>> Monday, November 12, 2007

[Island Girl Prose Papers and Compass Paper Weight by My DigiStyle, Mabelle Rubia; Journal paper from Naturally, Retro Diva, Tracy Collins; Key Element from Gals Heritage Kit; Font Courier]


It doesn't interest me what you do for a living.
I want to know what you ache for,
and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart's longing.

It doesn't interest me how old you are.
I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool
for love,
for your dream,
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn't interest me what planets are squaring your moon.
I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow,
if you have been opened by life's betrayals
or have become shriveled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain,
mine or your own,
without moving to hide it
or fade it,
or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy,
mine or your own,
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful,
to be realistic,
to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn't interest me if the story you are telling me
is true
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself;
if you can bear the
accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul;
if you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it's not pretty,
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure,
yours and mine,
and still stand on the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,

It doesn't interest me
to know where you live or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up,
after the night of grief and despair,
weary and bruised to the bone,
and do what needs to be done to
feed the children.

It doesn't interest me who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the center of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you,
from the inside,
when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like the company you keep
in the empty moments.

- Mountaindreaming, from the book The Invitation


My cousin shared this poem from the book "The Invitation", by Oriah Mountain Dreamer. I had never heard of the book or the author before until today. The poem struck a chord and reverberates in my most innermost recesses. I was speechless, reading it shifted me into an introspective and pensive mood. It was like my soul was shouting out and clamoring to be set free. And me to question the "whys" I have not dared to answer or even seek.

I decided to look the author up on the internet and found her site (I'm sharing the link): http://www.oriahmountaindreamer.com/home.html

What I further read from the excerpts of the book (and these are just excerpts mind you, I have not read the book yet) have me questioning everything in my life at this point. "What do I ache for and do I dare to dream of meeting my heart's longing?" It has been such I long time since I even dared to feel what I ached for, oh yes, it is there. The longing buried deep under layers and layers of conformity and blending into the woodwork. Of being afraid to confront and be labeled mediocre. Where is my bravery? I am not brave, because I have not sought to know who I truly am and learned to accept what I may be or what I may become. The bud never blooming into the rose.

It is a brave soul to know and accept oneself. How many of us really know what we want? How long has it been since I have truly felt alive, empowered, purpose driven? We go on and on, lost in our so called encapsulated lives, forgetting what it is like to see the world like a child, without fear, without boundaries... full of questions and vivid imaginations.

My heart craves and yearns to be understood, to be accepted, to be loved. Without recriminations, without expectations, without despair. I do not want to be what is comfortable, nor do I want to be one who is just there. I want to give and feel good giving, I want to take and not be guilty taking. I want to laugh and run unfettered. I want to enjoy my children and not feel bad when I forget to be a child with them or to be the kind of mother you are told you should be but are not. I yearn to learn and discover, feel, create, nourish. To be me and cherished for being so.

And if I were to be true to myself, the line in the poem that cries out to me would be:

I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself;
if you can bear the
accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul;
if you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

This tears at me and rocks my core and so very describes everything...my inner turmoil and the questions of what ifs and whys, the causes and the potential effects. It is harder than it appears to be because the layers have become comfortable and have masked my true soul. I feel at a crossroad and afraid to dare to ache for anything yet knowing that I cannot hide from this.



>> Thursday, November 8, 2007

I just wanted to share these two new layouts I made. The first one I call "INTO THE BLUE", I love how I was able to make the picture black and white and yet retain the vividness of the blue ocean in the background. Paired the picture with a blue background to give the ocean a feeling of some kind of continuity...I was not sure though if I should have put those vintage photo frames but I kind of like the overall look. Thanks to onOne Software's PhotoPresets for Photoshop Lightroom by Jack Davis I was able to experiment with his presets and achieve that look for my picture!

My next layout is called "PROTECT", this is one layout with the kids during our family trip to Puerto Princessa in Palawan. We went to see the St. Paul's Subterranean River National Park. This park is inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage List, imagine that! I'm proud to have one of our parks in that list and glad to have seen and experienced it with my kids and family.

