Archive | postaweek2011 RSS feed for this section

The Color Purple

28 Jul

Whew. Getting back on the boat after falling into the water can be difficult, especially if the waves have pushed you farther and farther away from the shore. Or more specifically, it’s quite a challenge to get back on the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenges when Real Life’s duties and demands have taken one away from one’s computer long enough to make one fall back by about 7 challenges. Yikes!

But there’s only one thing to do when one falls off a boat, and that’s to swim like heck and try to get back on.

So this is me, trying to get back on, and promising that I’m going to row through all the challenges I’ve missed too! (Tie me to the chair and insist on it if I don’t!)

For this week, the challenge was truly challenging with Purple as its theme. First of all, I don’t really like the color purple (the color itself, not the movie). No offense meant to those who do love it; in fact, it happens to be the favorite color of my mother-in-law whom I hold very dear to my heart. Personally, I prefer the more “boring” shades of white, browns, and blues. But I digress…

Luckily, just yesterday, a few hours before I sat down by my computer and checked out this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, I happened to pass by a Filipino restaurant and couldn’t resist buying Guinataan, which is a Filipino dish whose name comes from the word gata, which is Filipino for coconut milk. (I love anything that has coconut milk!).

Guinataan is a dessert made with fruits (large bananas and jackfruit are musts), glutinous rice flour, sago or tapioca pearls, root crops (gabi or taro, kamote or sweet potatoes, ube or purple yam—add loads of it and you get the purple color), all mixed in with sugar and that heavenly coconut milk. Served hot on a rainy day, it’s the perfect comfort food (perfectly fattening too, I fear).

Voila! Comfort food, and purple one at that, left me with no further excuse for not getting back on track with the challenges.

And so, here we go:

{ Click on the image for a larger view }

Do you know how difficult it is to find a song that isn’t Purple Rain? 😆 But I did find one! From the original soundtrack of the Broadway musical Spring Awakening by Duncan Sheik, here’s The Song of Purple Summer:

With lyrics that go:

A summer’s day
a mother sings
a song of purple summer
through the heart of everything
and heaven waits
so close it seems
to show her child the wonders
of a world beyond her dreams…

I do think the message of hope and wonder is beautiful, and that makes the completion of this Purple challenge a joy for me. 🙂

Have a purple-summer-wonder-filled day, my dear friends! I’ll see you soon! 🙂

Here Comes the Sun!

25 Apr

And with this, I’m all caught up with the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenges! YAY!

[ Click on the image for a larger view]

I have to confess that while I was preparing to post this photo here, I had only this one melody playing over and over in the background of my mind:

Well, my sweet friends, may your day be filled with bright sunshine and great blessings, and may we all be the light that shines for others! xox

Journey… Arranged. ;)

24 Apr

I am thrilled to find that I am finally getting checks on my backlogged to-do list! (Not everything is checked, but hey, it’s the journey that matters, and I’m getting there, right?) 😆

So here I am, catching up on two WordPress Weekly Photo Challenges that I missed in the past. (Somehow the ne’er-give-up part of me has been whispering “Better late than never” so I just had to get these two challenges done, even if they happen to be long overdue).

The Journey

First, because life is a journey for all of us, here’s my take on the Journey theme:

[ Click on the image to get a larger view]

Would you agree that we all have the same goal at the very end of life (which, I would say, is to have lived a life worth living, one in which we were able to leave the world a better place than when we first came into it)? Yet, although there is one end that we all journey toward, there are different paths to lead each of us there… or not. And isn’t it precisely that “or not” that encourages us to use our wisdom, our talents, and our faith to choose the right path to get to the right destination? And then, yes, to travel that path and to make the journey in the best possible way we can (not according to any person’s criteria, but according to that of our conscience and our faith). Ah. The journey called life. It’s awesome, is it not?

Arranged

As a mom of five, I am a big advocate of order (especially when it comes to getting my kids to pack away their toys. 😆 ).

Seriously, though, I do believe order is essential. One needs only to look at the world around us to see that what is most pleasing to the senses is that in which order reigns (cadences and chords in music, flowers swaying in the field, the rising and setting of the sun, even the way dappled sunlight falls on the leaves of trees). Even the account of Creation as recorded in Genesis reflects order. Amazing, no?

