Thursday, March 24, 2011

Blooms And Colors

It was such a gorgeous day today with sunshine and very comfortable temperature in the mid 50's. Although it rained early this evening, nature is beginning to come alive as spring-like weather of sunshine and temperatures in the 50's slowly makes inroads into our lives. Before we know it the tulips will be popping up and spring will be in the air! I can't wait. There is no better time to get outside and get moving again. I have always loved Spring, heck, doesn’t everyone? I look forward to the month of April knowing that I will once again be able to hear the songs of birds, the croaking of the frogs in the pond, the whispered melodies that the flowers sing as they burst with colors reaching up to the open sky. And yes, the flowers blooming in the yard!

I went outside to take some photos this afternoon after I got home from the work. I was so amazed to realize that flowers are already starting to bloom in the yard. Take a moment and enjoy this beautiful bloom and colors I captured, a living witness that spring is on its way.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Health And Happiness

I considered myself blessed to be working for a company that really cares for its employees. I am a firm believer that money is not everything in this life. One of the areas that the company is passionate about is the health and well-being of its employees. Each year the company is looking for ways to help its employees live happier and healthier lives. In support of the company's program this year, I signed up in the annual "Eat Well, Live Well" Challenge that runs for eight weeks and started last March 20 and Ends in May 8. We are composed of different teams. We will monitor our progress every day. As participant to this challenge, we will try to live the 4 principles to stay healthy and lower blood pressure. These principles are:
1. Strive for five (5) cups of fruits and vegetables. Fruits, veggies and beans lower blood pressure because of the nutrients they contain (plant protein, vitamins and minerals, like potassium). They are naturally low in calories, saturated fat and sodium.

2. Get moving. You can cut your risk of high blood pressure by 20-50%. Aim for at least 10,000 steps per day or 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity beyond your usual daily routine. It's fine to break the 30 minutes into smaller chunks through the day. You may think 10,000 steps is a lot but today I actually made 11,133 steps just by taking the stairs instead of the elevator in going to the office, walking (instead of driving) from the house to the drugstore 2 blocks away. These and my usual routine adds to 11, 133 steps!

3. Calories count, so watch your portion. It's about taking in fewer calories than you burn. Finding ways to trick yourself into eating less could be as simple as using a 10-inch plate or similar slimmer dinnerware. Studies have shown that people who switch from a 12-inch to a 10-inch dinner plate tend to serve and eat 22% fewer calories.

4. Measure your progress. If you don't know what your blood pressure is, you won't know where you stand. High blood pressure can cause great harm: heart attacks, strokes, kidney and eye damage and even dementia. Know your numbers by checking your blood pressure regularly.

These principles are everyday tips to all of us (employees) to stay healthy, including lowering blood pressure. We think of these principles, along with moderate sodium and alcohol use, as the basic habits that can lower blood pressure over the long haul. These strategies can improve our health in several other ways.

Having no time to plan for healthy family meals, we sometimes have the tendency to go the easy way--the microwave ready foods, or fast-food restaurants.

Being aware of the impact of having healthy lifestyle to our happiness, is a good start. As for me, I am up for the challenge. I am sharing this to challenge you too...

I wish you all a healthy life!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Positive Selfishness

These couple of days I found myself introspective about many things. One of those thoughts that I want to share today is about the question that has been hanging above my head. Why is it that we don't do the things we know are good for us? Why are we so busy taking care of others that we neglect ourselves?

Is it being selfish to care of ourselves, not running around filling others' lamps with oil, thus forgetting to fill our own lamps first? Selfish. A loaded word. Nobody wants to be thought of as selfish. But if taking care of our personal well-being is selfishness, then count me as one. Here are 5 ways I think that I can be selfish but actually serves my love ones and all those around me:

1. Service. There is a saying that goes, "you cannot give what you don't have". When I am exhausted how much good can I am to others? When I make sure that my own needs are met, I believed I am more equipped to take care of the needs of others.

2. Recharge. When I take time to do things I enjoy, I become more effective. Recharging makes me more clear-headed and effective in life. I'd like to suggest for you to read Stephen Covey's 7th Habit, Sharpen The Saw. It's a very enriching read.

3. Inspiration. I believe that being an example is a powerful thing. When we live what we preach, we inspire others to do the same. At work I always tell people that having a record of habitual tardiness will not be a good mark comes evaluation time...In 2010, I only have one 5 minute late and no absent from work.

4. Growth. When I put my own needs and responsibilities ahead of those who depend so much on me like my daughters, I also give them a priceless gift---self-reliance. The more they are independent, the more they become resilient and ultimately they grow.