Here are some facts about the park:

The St Paul Mountain Range of limestone, and is a typical tropic karst area with sharp ridges, and rounded peaks called towers. It shows pinnacles, shafts, dolines and limestone cliffs. The principal feature of the park is an underground river, more than 8km long and known as the Subterranean River or St Paul Cave. The river flows underground for almost its entire length. Its spring is at an altitude of 100m asl, 2km southwest of Mount St. Paul. Soon it is swallowed by the cave and reappears at St. Paul's Bay, where it flows directly into the sea.

The fact that the underground river flows directly into the sea is rather special. It is called a submarine karst spring. The lower portion of the river is brackish and subject to tidal influences and thus a unique habitat. The biodiversity in the park is very high as it shows both, a full mountain to the sea ecosystem and a sweetwater to saltwater ecosystem, plus the troglobitic ecosystem of the underground river. Most submarine springs are only accessible by divers, this is one of the few such rivers which the general public can easily visit.

St Paul Cave is very impressive, with huge passages and enormous chambers. The biggest chamber is 120m wide and 60m high, the length is hard to define, as it is just a very wide section of the passage. St Paul Cave was known to local Batak people since ancient times. Estimated to be 16-20 million years old, the underground river traverses the network of caves and flows out to the sea.

I submitted this layout for the November Template Challenge at Digitalscrapbooking.org, Fluff Template by Teriann Hanks. Kit from Little Dreamer Designs, Stand Up Combo Kit.

I learned something new today about the cave we went to and was able to scrap about it for the kids to remember. Hope you love the layouts as much as I do.



>> Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I would like to share with everyone our yearly family Christmas Project. This project is very important to our family and is our means of saying "thank you" for the bountiful blessings we have received. We encourage anyone to participate and help bring a little joy to the less fortunate children this Christmas. Please do take the time to read our Christmas letter below:

If you have read this far, then I would like to thank you for taking the time to read the letter, just your reading it means a lot to me. Please do not hesitate to forward the letter to anyone who you may feel would be able to help our endeavor. We would just like to see the joy and smiles in the faces of the little children who will be receiving gifts this Christmas because your little donation of used clothes, home items etc. has made a difference.

Thank you so much.



>> Sunday, November 4, 2007

It's a lazy Sunday morning, I just want to lie in bed and sleep the day away, having slept at 2 AM playing (yes, PLAY!) with a layout I was experimenting with. But my computer is calling to me and hey I'm excited to play some more. Golly, sometimes I wonder and marvel at how our lives were so much more simple then, a lot more uncluttered. I love my computer and the internet and technology has opened up so much knowledge and information for anyone that chooses to use it as such but sometimes I can't help but wonder about the quality of life we lead nowadays. A lot of us have gadgets as appendages to our body, not literally connected, but somehow it feels that way because we have them with us all the time. Take for instance, my laptop, ever since I got my new MacBook last July I would be able to count the days on my ten fingers when it was not sitting on my lap. Given that my work puts me in front of the computer almost 8-10 hours a day, add to that the time I spend browsing blogs, ebay, the engaging Facebook, fashion sites and now scrapbooking sites and blogs..not to mention the actual process of creating layouts and trying to learn as you make them, PHEW! It's a wonder there never seems to be any time left at all.

Not only that, a lot of us never leave home without out digital cameras, our cellphones, our iPods and what have you. At home we have the TV constantly blaring, the kids with their eyes glued to the DS Lite or PSP, Playstation, X-Box or whatever tech toy we use. These seemingly harmless, must-haves in our lives have set the tone in our lives, not that these stuff aren't great but I somehow miss the days when playing meant going out into the garden or the roaming the village with your siblings, cousins, friends. Got a wooden stick or twig? We could play a very interesting game with it. Rubberbands and paper? Yeah, we loved that..boys versus girls in a mini battle of who can hit the other more with our paper pellets. We ran around more, fell down even more often, scraped our knees, our elbows...we tumbled and jumped and climbed trees and hung upside down..went on made-up adventures, explored..we were out of the house more often and we never complained we were "bored". That is the kind of childhood I would love my kids to have, but times have changed, we just can't let our kids roam the streets anymore unacompanied by an adult, there is this fear all the time that they be exposed to some unwanted element.

