The site reminds me each time I’m on it that it’s been two years since my last post, one that was just a string of a few words that barely made a sentence. Two years. Life can change dramatically in a span of 730 days. What drove me to stop blogging here is not nearly irrelevant but needs its own entire section, so I’ll get to that when the time is right. I didn’t stop writing. I wrote mostly for work purposes, and I still managed to find some joy in it despite the lull that surrounded me. I’m slowly getting to a point where I can find balance in my life again.

As delicate as it may be, life gives us so many reasons to be bold and empowered in the way we live it. I’ve come to realize in the last year or so what it means to live each day exactly the way you want to, with your own purpose and vision to realize. I’ve learned not to be scared to say no, and I’ve also learned it’s okay to say yes. I’ve learned that I have just as many strengths as weaknesses, and I’ve also learned that I’m not completely robotic and cold. Man, can these eyes cry.

With so many things to say, I’ll leave it at this: the hiatus is finally over. Time to get up and get moving, or we’ll miss the train. It was like a balloon popping. One day I couldn’t, and the next day I could. I’m looking forward to finishing up the site update and beginning to write again about our adventures and failures, discoveries, and dreams as a family.

I hope to reach some of you, as many of you inspire me everyday.

Go eat a live frog.



Tackling the To-Do

I like lists.  I make at least three everyday.  At the very least.  Lesson plan for my toddlers.  A chore route for our meek 1000 sq. ft. apartment.  Things needing to be picked up at the store.  Creative projects for the day.  Household logistics that need to be taken care of.  What to do tomorrow or next week.  Community events for the month.  Wedding guest list.  Bills.  Etc.  Etc.  Etc.  I laugh at myself.  I use Notepad and Stickies.  Word, Excel, Wunderlist.  My iPhone. My iPad.  My iMac.  My Macbook.  Multiple pads of paper in different colors of varying sizes scattered all over my house…in the kitchen, in our bedroom, the living room, in my purse, on my work table.  I HAVE LISTS EVERYWHERE!!!

I suppose I write more bullet points than I can actually cross out.  Am I setting myself up for failure, or is it okay to dream large?

Here’s my solution for the obsessive and equally unsuccessful lister such as myself: just pick one.

One list to rule it all.

For the techie, list-taking apps might work best since the same lists may be accessible to most forms of technological device.  I can access all my lists via Wunderlist: on my phone, my computers, and my tablet.  I haven’t tried any other list apps out there, but the one I have works fine.

For the old-fashioned, try finding the best planner/organizer you can find for what you need.  I’ve been using Punctuate now for a few years, but it really lacks some things I’ve begun to need in my planning such as a budgeting section or meal planning calendar.  I’m on the course to designing and creating my own.  I’m listing all I would need in it!

Lastly, when writing daily to-do’s, try limiting lists to fewer tasks.  It’ll feel better having accomplished all out of your 10 to-do’s rather than 5 out of your 20.  And when you’ve finished your 10 and feel the urge to do more than what you’ve done, by all means, go ahead and be awesome at what you do!

Remember, trying to squeeze so much out of a day is great.  Just don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.

photo: jessicasimien.com
photo: jessicasimien.com

On Change, Part 2

It’s crippling.  And it definitely takes a lot for me to admit.  But it’s true.  I have an uncanny disability to stick to something.  I can’t stay on track.  I can’t finish many of the things I start.  I can’t deliver on personal endeavors.  I can’t give myself what I want.  How else can I say it?

The word Everything on a To-Do list on a dry erase board to remiLet’s extrapolate.  First off, I say most because that’s what I meant.  Most.  Not all.  Just many.  I also say personal endeavors because for some reason, if it’s for someone else, I have no problem producing.

I can’t finish that class I keep taking.  I can’t finish that family photo album I keep buying materials for.  I can’t finish that book I keep picking up only to put down.  I can’t finish that song I started to write so long ago.  I can’t finish sewing that dress I was supposed to wear for a special occasion last year.  I can’t finish so many things I think of that I haven’t even begun to produce.  I almost feel like I can’t finish even before I start.

So yeah.  It’s pretty crippling.  Am I juggling too many balls?  Wearing too many hats?

I guess it calls for some type of change, first of which should be learning how to say no.

Step 1: Say no.

Then, I suppose I can pick a project and not do any others until that one is done.

Step 2: Pick one.

Should I give myself a time limit as well?  Yeah.  I suppose I should.

Step 3: Set a time.

What next?  The hardest part then.  I suppose I should just stick to it.

Step 4: Stick to it, but don’t get stuck.

Let’s see how this one works out.  I’m trying to be as optimistic as I could, but there is a looming feeling of defeat and total laxness about it.  If I lose to myself, then it’s my loss.  Totally horrible sentence, but it’s true.  So…

Step 5: Be accountable.

I’ll tell you my personal projects as I go.  Maybe it’s easier to succeed if there’s an audience around.  I won’t add Step 6 on here just yet.  At least not until I finish one project.


In the World of Success

The intimidation I felt today was innocent, almost childlike.  Palms damp from overactive pores.  Body tingly from rabid nerve endings.  Pulse rate just a tad elevated from the anticipation.  I have to admit I was nervous in a way that I hadn’t felt in a while.

I was invited by a friend to attend her monthly business networking meeting.  I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’d never associated myself with anything “business,” at least not until I started my own not too long ago.  I constantly have to tell my brain, “You’re a business woman now, so start being business-savvy.”  The group’s morning chatter was all work and no play; it was deliberate and surprisingly light-hearted.  People were damn serious about what they did and genuinely interested in what I had to offer.  I was expected to stand and deliver a quick overview of my business, and as each well-dressed person spoke their spiel, I started growing smaller and smaller by the minute.  It was literally the round table of successful and established women, and somehow, I found myself in the middle surrounded by attorneys and health care professionals and financial advisors.

freelance_writer_during_the_day_tshirt-r4d61dac4c449472f843e94550102df59_8nhm8_324I sucked it up as I usually do.  “Hi.  My name is Jennifer, and I’m a freelance writer.”

I think it was pretty much met with equal awe and nonchalance, if that makes any sense.  Never mind dabbling into the web market bit of my business; I sat next to a pretty made web designer.  Goodness.  I don’t even have a writing degree.  Yeah.  I laughed at myself on the inside for a second.

Then I allowed myself to revel at the fact that I was there, surrounded by success.  Maybe success intimidates me a little.  Fear of success.  It boggles my mind.  Humbles me to the very core.  It was inspiring, motivating.  When you find yourself shadowed by the greats, take as much from it as you can.  Learn.  Allow yourself to be small.  All great things start that way.

So next month, I might find myself in the same meeting with a better sense of how much I can offer, which is really quite a bit.  I may have taken twenty business cards today, but I gave away just as much.  Who knows?  Maybe I made a lasting impression.  I guess I’ll find out when I get that phone call.

Photo courtesy of zazzle.com & brainleadersandlearners.com

On Change, Part 1

Do people change?

Not from wanting a certain type of car or switching a career in medicine to that of music.  I’m talking about a deep-rooted change, one that sits beneath the psyche.  A change that resonates and rattles the bones of one’s being.  Morals.  Values.  Core personal beliefs.  Your internal being.  Your inner self.  Can you really change?

Here’s to a journey in self-exploration in hopes of becoming a better person.  Stay tuned for Part 2.


Photo courtesy of callcentrehelper.com

Haiyan and Her Friends

It resonates deeply to the core of my being.  I’ve shed many useless tears from watching commercials on world hunger or YouTube videos on sick, parentless children.  If you’re a critic from the get-go, best you stop reading now because this is personal.  Like I said, it resonates deeply to the core of my being.

I’ve always believed that charity is personal.  We give to whatever feels close to heart, whatever tugs gently at the strings.  I can’t expect you to understand if you don’t know.  So let me introduce you to that which pulls at my heart like the moon gathers the tide.

Say hello to the Philippines.  The pearl of the orient.  A wonder of an archipelago.  A serendipitous collection of 7, 107 beautiful islands.  The Filipinos.  Fishermen and scholars alike.  Musicians and lovers.  Diligent and dedicated.  A people rich in tradition, culture, faith, and heart.  Whatever the Filipinos lack in anything, they make up for in the depth and intricacies of their heart and soul.  Passion.  They burn the fire within.  They are heroes to each other, silent and committed.  Their greatest pride?  Their unified and beating love for their country.

It’s heartbreaking to think that, in the course of a day, the country’s 96.7 million population declined by an estimate of over 10,000.  People are people.  It could’ve happened anywhere.  Majority of the world’s nations are still third world.  Resources are sparse.  Government infrastructures are weak.  Economies are corrupt.  People are impoverished.  Downtrodden.  Hopeless. What else is there to give?  What more can be taken away?  …But their souls.  Their hearts.  Their home…their greatest pride.

I lived yesterday.  I walked around with a relentless lump in my throat.  I cried, and I let myself do so freely because it simply hurt. I’m so saddened by the loss of all those people I don’t know, the ones who looked the same as I do.  I feel hopeless and helpless.  I cried for the little children crying for the things they could not understand, the families they lost.  I cried for parents who clasped their children’s fingertips as much as they could, only to lose them in the end.  I cried for all the scenarios I saw on television, repeating them over and over in my head as worst-case replays.  I saw myself as a little girl walking the same streets; I tried to imagine what I would’ve done or felt if I were there.  And I just couldn’t.

Most of us feel sorry.  And a lot of us will feel like there isn’t much to do.  But the truth is ever so obvious now.  THERE IS much to do.  So much.  Haiyan and her friends will just keep visiting us at different moments, different places.  Why is it that we can’t be more prepared?  What about Vietnam?

I write this for the place where I come from, for my family that still lives there, and for my neighbors who didn’t survive.  All of you are in our thoughts and minds and hearts.  Stay strong and be steadfast in your faith.  Help is here.

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
                                                      i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)
by e.e. cummings
[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
Featured photo courtesy of http://demo1.globescope.com//fpss/slideshows/myslideshow1/images/photo1.jpg

The Problem With Comfortable

We know how to do it.  We’ve heard the words.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Be bold.  Be brave.  Take the road less traveled by.

What are the signs that you’re comfortable?  Is it the same as settling?

I’ve been trying to launch a business for about 4 months now.  I have no business background, so I read whatever books I can find.  I watch videos, take online courses, follow people who have been successful.  I recently came across a free, downloadable application for iOS devices called Failure Games.  It basically gives you a platform where you can take risks, fail, and possibly learn.  The app poses daily challenges to get a person out of the coveted comfort zone, to take risks.  Daily challenges can go anywhere from taking a stranger out to lunch or telling jokes or something maybe a bit more serious.  You can then take a photo and put it up on social media, of course.  The app makers propose that learning how to survive from failure and being brave in that sense can help a person in his business ventures.  Ok.

It sounds really brilliant.  And tons of fun.

However, I think it’s really sad.  When did it happen?  When did we need a digital device to tell us how to do something different?  How to be brave?  I think all this does is give people a false sense of accomplishment.  “I did this challenge, YES!”  But then they turn around and encourage you to FAIL!  Why?  So you can learn from your failure.  What?

I believe the problem with comfortability is really not in getting out of it.  I believe it’s in initially recognizing that you are comfortable.  And it is scary once the realization surfaces.  How many of us have awaken with a feeling that what we’re doing in life isn’t enough?  Is it the ultimate life goal to be bigger, be bolder, reach for the stars?  Shouldn’t we all try to be better at everything we do?

I don’t quite know.  I can say yes.  Then I can also say no.

Being brave is a conscious response to fear.  Getting out of your comfort zone is a conscious response to indifference.  Recognizing your lacks and faults as a person, a daughter, a mother, a lover, a friend–is a conscious realization that you can be better and do better.  I can be a better person or a better daughter.  I can do better as a mother and as a friend.  I can be a better lover to my other half.  I can be a better business owner, a better student, a better teacher.  I can be better at anything I want to be better at.  That’s my conscious realization that there is no limit to being BETTER.

I downloaded that app because it’s a fun thing to do.  I wish they didn’t market it as a real solution to overcoming fear.  There are people out there who have serious, serious issues with fear–not just fear of failure but fear in general.  Fear is one of our most innate emotions as people.  It sits there, deeply rooted in our brains for specific reasons.  We are wired to respond with fear when we are faced with anything that can harm us.  Some fears are false.  Some are true.  That is really up to quick judgment some people don’t have.  Some people’s fight or flight responses are just not fast enough.  Give them a bit of time and internalization that maybe they are hanging around the comforts of home because they’re afraid to step out the front door.

Or maybe they just love to be at home.

It’s all gray matter to me.  I guess the app can be good practice, after all.

Anyway, I bid you a free-falling Thursday to do anything your heart feels is just right.  Be weightless.  Be fearless.  Be different.  Go travel the road less taken.  Do what’s in your heart and not what the device in your hand is telling you.  Just kidding.  If you want the app, go to http://www.appsumo.com.  It’s fun for all you thrill-seekers.