best to do this. Pay attention, I mean. If you and I are friends and we met up for coffee, you wouldn't see me on my phone until the end of our meet-up and probably only because I needed to get my wallet to pay and saw my phone.

If you and I see each other in person, I can tell you this much: You will have my full attention.

I always consider attention akin to a gift. After all, my attention is my life and my love made manifest. That makes attention a gift - and a privilege and honor - that we give each other.

Last year I gave up Facebook. I still have an account because it's my default address book and possibly the easiest way to get in touch with me. But I'm no longer engaged in that space.

There are a lot of things I learned from my disengagement.

One of them is that very few of my friends will purposefully let me know what is up in their lives because most of them assume that once they've posted it on FB, everyone would know, including me. I grasped the fact that others may not consider my friendship valuable enough to go out of their way to share their lives with me, specifically. I say that with no judgement. I will say though with honesty and a sad heart that I miss meeting up with friends who want to let me know about their lives and want to know about mine. Because, isn't that what friends do?

The way we communicate with each other has changed. The onus is now on me to know what is happening with you. And if I don't know, it's not because you didn't tell me, It's because I did not seek you in the spaces where you would broadcast your life.

One of my joys now is meeting up with friends who are either not on Facebook or don't make it a huge part of their everyday lives. I enjoy their company in a most special way. They don't assume I know anything about what they're up to and take the time to tell me. In turn, they ask how I've been. And with genuine interest and curiosity, we listen to each other. Confide in one another. Laugh together.

God, how priceless.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Think Out Loud

That’s who you really like. The people you can think out loud in front of.” ~ John Green


I know, that's stating the obvious. But sometimes, it's so easy to miss the obvious. Or appreciate it and see it as a gift. 


So it's good to remind ourselves that when you are conversing (truly sharing with no inhibitions, where even your fear of being misunderstood goes by the wayside) and in turn listening (really listening with intention and attention) to someone, these are the people who matter to you. The people you genuinely like. The hearts you'd choose to be vulnerable with.


When you're not self-editing, that's when you're truly invested in the interaction and the person you're interacting with.



Thursday, February 09, 2012

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Deep Friendships

"Deep friendships could lead to transformation. I saw that it’s possible to transcend the limits of your skin in a friendship. That a friend can take you out of the boxes you’ve made for yourself and burn them up. This kind of friendship is not a frivolous connection, a supplementary relationship to the ones we’re taught and told are primary – spouses, children, parents. It is love." ~ Emily Rapp


I pray you have this in your life. I came across this and recognized it immediately. It didn't take long for me to say "I know exactly how that feels, I intimately know what it is she is describing."


I realize too how very few of my friendships fit this description. And that's alright. That makes sense. Deep friendships are a gift, rare and precious and by its nature, few. It is grace. And yes, it is love.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A good head and a good heart



“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.”~ Nelson Mandela

Grant me both, Lord, if it is not too much to ask. That my heart may lead my head, but that my heart be led by Yours.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

God's Outrageous, Scandalous Love

"God loved us so much that he became one of us. May Christmas deepen your awareness of the lavish, outrageous, scandalous love of God for us." ~ Fr James Martin SJ

May we live and breathe and thrive and rest and be in Your most scandalous, lavish, outrageous love, my Savior.

Gloria in excelsis Deo!

(Photo credit: Scribblecee)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

This Killed Me



Tears.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving


For God so loved the world, that He GAVE..." ~ John 3:16

This entry is for Babs.

I didn't meet Babs through this blog but it's apt to say she got to know me through it. And since she's the one friend who seems to miss my writing here the most, I feel it's just right that I write this entry with her in mind.

It's November and it's thanksgiving in a few days. For the past five years since I was once a runner and ran a half marathon, I think of Jack at this time of the year. And when I think of Jack, I think of all the gifts he's given me. And if there's anything he's given me, he's given me his mother Babs as my friend.

My friend Christine once described me as a giver, and I guess she's right. There is a pleasure - an in-your-sinews satisfaction and joy - in giving that is not found in other endeavors. A fullness of heart that I cannot even begin to describe.

But there's a hitch. There's a delicate requirement for genuine, heart-felt giving to take place: You need people who are willing, humble and brave enough to receive it.

When I met Jack and Babs and Juni, the planets were aligned. All our hearts were raw and open and we were all ready to both give and receive.

And there in that circle was where God taught me the most about the mystery and grace of giving. Elusive truths in this quid pro quo world:

Firstly, it takes profound humility, great courage and deep faith to be on the receiving end.