We fear so many things nowadays..don't eat that its not healthy, don't do this you'll break your bones, don't this and that because... All these fears we have come from the glut of information we see, hear and read about, we are a more informed society because of technology. It really is up to us how we use it. Convenient, yes. Amazing, definitely! But we must not be slaves to it, and I know it is so easy to say and sometimes so hard to do, but do it we must if we want our lives to be enriched by something that is also palpable and not experienced vicariously through others. Yes, I am guilty of being a slave to technology and gadgets and would love to be outdoors more often with my kids...so pinch me if you see me sitting with my laptop for too long :) I promise to be good.

Here are 2 layouts I created yesterday. The first layout was made for my bestfriend who just gave birth last October 10 to a beautiful baby boy - I'm the Godmother, woohooo! More than anything, I know what she's been through and I just want her to know that one day we will just "laugh" at how we went through all these things, I promise you!

The second layout was what I stayed up till 2 AM doing. I wanted to capture the fun my kids and their cousin were having in a very grungy, boy lay-out, I hope I was able to convey that feeling.

I'm shutting my computer down and taking my own advice. Have a great Sunday!



>> Friday, November 2, 2007

Today was scrapping day, hooray! I promised myself I would only scrap and scrap I did with the really gorgeous line and kits from MyDigiStyle. This is one designer whose lines are very close to my heart. I love the way she puts together all elements of a kit, her attention to detail, the colors..you know she comes from a place deep within that is good and generous. Best of all this girl is a fellow "Pinay" and I say hooray to that - we really should be proud of all our talented countrymen. Do check out her work, there is a link under SITES I LOVE to her site "MyDigiStyle".

I had been meaning to make a page layout for my mom and finally was able to do it today. Here is my finished product, don't you think mom was so beautiful in this picture? The picture was taken when she was still single and it is one of my favorites.

My second layout was inspired by these set of pictures I manage to copy from my brother's computer. The pictures are of my youngest son and they show him talking on the phone. I really love the photographs and how the light filtered into the room. This was taken during the time I was in the U.S. and mom had passed away. The kids were staying with my brother and his family at that time and the pictures show my son talking on the phone long-distance to me.

The third layout was inspired by a template from Kristin Tilley at DigiShopTalk Newsletter's November Inspiration Challenge, I wanted to try to use the Island Girl Line from MyDigiStyle using the template and came up with a layout using pictures of me and my sister during a trip to Boracay last July.

Hope you like them!



>> Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wooohoooo! I was allowed by the University I studied in to re-enroll. You see, I went back to check on which subjects I had left behind so I could finally...no make that FINALLY get my degree in Architecture. In the process of their evaluating my transcript, we found out they had issued an Honorable Dismissal because, after being away from school for 2 or so years, I had decided to go back to school and my mom agreed to help me but on the condition that I go to school in her University at her hometown. The papers were then all processed for the transfer and sent on their way to the new school which I never really attended.

The very helpful woman at the registrar told me I would not be accepted anymore because once given an Honorable Dismissal, you cannot go back. My heart plummeted and I was close to tears. I had so wanted to finally get this degree. So I had to talk to the Head Registrar and eventually was asked to write a letter of request to the Secretary General. I called their office yesterday with my heart racing, not knowing what to expect and was told that they had granted my request! Wooohoooo!!! (Imagine me jumping up and down with joy!!).

15 years later..I am finally going back to school to finish that degree. I have always believed it is never too late to do, be, or achieve anything. We choose our paths, and if the path we have chosen leads us astray we always can choose to lead ourselves out and onto another path. My mom used to be always proud of getting her license to practice pharmacy in the U.S. at a very late age, I believe she was in her late 40s at the time and she continued to work until her 60s until she could not anymore because her diabetes caused too many complications and she had finaly succumbed to it.

We are constantly evolving, constantly learning, constantly seeking. I hope to never loose that sense of wonder and to continually see humor in everything...love like a child, laugh unabandonedly, see beauty and hope in every thing.