Too, seventeen years of teaching have given me enough evidence to agree with child specialists who proclaim that children naturally seek order in their lives (which is why I understand that it is not only good but necessary for us to set boundaries according to a child’s maturity and capabilities as he grows, with the objective of course of ensuring not that he will rely on us and our judgment forever, but that he will one day be strong enough and wise enough to let go of our hand and venture out on his own :)).

Speaking of children and order leads me then to my take on the Arranged theme for WordPress’ Photo of the Week Challenge:

[ Click on the image to get a larger view]

Even little plastic men feel the need for order imposed by my sons’ hands. <teehee>

And of course, I could not resist leaving you with an old but nevertheless wonderful song to go with this post:

And a question for you too: Of all the journeys you’ve taken in life, what is the one that you will never forget?

Two.

17 Apr

Two is for the number of weeks that I’ve been getting less than 4 hours of sleep, working on ten million and one projects, all at the same time. (Could life get any better? 😆 ). Two is also the number of WordPress Photo of the Week Challenges that I have missed and need to catch up on.

And two is the theme of this week’s WordPress Photo of the Week challenge (and thankfully, I’ve managed to grab the time to get back on track).

The challenge prompt for this week was:

Two Subjects. This “theme” is more of a composition challenge. In the picture above, there are actually two subjects – one in the foreground (the cup), and one in the background (the dog) – both are essential parts of the picture and they each contribute something differently to the photo. Share a picture with TWO SUBJECTS! 

[ If you want to see the cup and the dog in the prompt photo, you can see it here ].

I am always delighted when the theme for a challenge is open to a million different interpretations. I am also delighted by sunrises, snowballs, delicious pairs of boots (note the plural form 😉 ), children’s laughter, my camera, and my computer… and above all, I am delighted by love in all its myriad manifestations.

Which brings me to my interpretation of this week’s challenge:

[ Click on the photo to see it in full size ]

My sweet nephew and his darling girlfriend have decided to tie the knot next year, and he got her the ring to seal the deal! (About time too, Joey! ;)). Ah, youth and love. *sigh & swoon* What a delight.

And delight is this song, too, which is, quite literally, perfect:

My Perfect Two is of course my hubby and me (which over the years morphed into the Perfect Seven = one girl, me, and six men… or boys, as the case may be :grin:). Still another Perfect Two of mine are my camera and my computer. Oh, and my coffee and my biscotti too!

What’s your Perfect Two?

Yes, Yep and Yeah!

25 Mar

Wouldn’t it be great if every day every single thing went exactly the way we wished it to, with bright sunshine and happy flowers and smiles on the faces of everyone we happen to pass by on our way? If there were no more fighting, no more wars, no more killing and no more suffering? (And while we’re at it, no more traffic too? heehee).

But then life’s not always like that. Not every day is perfect. Sometimes it doesn’t just rain, it pours. Sometimes no matter how we try our best to control the variables, things don’t go exactly the way we planned. Sometimes even the best intentions fail.

But you know what? It’s okay. It’s fine. That’s life, after all. This is Planet Earth, not Heaven, and struggles and obstacles and setbacks are part of what gives us the strength, the will, even the ammunition to get to that final destination. That is, as long as we hold on to that great don’t-leave-home-without-it essential, Hope.

Yup, that wonderful thing that keeps us going even when the going gets tough. That thing that pushes us back on our feet after we’ve slipped and fallen the 53rd time. That thing that puts a smile on our face, determination in our heart, and a spring in our step.

Methinks it’s really all in the attitude, and if there’s one thing that life has taught me, it’s that the attitude that wins is one that overflows with optimism even in the face of defeat. Kind of like being able to  peer beyond the lightning and thunder and know that there’s a rainbow that lies behind. Kind of like choosing to laugh instead of weep. Kind of like electing to say Yes, yep and yeah instead of No, no way, never again, ever.

Because it is a choice, isn’t it?

As always and in all things, we have a choice. We can throw our hands up in despair, moan groan and wail, gnash our teeth and bang our heads on the table. Or we can smile, dust off the backseat of our pants, and start walking again along the path, grateful for whatever lessons that baptism of fire might have handed us.

I ‘m guessing we all know which choice leads to the path of happiness. 😉

Which brings me to my interpretation of THROUGH, which is the latest WordPress Photo of the Week challenge theme:

(And speaking of the best viewpoints through which to view life, I’m pretty certain there’s a silent—if coincidental—message written between the lines in the image above. After all, that “peephole” in the image above happens to be the back of a chair found in the Happiest Place on Earth 😉 ).