Secondly, the giver receives more - oh so much more - than what he or she can ever give. And even if the giving sometimes starts from a place of ego, God works with that too and uses that too, for the good of everyone - even the giver.

And thirdly, everyone in this exchange becomes immeasurably, unfathomably blessed. Transformed. No one loses. No one is short-changed. The only debt you are left with is an indebtedness of love and service to one another. It is a well that never runs dry. It is a wheel that runs on gratitude.

The real surprise is that I may have been the giver in this case, but do you know what God taught me? He taught me not to be a better giver, but a better receiver. Through Babs and Jack, God taught me how to recognize when people - strangers or otherwise - sincerely want to do something thoughtful and kind for me. I still hesitate to accept, I admit. But God always finds a way to let me know that He's using others to reach out to me and help me. I learned that when God provides, it is usually through other people that He does it. Who am I to say no to God's loving kindness? And so He grants me the courage to accept the kindness of others. I guess He knows that that's what my heart needs to learn. I still struggle with it, sure. But I'm learning.

Babs reminds me all the time that I am no longer the "others." It's her way of telling me that I am part of her family, not obviously in the biological sense, but in a deeper, more meaningful John 13:34 way. We are bound by Jack and blessed by God.

There have been times in my life when I have offered to give to the people I love and had been turned down. During those times, Christ consoles me that their resistance or refusal is not my concern. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8), He reminds me. He comforts me with the thought that sometimes, when I'm not given the privilege to give, it is enough to express my love by my willingness to give.

But today, I want to express my love by thanking Babs and Juni for blessing me with their gracious and wholehearted acceptance and appreciation of my help when I offered it. And my gratitude to Jack and God, for everything my heart learned and continues to learn in the aspect of receiving. Even four years after you've left us Jack, you my Braveheart are still the gift that keeps on giving to your Tita Mayang. She is grateful beyond words.

And thank you Babs, from the bottom of my bottomless heart, for appreciating my words.

(Photo credit: Marlowe_Jenny)

Saturday, April 02, 2011

An Old Friend


Hello, sweetie.

I was meandering on flickr and this one popped up. His name is Winston. He reminds me of someone dear.

Maybe it's his way of saying hello.

So hello.

*Imaginary pat on your head and a rub on your tummy*

*Me smiling and you and you smiling back*

(Photo credit: WilliamMarlow)

Friday, April 01, 2011

Laughter

"You don't stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing." ~ Michael Pritchard

Last night, my Mama called me on FaceTime for the very first time.

I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but my folks are a bit technophobic so her figuring it out and calling me was huge to me.

We tinkered with the volume cause she couldn't hear me that well at first, but we know it's also her age that had something to do with that. She passed me on to my nephew Papi whom I teased and he got slightly miffed with me and my Mama and I had a good laugh about that.

I enjoy laughing with my Mama.

Heck, I enjoy laughing, period.

And I woke up today extra grateful for laughter. Thankful that there is laughter in my life. Humbled that God has blessed me with the unearned gift of imparting laughter to others. And yes, grateful even for the funny face He gave me, which I guess helps with the punch lines. :)

And you'd be so proud of me because this weekend, I actually have plans! All of which involve two of my favorite thngs in life: friends and food! We're covering dinner, brunch and afternoon tea, people. Get that dress with the garter belt ready, Mayang. Funny game face on!

Have a good one, friends!

(Photo credit: vaelya)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Power of Prayer


"The power of prayer is not in the one who prays, it is in the faithfulness of the One who hears." ~ Anonymous

(Photo credit: carf)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Desire

"God wants us. Jesus' language is spoken in a world in which God wants us. We are created by God for God. We are estranged from God and God is determined to win us back. God wants us as a lover wants the beloved. God insistently, relentlessly pursues a restored relationship with us. God seeks us. God is and has been seeking us long before we had any idea of seeking God.

Our relation with God begins with God speaking the first word. Before it ever occurs to us to speak to or even think of God. God speaks to us.

'Our God comes and does not keep silence' (Psalm 50:3). We don't come to God; God comes to us. We don't start the conversation; God starts it." ~ Eugene Peterson, Tell It Slant


I find that in my most intimate conversations with Christ, there are moments when I want to say something but I hesitate. Not because I don't know what to tell him but because I don't want to give power to the words and uttering them would make them all the more real and true. And I get choked up in tears keeping it all inside. Then I think of Him taking me in His arms. And while I am in His arms He whispers to my ear the one thing that will keep me going, and he says it with so much empathy and understanding that it hurts: "I know," He says. "I know."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Love is Open-Hearted, Demands Nothing, Needs Nothing


"It seems as if, the more we let go, the more we experience love. Love is beyond everything else - anxiety, desire, hope, resentment. Love is open-hearted, demands nothing, and needs nothing. It is more likely to visit when our desires are quiet, when we don't need or want much, and when we accept that everything we love is not permanent but is with us at this very moment." ~ Daniel Gottlieb

Everything we love is with us at this very moment. How comforting to my heart that is!

(Photo credit: carf)

Monday, March 21, 2011

It Finally Caught Up with Me

The fatigue.

The day I left for my trip to Mayon, I was sick with the flu and the cold. My sister Piglet was concerned about how I would cope up in the slopes in my condition. I brushed all worries and trepidation aside! "Not to worry, chicken curry!" I assured her as I overdosed on flu meds and vitamin C.

And for the duration of the trip and a whole five days after arriving back, I was alright. Ok, granted I still had the sniffles, but since I'm asthmatic and have a history of nasal discomforts, it all didn't seem out of the ordinary to me.

Last night though I fell sick and now I'm on medication. Ugh. It was like my body said "Ok, Mayang, enough excitement. I'm going to take all that adrenalin out of your system. Go rest and sleep now, ok? No more mind-over-matter bullshit. I'm taking charge."

So re-gigging the game plan: I'm going to listen to my body for a change and rest today.

(Photo credit: Raz0rwire)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Forgetfulness

On the way back to Singapore from the volcano trek and the swim with the whale sharks, I spent a few days in Manila for some family downtime and for cuddles from my nephews.

One morning, my Pa went off to seize the day while I vegged at home in pajamas. He came back half an hour later because he forgot his dentures. I was in the loft writing but I hollered hi to him while watching him enter the house and proceed to their bedroom. I was observing if he was miffed that he forgot. You see, for years after the first stroke, he would struggle to remember things and get terribly frustrated when he couldn't recall them, be it the name of someone he knew or a restaurant or even a local celebrity (Thank God our wonderful helpers are up-to-speed on celebrity names!).

I'm happy to report that he seemed unfazed by it. He took it in stride. It came across to me that he had accepted the fact that this was part of life, and given that, he adapts to it, manages it, copes with it the best way he knows how: He simply came back home to get it the minute he realized he left his dentures. No big deal.

I just love that. One day when I too start to forget, I'd like to have that kind of attitude too.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Butandings

"The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach - waiting for a gift from the sea." ~ Anne Morrow Lindbergh

The quote above pretty much summed up my whale shark adventure this past weekend.

There was a lot of waiting. Very similar to when we were spotting dolphins in Bohol a few years back. This time, I was more willing to wait. I felt that swimming with the whale sharks would be akin to grace - something awe-inspiring certainly, but undeserved. A kismet encounter.

My Singaporean friends were not so patient, but we kept our spirits up and we remained hopeful. I kept telling them when we had gone over an hour trying to spot the butandings that we only need one rendezvous with the world's biggest fish. That one would be more than enough.

Then, on our third attempt, the guide tells us to go dive into the water now and I surprised myself by being the first to jump in and swim like crazy towards where the guide was leading us. There was at first, only the sound of the current and my splashing. And then, silence. I suddenly found myself swimming half a meter above the spotted creature. It was massive. It took all my vision space. And it was so close I could just reach out and touch it. I remember catching my breath and holding it. I watched the length of it swim below me and dive deep. Then I raised my head above water, removed my goggles and exclaimed "Oh my God! That was amazing!"

And it was. Amazing grace, it was.

(Photo credit: WOW Philippines)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Majestic Mount Mayon


"There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul." ~ Victor Hugo

I'm writing this in Manila, after arriving from Legaspi from three days of trekking Mount Mayon and two days at Donsol to see some whale sharks before flying back to Singapore tomorrow.

As I mentioned before, it has been quite a while since I last went trekking. The last one was when I celebrated my 28th birthday at the top of Mount Kinabalu in Malaysia 12 years ago.

Needless to say, I had some concerns about not keeping up.

I was worried I would slow down the group. In mountain climbing, you are only as fast as your slowest climber. So when your trek leader/guide tells you the first leg will take two to three hours, what we do is check on how much time it takes for the whole group to get to the first stop so we can gauge how fast we can get to the summit.

Our group made it there in under one and a half hours, an excellent pace anyway you look at it.

So despite the occasional rains and the incessantly strong winds, we were in good spirits.

A backgrounder, this is the group of friends I used to climb with way-back-when. It was lovely to see them and it was a joyful surprise to easily get back into the banter we enjoyed from our trekking days. And as with any group of climbers, there is a lot of trust in this circle. I think trust is one of the things that you get to easily when you climb with others, especially when your terrain is somewhat precarious. It is always good to know friends have your back and on the mountain, that's taken both figuratively and literally!

We set up at Camp 1 and met some climbers from Denmark and their guide George who had created this particular route up Mount Mayon. The old route was on the other side of the volcano facing Legaspi City, but ours was a new one, which was in equal measure, more scenic and more treacherous than the old route. Its camp 2 is also higher than the 'summit' of the old trail, and the summit of the new route is by far, the closest ever to the volcano's crater. So far, only eight people have made it to the summit. We were endeavoring to be the first team from Singapore and between myself and Carol - be the first woman to scale it.

Seriously, I was just there for the trek. I am happy to report that my ego totally went missing on that mountain. I was just happy to climb, summit or no summit. It never even entered my mind to aim for some record. To climb was an end in itself.

Anyways, Day 2 of the trek had cold, overcast weather so our guide informed us that there would be no reaching the summit for us but we could climb to camp 2. We made it there in less than two hours and stayed there for a bit, both happy to be there and for some, sad that we wouldn't be going further than this.

We went back to Camp 1 and just hung around catching up and getting to know some of the climbers we had just met on this trek. By that afternoon though, my team had planned a second attempt to the summit the next morning if the weather permitted. I had declined to join them in the attempt. Even though I felt I could still physically make it, especially after the guide and my friends had complimented me on my speed (I get into a zen zone when I trek I guess), but my heart wasn't hung up on the summit.

Unfortunately, the weather really wasn't cooperating. By the morning of Day 3, we knew without saying a word that they wouldn't be climbing that day. So we trudged down.

The late Pope John Paul II was a trekker, and I understand why. It is a meeting up with God. Jesus went off to the hills to pray, and trekking gives us the same privilege of meeting our God. I had a lot of time with my thoughts on that volcano. There was constant conversation with Him. And He took such good care of me. In a million miniscule ways, He made sure I was light-footed as Hinds feet.

I will share with you one way He took care of me. I trekked wearing my running shoes because I wasn't able to break in my new trekking shoes in time. The thing with running shoes is that once they get wet, they stay wet, unlike trekking shoes that are designed to keep you dry at all times. So every time we would start to trek, I would pray that my shoes would stay dry. And they did. We never trekked in the rain, only with heavy clouds and howling winds, but not a drop of rain. When I was warm and cozy in my tent, the rain would pour, but never when we were trekking.

And I know that some people would attribute that to luck. Some people might even say I'm reading too much into it, giving too much meaning into things and circumstances that are random, unconnected and inconsequential.

Maybe it's my mustard seed faith, but I believe God made sure that my feet would stay dry so that I could trek comfortably. I believe God is so thoughtful towards me that He would grant this little request, show loving tenderness in that small, oh-so-kind gesture. I believe in a God who hears my prayers, even those uttered in the faintest whisper, He who intimately knows the pains and pleasures I keep in my heart. And I believe He gave me a love of trekking because it brings me closer to Him, if it were even possible to be closer to Him still. That I may reach out to Him whose one true desire is to be close to me.

(Photo credit: karl_beeney)

Friday, March 04, 2011

So True

"The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear." ~ Stephen King

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Being Still


"Without silence, words lose their meaning. Without listening, speaking no longer heals. Without distance, closeness cannot cure.” ~ Henri Nouwen


(Photo credit: DanielMitD)

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Wion

"A daughter is a day brightener and a heart warmer." ~ Anonymous

I chanced upon this shot on flickr and immediately smiled as I thought of my goddaughter, the Blueberry Girl.

It reminded me of a recorded conversation between her and her Dada where she says "The Lion and the mouse." But she pronounces it "Wion." There's another recording where they discuss who has the biggest nose where she laughs that precious laugh. Always makes me smile.

Adorable. Just adorable. She is pure sunshine, this Moon Child.

(Photo credit: monettenriquez)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

You, Yourself

"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection." ~ Siddhartha Gautama

I don't always get there, you know. Giving myself the love I deserve. But tonight after I showered and before I flossed and brushed my teeth, I looked in the mirror and saw the (funny) face God loves. And I smiled. And for a moment, I got there.

(Photo credit: monettenriquez)

Saturday, February 26, 2011