>> Sunday, October 21, 2007

I got bitten. Roughly a month ago, I discovered "Digital Scrapbooking" and it unleashed that wondrously creative side of me that has been roaring to be let out..as in rawr!!!!! Most definitely that side of me is always there, from my love of anything "artsy" and eye for working a room's design, placement of things, even little things like how I bunch my accessories together, to making my own accessories, planning my garden, even my love for clothes (altering this and that to suit my taste), maybe even my love of cooking has it roots there. It has a history way baaaaack to when I was born a "leftie" har,har, har! But seriously, I remember during elementary days I loved art classes so much, anything to do with putting collages together, mixing colors, getting all glued up with bits and pieces..it was where I excelled at and it was what I enjoyed doing. I remember my paternal grandfather would always lovingly scold me for doodling at the back of my notebooks. And doodle I loved to do! I used to be able to even sketch the exact thing I was copying.

Gosh that seems so long ago. I haven't seriously doodled or drawn anything save for some stuff I have to draw for my kids school projects. I must be rusty, squeaky and "que horrror" dying to hide anything I draw right now. History did not even stop in Grade School, in High School I was awarded Artist of the Year during our graduation rites..I guess that was for contributing drawings for our school paper, how I got them fooled into thinking my drawings were great, well, I don't know...must be the innocence of youth :) Yet still, my history of loving anything connected to art or creativeness continued on to college where I took up Architecture, deigning to dream of building structures like Frank Lloyd Wright and other great designers at the time. College took me more than the usual 5 years it takes to finish that course and eventually I stopped a mere 10 subjects short of graduation (but of course that is another story to tell on another day ;) ) Went to work for a couple of design firms and tried my hand a freelancing.

So you see, before I became I corporate hag and tried my hands at entrepreneurship, I always had that creative blood coursing though me. I guess, I had put it to deep sleep because I was too busy doing so many other things. At the moment I am a WAHM (work-at-home-mom), and my work, sorry to say, is downright dull, tedious, and requires me to put in long hours in front of a computer doing medical related reports. No place to show your creativity there, because everything has to be precise.

So what a big JOY it was to discover that there was such a hobby as "Digital Scrapbooking" I am now officially hooked and take time to browse the sites, look at layouts for inspiration, read blogs and just marvel at the creativtiy of everyone in the community. Not to mention the friendliness and helpfulness of everyone, from giving out the most wonderful "freebies", to giving out "tutorials". The warmth and caring of the people out there is just overwhelming. Not only am I excited to scrap my memories but I am excited to be meeting so many wonderful people from all over the world!

Still a virtual newbie but so excited to learn..so bear with me if my Layouts are a bit too structured, hopefully in time I get the hand of this Photoshop and even learn to create my own kits, but for now, learning all I can about manipulating Photoshop so I can create great LOs are what's important to me. I'll try to post some LOs I've made (I'm also new to this blog thing and as you can see, my blog is bare..still do not know how to attach the header and other stuff, tee hee).

My apologies if I can't credit the owners of some of the papers, elements and alphas I am using, when I created them I was not aware of the TOUs so I did not jot down the designers names for proper credit. I will try to find time to look through my files so I can give credit where its due.

Below is a larger version of MY SCRAP GALLERY, each time I finish a layout, I upload it to the gallery so please keep checking this post to see larger versions of new layouts I have created.



>> Friday, September 21, 2007

I may not fit the bill of the average single person because I have kids and am in a domestic partnership with my boyfriend of now more than 4 years, but I am unmarried and in civil society still very much a single person. Time was when I longed so much to be part of a couple, that ever elusive partnership with someone who not only pulled at your heartstrings but also stood for the same values and principles you stood for and who shared the same passions you had for things, someone who just totally GOT you, and still loved you. Is this a tough call? Idealistic ramblings and visions of happily ever after later we find ourselves jolted and awakened and dazed. Does such a man exist? Am I hoping for too much or am I settling for less?

It has happened to me, and I see it happen to friends. The never ending quest for that one single person. Brokens hearts and buckets of tears later we come together and look back..whatever happened to that couple whom we so adored and hoped our man would turn out to be like the guy in that relationship? He seemed to adore the very air she breathed, showered her with romantic surprises only one truly in love could think of, they just seemed enviable every time we saw them. They are now uncoupled, relationship turned sour, sworn enemies. We could only shake our heads and wonder "what the heck happened?" Our dream couple turned to dust. What the hell was in store for us? We could only hope, with our battle-weary hearts that we not ever meet the same fate.

True, my relationship has outsurvived theirs, it may not be the same romantic, frilly one they had, but it is one that is steady, constant. We bicker, we make up, we connect and yet have totally different beliefs in others that drives me up the wall, maybe same as my other idiosyncracies drives him up the wall too. But its safe and he is a great person and its uber comfortable and I can let my hair down. But...there is always that little "but" niggling at the back of my mind, and I ask the same question again, is couplehood all that its made out to be or is it just a dream we are programed to believe in? What has happened to the fierce, adventure seeking, grab the bull by the horns person I used to be? Driven into submission and branded "domesticized".

I sometimes long for the life I used to have, living by myself with my kids and just being able to do what I want without anyone to consider except my children. It felt as if I were more empowered then. Is this what couplehood has made me feel? Why can't I be in a relationship and still keep my independence. Am I in the wrong relationship or are my expectations too high? This must be the curse of the "single girl for too long"...you get used to living according to what you are used to, and when someone else claims your space you feel like you are crowded in and choked because you now not only have yourself to think of, you also have to consider someone else in your life who has a different set of expectations out of the relationship and on you as a person.

Nice cozy, safe, relationship or fierce, independent single life? Do you return to singledom or will it be couplehood forever?


IS 40 THE NEW 30?

>> Thursday, September 20, 2007

As I approach my 40th year it feels as though nothing has really changed with how I feel on the inside. People nowadays say that 40 is the new 30, maybe because 40-year-olds of now, are looking hotter than ever. Maybe its propaganda made by the 40-year-olds. Times surely have changed so much, there was a time when if someone told me they were 40, I would have the image of a way older woman. Now that I am almost-40, I wonder, do others view me that way? I feel I still have the heart and soul of a 30-year-old. Full of that expectancy that life will deal you out with roses and not lemons. Sure, been there, done that, coupled with a lot of lifes crippling moments but that does not faze me from seeking out my share of the pot of gold. Why should it, we are all alike in the universe's scheme of things, some just know how to ask for it.

All in all my life has been blessed, things have a habit of resolving itself, of getting better after they have been worse and as I look back I should not be complaining of whatever I have been dealt with. My going 40 years have taught me to have a resilient heart an an even more resilient spirit, ever hopeful, always looking out for the joy I can find. Not such a big deal turning 40, not as big a deal as others make it out to be, we are stronger, fiercer, bolder and that makes us beautiful and attractive because we are more secure in what we have. In this day and age, when 50 years olds act like they are 30 and 20 year olds act way older than their years, the divide has come to a close, we all just want the same thing, security, love and to live life without the boundaries of the past. Do I feel any different from when I was 30? Maybe experience-wise yes, but that hope is still there, the dreams are still burning, I still want to have it all.



>> Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I was just browsing some really great blogs and thought to myself, why not? I have always been hesitant to blog, somehow the idea of my thoughts being read by other people freaks me out, but then again, why not?

This is pretty new to me, well..not really. I used to love keeping diaries as a kid and as I grew up I would fill in thoughts about things that had mattered to me at that moment. I has been a good 5 or more years since since I attempted to write anything down. Life had caught up with me...career, home, kids, love... struggling with everyday mundane activities. I've buried who I really am, and what I really want to do. And now it seems vestiges of that person is trying to break loose.

So here I am, my first blog, I wanted to blog about a specific subject but I really can't stick to one subject, so lets just go with the flow. Tell me what it was like for you to blog for the first time? maybe that will help me get over my "bloggophobia" Hmmm..can I add that to wikipedia?

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About This Blog

All about me, my musings, ramblings, fancies, quirks and dreams; the blessings in my life - the kids and their growing years; and my love for digital scrapbooking/design and graphic arts; and my eternal quest to keep learning something new each day and give back in my little way.

This blog used to be 3 blogs which I decided to merge together, my scrapping blog (Pandoras Box of Thought), the blog about my kids (Beyond the Four Walls) and my cooking/recipe blog (Cooking Mama) - all the old posts are still up but I've decided to just post everything in the future in one forum, with all the things I'm doing, I'd like to keep everything in one neat container :)

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