Positivity. It’s a great attitude to have, isn’t it?

Suede agrees:

And so, as the Irish blessing goes:

May a rainbow run beside you in a sky that’s always blue.
And may happiness fill your heart each day your whole life through.

And may the birds sing for you today, too, my dear darling friends!

What Albert Einstein Was

23 Mar

… aside from being a genius—and perhaps this even served as the stimulus for his being one—was incredibly curious. He said so himself:

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.
~ Albert Einstein

I grew up hearing the old adage, Curiosity killed the cat. But I think now that this might hold true only for things that (cough, cough) one perhaps has no business being curious about. But curiosity, in and of itself, is I believe a wonderful thing. For doesn’t every amazing quest for knowledge begin with a questioning mind?

A big part of curiosity is wanting to see beyond the surface, searching for the unusual in the commonplace, seeking the extraordinary in the ordinary. (And funnily, at the end of that road is often the discovery of miracles that, far from being rare and few and far between, are actually unfolding every day right under our noses, if we but choose to really see).

All of which brings us to my contribution to this week’s WordPress Photo of the Week challenge, with the theme Unusual:

{ Click on the image for a larger view}

Edward Weston said, Anything that excites me for any reason, I will photograph; not searching for unusual subject matter, but making the commonplace unusual.

I love that. I have always been a firm believer in searching for the special qualities that lie underneath what we otherwise take for granted as ordinary and mundane.

What does the image above look like to you? To me, it looked like some alien creature’s double-tongue helping itself to a taste of tree sap. What it actually is: sliced strawberries surrounded by crystallized and caramelized sugar. Unusual-looking but really just your usual everyday stuff that goes by the name dessert. Ordinary yet extraordinary. (Awesome tasting, too! :D)

So to my dear extra-special friends, here’s to an incredibly extraordinary day filled with curiosity that brings happy surprises to your doorstep!

Of Dark and Light

13 Mar

I have always thought that there is beauty in difference. In contrast. In a juxtaposition of opposites. Chiaroscuro. Light-Dark. Laughter and tears. Somehow the knowledge and comprehension of one seems incomplete without the other.

Take, for instance, the most magical tapestry that hangs on the walls of castles: would our eyes have the chance to behold such stunning beauty without the crisscrossing of threads at the back?

But the key behind the beauty of opposites, I think, is not simply that both exist but that they do so in a peaceful manner, in a way that brings out the intrinsic and individual qualities of each. Kinda like Venus and Mars, no? 🙂

And this is why I particularly enjoyed this week’s theme for the WordPress Photo of the Week: Contrast.

Here’s my take on it:

{Click on the image for a larger view}

And this is where I have to admit that I couldn’t look at this photo without feeling the urge to hum along with Howie Day’s Collide:

Hope you have a wonderful week filled with bright days and magical nights, my sweet friends!

Beauty and Distortion

5 Mar

Quick! When you hear the word “distorted,” what’s the first thing you think of?

Something twisted? Something misshapen? Something that looks like itself but with a quality that makes you a bit uneasy, precisely because it’s not supposed to be there, because it kind of breaks the flow of what would otherwise seem perfect?

The dictionary defines distortion in many different ways: to force or put out of the true posture or direction; to twist out of natural or regular shape; a crookedness. Some distortion can be jarring and uncomfortable, even disturbing (I’m thinking, specifically, of truths that are distorted, for instance—when reality or facts are twisted in order to suit one’s motives). But there are also distortions that can be natural (like that which is the result of refraction of light, as when a perfectly straight straw in a glass seems bent out of shape). And then there are “distortions” that can actually be beautiful, such as the fluidity and flexibility of the bodies of the acrobats in Cirque du Soleil.

Case in point: (Okay, so this is not an acrobat, but I swear I actually saw an amazing acrobat in this exact position when we watched Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai last year):

{ Click on the image to view it at full size }

Beautiful, no? (Thank you, Ms. Cat of my dear friend Jes, for that amazing pose).

Speaking of beauty, I do agree with Charles Beaudelaire, a French poet, who said:

That which is not slightly distorted lacks sensible appeal; from which it follows that irregularity—that is to say, the unexpected, surprise and astonishment—are an essential part and characteristic of beauty.