5. Understanding. When I really take time and efforts to do things to enrich me as a person, I understand when others do it too. I don't get angry or annoyed when someone take steps to take care for themselves because I understand the importance of such actions..
It's easy to get caught up in the many concerns of our professional and family life, and lose sight of the fact that we're also responsible for our own happiness and well-being. As for me, I know that if I have to be a light that can brighten the room, I have to make sure my lampshade is good enough.

At least that's the challenge I put in front of me everyday...

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Changes

There is a saying that goes “the only constant in life is change.” It is an essential part of life everywhere. We learned to get out of our warm, fuzzy comfort zone and sometimes take zealous adjustments as necessary trade-offs for change. According to Lewis Gizzard, life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.

Change comes in different shapes and sizes and affects us in making decisions in life. When I was in college I dreamed of working in an Advertising Agency and eventually have my own advertising agency. But right after graduation, my personal life went through changes and I ended working in the bank. Some things change as fast as we can blink an eye. Some things change quickly that you can almost get whiplash. It feels like it was just few months ago I had a PC with 512MB’s of space and I thought it was all that and more. Now I have 650GB’s laptop and still run out of space. To the hopeful change is encouraging because things may get better; to the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make a room for growth…

The last sentence describes best my feelings when I decided to change the title of this site. I consider even the smallest change like this as an opportunity to grow. I want to take my blogging to the next level. Not just a place to write when I am bored or have nothing to do. I want it to be a place where I can hone my ability to write, to discover and express my artistic side.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Creating Precious Moments

As more years added to our age, we don't only grow in number but we also grow in wisdom, at least as far as I am speaking for myself.

I see life in a different perspective and as a result I came to appreciate myself and enjoy life even more. I have been in constant search for true happiness just like any other normal human. And in the process I learned to discover my strength and weaknesses and learned to look at the positive side of my being.

my body -- I love it regardless of size or shape. It's perfect as it is.
my heart -- I allow it to lead me towards my best--- my truth. Where I am most happy and feel most at home
my soul  -- I set it free and let it shine . I am proud of who I am deep inside.
my mind--I let it expand and stay open to the endless possibilities of life. I enrich it more by acquiring more knowledge through reading, research and interaction with people.
One of my secrets in staying young is maintaining a positive outlook in life and believing that no matter how bad the circumstances I am in, they too will pass. I focus on what I love-- I remember those times when I felt joy and relive those moments. I love taking photos. I am a hopeless romantic. I love holding hands while lying in the sand, dream about the future while looking at the stars. My family and friends are my treasures. My grandchild and my daughters are the most precious gifts God has given me. Moments I get to spend with them are priceless...
It's always easy to choose to be happy. I don't count the things that are missing in my life, God has blessed me with so much to be grateful for.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Tips That Worked

I got an email from my bestfriend that her US Visa application has been approved and she'll be coming here in April. It is really a very exciting news for us because she has applied two times in the past and she was denied twice also. She said my tips really works!

To start with, getting a Visa to get to the US is very hard. Some have applied for the nth time and they are still waiting, not even knowing if that chance would ever come. Luckily for me and my two girls, it was a combination of answered prayer and being prepared to come here. I had my multiple entry visa before we came here for good three years ago.

Through experience here are some of the tips I can share with those who are planning to apply for a US Visa:

1. Be ready...mentally and financially. Especially if you are applying for a tourist visa. One important thing you need to know is that, the consul has to make sure you are going to come back and not stay as illegal aliens and be a burden when you get to the US. It's not enough that you can afford or support yourself when you are in the US. You also have to prove that you have all the intentions of coming back home--Family ties, financial, business or professional ties are good examples of those reasons.

2. Honesty is the best policy...Make sure that all the information you gave in your application are true and they are properly supported by documents. Every information you provided will be scrutinized and it will be to your advantage if you are honest right from the start...Providing false information will cause you to be banned from entering the US for life. I knew somebody who already got to the US, married her fiance, but through the process the USCIS found they falsify one document and she was sent back home and banned for life. When her husband was diagnosed of cancer and had to go back to the US for treatment and died after few months, she was not even allowed to come as tourist. Very tragic.

3. BE an early bird...go to the embassy as early as you can. If your schedule for interview is at 8:00AM, make sure to be at the embassy at least 2 hours before your interview. This way you will have time to relax and prepare yourself so that you will not be nervous when you come face to face with the consul. Sometimes when we are nervous, even simple questions seem so hard to answer.

4. During the interview, just relax and make an eye contact with the consul interviewing you. Be polite and answer the questions as straightforward as you can, knowing that you have nothing to be scared of or nervous when you have provided accurate information about yourself and you are telling the truth.

These are the most important points that I can share with you. It worked for me and my daughters and with my friend too. You can make yourself more prepared by doing research. Nothing is more helpful to you than making yourself ready for what you are going into. The rest will just be a process that you will have to go through.

God bless you in your application and hope this will help you in someway...