And here’s Mandisa, who has a great song about what true beauty is all about:

I hope your day is filled with true beauty, dear friends!

Shifting Views

22 Feb

I love windows. My home is filled with them. I love that they let light in, and I love even more that they allow me to look out, up, and down.

To me, windows—and the views they allow—are a great metaphor for wisdom. If we look, and look well; if we look and take in different views, odds are we’ll eventually find the answers we’re seeking. Only when one is able to see things from different angles can complete understanding, often even true wisdom, walk in.

Speaking of wisdom, one of the wisest things I’ve learned came from one of my past relationships in my late-teens / early-twenties (yeah, that time when you think you’re an adult but you’re not really there yet, so there’s still a spattering of angst and a tendency to brood over things that don’t quite go the way you want them; that kind of thing 🙄 ). I don’t even remember what I was moping about, but the lesson I have kept well and have practiced all the time since, and it is one I have passed on to my kids:

When things don’t go the way you want them to, or something makes you frustrated / depressed / angry et cetera, ask yourself this question:

Can I do something about it?

If  the answer to that is Yes, then go do it. If the answer to that is No, then laugh. That’s right: laugh! You can’t do anything about it anyway, so you might as well keep your sense of humor and get on with the rest of the business of living… of living a happy, good life. Right?

We can be down, honey, but we’ll never be out. 😉

Which brings me to the WordPress Photo of the Week theme (Down) and my take on it:

And extolling the wonders of looking at the world from a different viewpoint, here’s Jack Johnson:

I want to turn the whole thing upside down
I’ll find the things they say just can’t be found
I’ll share this love I find with everyone…

Have a wonderful day loaded with amazing sights and views, and much love too, my friends!

{No} Regrets

13 Feb

When you think of regrets–that is, if you have any–what is the first thing that comes to mind? Love (unrequited, lost, or still unknown)? Words (spoken or left unspoken)? Decisions (made hastily or not made early enough or not made at all)?

In case you’re wondering why I’m suddenly wondering about this, you can put the blame on WordPress’s Photo Challenge for the Week (I say this tongue in cheek, of course :)).

The theme, no surprises here, is Regret… and I have to admit it was kind of difficult to think of a way to interpret regret visually (especially since I don’t really make a habit of whipping out my camera and capturing someone caught in a moment of remorse… it somehow feels too invasive, if you know what I mean).

Also, I must confess to a certain discomfort with clicking the shutter and freezing a moment loaded with sorrow (for doesn’t regret always bring sorrow along in its wake?). While I do think that most, if not all, of us have had at least one regret, huge or miniscule, in this life, I also personally believe that these pangs of grief must be long in wisdom and short in memory. In other words (yes, the very ones which I often use to counsel my sons), learn the lesson that pain brings in its wake then move on. Perhaps that’s a natural offshoot of my firm belief that negativity and wallowing in gloom are a waste of energy. 🙂

Which, I hope, explains my interpretation of this week’s challenge:

And here’s a song (from the new, proudly Filipino-made musical: The Ateneo-La Salle Rivalry) that demonstrates how it is possible to go through regret and pain and still come out of it full of hope and optimism.

PS. I just saw Mamma Mia with the hubs and our two older boys yesterday, and we enjoyed it a lot (was especially thrilled when the stage actress performing the role of Donna said “Mabuhay, Manila!” during the encore <heehee> ). Next on the “Want to Watch” list is this musical for which the song above was written and composed.

For my friends who are not from this side of the world, Ateneo (de Manila) and La Salle are two of the all-boys schools that are institutions almost as old as the mountains and seas of this country. I don’t know too many people who cannot claim a connection to either one of the schools, often even both, either from generations past or present. To wit: my dad studied at the Ateneo for grade school and high school then went to De La Salle for university. My brothers went to La Salle for grade school and high school. Two of my sisters went to Ateneo for university. My husband (and his brothers) went to the Ateneo. My two older sons are Ateneans. I have a niece at the Ateneo university and another niece at De La Salle.  And that’s just family… the list goes on and on. See what I mean? Haha!

So the Ateneo-La Salle connection is truly something that many in my country can relate to. I certainly can and am thinking that seeing this musical is very much a “must.” After watching “The Making of Rivalry” my interest in seeing the musical grew even greater! Here it is:

Have a happy week ahead filled with loads of happiness, wonderful music, and absolutely no regrets!

%d bloggers like this: