Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A Bucket Full of Thanks


The end of the year calls for self-reflection. It’s time to check my two buckets.

My Bucket of Thanks for 2014 reminds me of how lucky I am. With God’s loving mercy, I have triumphed over the challenges in my life. All I have to do is to reach inside the simple little bucket of blessings. Some of those blessings were unexpected gifts from above; some dreams came true due to hard work and sometimes luck. In this last day of 2014, my bucket of thanks gives me hope for the future.



Thank you to my family for your unconditional love. Thank you for my mom, my sister Bheng, my brothers and their wives, my nieces and nephew, and my extended family. I was not able to come home to the family reunion when my sister Bheng went home to the Philippines last July 2014. I lived vicariously in nostalgic remembrance at all the pictures of my mom, brothers and their families, my aunts and cousins with their Hawaiian-themed reunion.



Thank you for my son Jordan for making me a proud mom. He had spared me from any major drama as a teenager. This year, he graduated from college with a double degree and cumlaude honors. He finally entered the work world at Rockefeller University. He is my own little Bill Nye, my own research scientist, but definitely handsomer and funnier.



Thank you that our dog Boomer can resume waiting by the window for our return home. He gave us a bit of a scare when he went missing overnight, lured by an open backyard gate. Thank you for the good Samaritan who dropped him off at a shelter.



Thank you for the privilege to witness the Centennial celebration of the Church of Christ (Iglesia ni Cristo). The magnificence and grandeur of the church was manifested for all to see. The INC had established magnificent houses of worship in more than 100 countries all over the world.



Thank you for the chance to start on a new journey as a student in the Doctor of Nursing Practice in Educational Leadership program. The trip to Colorado was the start for the 2-year challenge. I am thankful that I have a wonderful cohort of friends to share the pains and joys before we don our fancy robes.


Thank you for my friends, far and near. They make me laugh and make me feel special. I have been blessed with special friends who helped me with the difficult times. I can only give back by paying their kindness forward.


Thank you for my work that keeps me busy and keeps me thinking of new ways to educate. I am much more energized with learning everyday. Thank God for the little reminders from the head hunters that I have so much more to offer. Sometimes, even the most self-assured needs validation for a job well-done, even if there is no urgency to jump ship in the near future (yet).



Thank you to those who have read my book "Nursing Vignettes" . It is a labor of love, a “someday dream-come true”. I love how some friends tease me about the almost-love stories in my book. I wonder why my male friends seem to take special interest with Dr. L and the soda we shared. I have a feeling that there is a great market out there for men who love romances.




My Bucket-to-do list for 2015 is for my ‘someday dreams”. There are still many places to go to, people to see, experiences to savor, and goals to achieve. It is a dynamic list of dreams, of exciting endless possibilities. Some dreams are recycled to motivate me to persevere against all odds. As we look forward to 2015, I resolve to appreciate the blessings that come my way.



Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
- (Charles Dickens, English novelist, 1812-1870)





Saturday, August 16, 2014

Kids Have Talent




Lyca Gairanod



In the blind audition of Voice Kids Philippines, a diminutive nine-year old girl from Cavite, Philippines confidently belted out her own version of pop rock group Aegis’song “Halik”. It was her voice, just six words into the song, that made her coach Sarah Guillermo turn her chair. It was her voice that brought the audience to their feet and propelled her video to become a viral hit.

The raw power and richness of her voice and her gutsy performance impressed me, but what captured my heart was that impish little smile and the twinkle in her eyes when she saw the audience’s response. She had me at the first growl.

Lea Salonga was so moved by her that she later drew comparison to Lyca’s story with Nora Aunor, the Filipino superstar who triumphed from her humble beginnings. Nora's train stations versus Lyca's junk shops.

Lyca had great competition, but at the end, after garnering the audience vote in all three categories in the final show, she was declared the first ever grand champion. The "madlang people" had spoken. Singing alongside Aegis, she held her own, rocked the stage, got a standing ovation from the audience and the coaches, and ensured her victory.

Her back story transfixed the audience; her father is a fisherman, and to help support the family, Lyca joined her mother and other siblings to scavenge for junk. This is a story of hope and resilience, but somehow, those who were unhappy with her win are trying to discredit this child, citing “sympathy votes”.

Sympathy can only bring you so far, it cannot win a title. Lyca triumphed despite/in spite the sob story because she is talented; it's not because of civic duty nor a moral responsibility.

The Iraqi teen who was deformed in the war and was adopted by an Australian woman did not win X-Factor Australia. The orphaned girl, the single mother who worked overseas, the mentally challenged teen, the bullied boy, the extremely shy man and the social outcast did not win their contests. Juan Karlos, another Voice Kids Philippines contestant, got his place as a runner-up because of his talent and charm, not because he lost his mother at a young age.

Lyca, with her untrained voice, is a “diamond in the rough”. There was so much more nuance in her voice, so much more untapped potential that it is so exciting what the future will hold for her. With proper musical training and professional guidance, she will achieve even greater triumphs.

She is a modern Cinderella, and we, her supporters, are her fairy godmothers.



Darren Espanto



This eleven-year old from Canada, if he won, would be also deserving of the title. His talent is immense that it really doesn’t need official confirmation to be declared a winner in his own right. He is not just a young Jed Madela, not just a young Martin Nievera. Darren Espanto is ready for stage, for his own path to glory.



Here are other amazingly talented kids.


Amira Willighagen, 9 y/o from "Holland's Got Talent"




Angelina Jordan, 7 y/o from Norway’s Got Talent 2014




Sam Santiago a Filipino American from Irvine, California. He had appeared in the Maury Show - Most Talented Kids 2013


http://www.samsantiagomusic.com/




P.S. This. Is. Not. Talent. but it is soooo much fun to watch.
I was compelled to put this together after being subjected to a horrible display of non-talent as seen below. Although I must admit that the Ken Lee version is one of the most hilarious and extremely entertaining auditions I have ever seen. This is a guaranteed belly laugh.







Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Centennial



It gives me special joy to proclaim my faith for all the world to hear. After all, it had been 100 years since the Iglesia ni Cristo or Church of Christ was founded in the Philippines. From its humble beginnings, the Church had risen in stature and in size. Today, on our Centennial celebration, the INC had established magnificent houses of worship in more than 100 countries all over the world.

On July 27, 1914, Bro. Felix Manalo registered the Iglesia ni Cristo in the Philippines, and with his ministers, propagated the gospel and brought the church to its glory and splendor. One hundred years later, July 27, 2014, the Church held its centennial celebration in the much-acclaimed Philippine Arena. The 55,0000-seater edifice was hailed as the largest domed indoor arena in the world. It is a proud testament to the incredible growth of the church in these last days and serves as God's benevolent nod to the dedication of the members.

On the other side of the world, the wondrous excitement of the brethren who attended the activities in Ciudad de Victoria was thankfully captured via internet link-up. The live-streaming of the worship service was seen all over the world, with brethren wishing they were inside the Philippine Arena.

The most special moment for me was when Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo raised his hands to exhort the members to continue in the fight to the end and to persevere against all odds. It was just what I needed, to fortify me during moments of weakness and sadness. That was a defining moment that will stay in my heart forever. The message was clear... the rousing prayer was inspiring.

I remembered my friend Norma who stayed patient with my insolent questions as I tried to grapple with a tumultuous shift in my long-held beliefs. She paved the way in 1979 when I could no longer ignore the truth.

I thought of my brothers Cesar and Allan who were my persecutors, and then, when they were called into the fold, they turned out to be even more devoted than me.

All the stories of faith around me filled me with pride. The OFWs who stayed strong through the pangs of loneliness were one in faith with the poor brethren in the slums of Manila. The hundred-strong choir members were united in thoughts with the surviving brethren of typhoon Yolanda. The elder members of the Church shared their joy with the youngest believers.

As the brothers and sisters raised their miniature flags, from around the world, we greeted one another “Happy Centennial”. The sea of humanity roared in exultation.

I am in unity with my brethren all over the world. One God. One Church. One faith.






Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
- King James Bible "Authorized Version", Cambridge Edition




http://incmedia.org/content/



Friday, July 4, 2014

Fourth of July, Happy Independence Day





On this Fourth of July, Americans across the US celebrate the 238th anniversary of the country's independence from Britain. A national holiday, it is observed with parades, picnics, concerts, department store sales, blockbuster movies, hotdog-eating contests, and fireworks.

Courtesy of Macy’s, the night sky along the East River in NYC was lit with a spectacular display of fireworks with the magnificent Brooklyn Bridge in the backdrop. It was dazzling, electrifying and patriotic. It was also a reminder of how the United States is a bastion for freedom, a leader of the free world.

I am thankful to and for America. From my native Philippines, I ventured to this faraway land and had spent half my life in this great country. As a naturalized citizen, I bow my head in a prayer of thanks for the boundless blessings and opportunities that were given to me and other countless immigrants who now call this country home.

Let us remember the founding fathers who signed the Declaration of Independence, as well as those men and women who keep the country safe. Let us celebrate those who sacrifice life and limb just so we can enjoy our freedom and independence and the inalienable rights granted to us by the constitution.



God Bless America- written by Irving Berlin

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea
Let us swear allegiance to a land that's free
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair
As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer

God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with a light from above
From the mountains, to the prairies

To the oceans white with foam
God bless America
My home sweet home



















Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Favorite Women Writers


If a writing formula guaranteeing success can be bottled, I would have been the very first one on the line to buy gallons of it. My inner evil twin (thankfully repressed) would have surfaced and would have beaten the other wanna-bees to a pulp if they ever think of jumping the line.

If the writing genius genes could be absorbed by touching the books of my favorite women authors, I should have been as famous as J. K. Rowling, Maya Angelou, and Erma Bombeck.

If a magic wand drops down from Hogwarts, I would probably ask that all three women bless me with their brilliance. Ahhhh, if only.

My bookcases are crammed with my obsession with the written words. These three women- Dr. Maya, Erma, and JK- have opened fascinating and exciting new worlds for me. Their words captivated me by their power, their humor, their passion, their imagination.



DR. MAYA ANGELOU (1928-2014) is a hero to me. She was a phenomenally phenomenal woman. With her words of wisdom and strength in adversity, she had inspired whole generations of people of all races. All Renaissance woman, part warrior, part performer, the People’s Poet.

She wrote seven autobiographies, and several books of poetry, all of which are positive affirmations of her graciousness and her tenacity. From the small town of Stamps, Arkansas to the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C, to her final resting place in South Carolina, Dr. Maya Angelou brought hope and optimism for the future.

She was larger than life, an iconic figure who had triumphed far and beyond the expectations of her color and her origins by which she had further inspired those who aspire to such greatness. Her eloquence spoke straight to my heart. The story of her life is a masterpiece of how to overcome all odds and how to always strive to be a blessing to others.

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style."

"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud."








J.K. ROWLING- Harry Potter turned J.K. Rowling from a welfare mom to the richest woman in United Kingdom. Joanne "Jo" Rowling is a British novelist who wove magic and sorcery with masterful and imaginative brushstrokes to bring us the adventures of Harry, Hermione and Ron.

The Harry Potter fantasy series gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, and sold more than 400 million copies. The idea of a young wizard came to JK during a long train journey back home; one can never discount that inspiration comes in the most unusual places.

I was probably a bigger fan of the books than my son, often finishing the latest book before him. I am not ashamed to admit that I stayed late up into the wee morning hours mesmerized by flying brooms, Quidditch, teleporting and the Pensieve. Even Neville Longbottom got his shining moment when he transformed from a bumbling and mediocre character to the hero who decapitated the snake Nagini.

Hermione proved to be a strong heroine, JK Rowling’s double, much like I envision myself to be- strong, bull-headed, no-nonsense and passionately loyal.

And I like that she is nicknamed “Jo”.







ERMA BOMBECK (1927-1996) made me laugh out loud and made me cry. Such is her influence on me that I dream of being her nursing counterpart. Sadly, I still have yet to find my inner Erma.

Erma was a prolific American humorist with a popular and witty column about suburban home life. Copies of her articles were taped on refrigerator doors in households across America. Her witticisms on motherhood struck a chord that holds true to all generations; her self-deprecating humor about her passport photos made us look and laugh at our own likenesses. She was really a stand-up comedian who dispensed hilarious stories about everyday life, even when she was at wit's end.

As someone said, she made something extraordinary out of the ordinary. She had written 15 books, most of which became bestsellers. Her sense of humor propelled her to the top of her game.

And when she was not writing about septic tanks, she made me tear up with such poignant lines "If I had my life to live over again... Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle."

It was a sad day when she passed away during an unsuccessful kidney transplant operation.



"Getting out of the hospital is a lot like resigning from a book club. You're not out of it until the computer SAYS you're out of it."
"Giving birth is little more than a set of muscular contractions granting passage of a child. Then the mother is born."
"Never accept a drink from a Urologist."
"There is nothing more miserable in the world than to arrive in paradise and look like your passport photo.








Sunday, April 6, 2014

Pay It Forward




“Pay It Forward”, that’s what a friend told me one day. This is from a friend who had unexpectedly come through at a time when I needed it the most. I am thankful for these small blessings. During the ups and downs of our lives, we appreciate those times when somebody helps you up, just like an angel sent from above.

Paying it Forward means to repay someone’s kindness by being kind to someone else instead of the original benefactor. The phrase is credited to Lily Hardy Harmond who wrote in her 1916 book In the Garden of Delight: “You don’t pay love back, you pay it forward”.

Kindness gone viral. Goodness manifested several times over. Love being paid forward.

In the movie adapted from a Catherine Ryan Hyde book, the protagonist did three good deeds and asked the beneficiaries to do three good deeds to others.

Just after I finished high school, my Auntie Sol was that angel who helped me financially to start my Nursing course. I haven’t thanked her enough, but I truly appreciated her gesture to start me on my way. And in my own little way, I paid it forward.

Just like most Filipinos I know, the older siblings helped the younger ones and their less fortunate relatives. In a society where most families live a hand-to-mouth existence, education is considered a way out of continued poverty. It has been expected that the generosity be paid forward. My sister sponsors the education of my niece and another cousin’s offspring.

I am now mentoring a nursing student today for her graduate studies. To my pleasant surprise, her class professor turned out to be my own mentor in my Capstone project for my Masters class. This time, the loop had gone full circle.

There will always be a chance to be kind to others; a moment to pay it forward. There will always be that opportunity to extend a helping hand. To be a saving grace, an angel, a mentor.

The gesture need not be grandiose, but for that someone in need, that very well could be exactly just what they needed to turn their life around. Everyone just needs that fighting chance, and a helping hand makes it much easier to hope for a better tomorrow. An open door perhaps, a reprieve from a difficult time, a reminder that faith make things right.


Here are several heart-tugging examples:

Derrick Walton, once homeless himself, had turned his life around and now owns a pizzeria in Iowa. He closes his restaurant on Mondays to serve free food to those in need.




An 8 y/o boy, from Ohio found a $20 bill and gave it to a military airman. Myles Eckart, whose father died in service just before he was born, wrapped the money in a note that read: 'Dear soldier, my dad was a soldier. He's in heaven now. I found this $20 in the parking lot when we got here. We like to pay it forward in my family. It's your lucky day! Thank you for your service.' Signed, 'a Gold Star kid.'

That simple act has launched a $1 million grant to help the children of soldiers killed in war.




After Myles honored his father's memory at the restaurant, he asked his mother to bring him to his daddy's grave. How poignant this scene is, that of a son proudly telling his father of his good deed for the day.





http://www.payitforwardfoundation.org/how-to-get-involved/

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Here Comes the Sun: My Beatles' Musical Tribute



radaronline.com



Even my 19 year-old niece loves the Beatles. She must have been influenced by the good taste of her aunt.

On February 7, 1964, from across the pond, the Beatles started the British invasion. Moptops became the rage as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr charmed the women (and men) of America.

My fascination with the Beatles’ songs started much later, during my college years when some of the patients in the military hospital sometimes played songs like “Hey Jude, “Get Back” and “Yesterday”.

Fifty years after the group's first US televised live debut on the Ed Sullivan show, Grammy presented a tribute to the Fabulous Four from Liverpool. Only two of the Beatles, Paul and Ringo, survived, but the sons of John and George joined in the celebration of the musical act that had influenced countless musicians.

Beatlemania is still alive and well.

The producers of “The Night That Changed America: A Grammy Salute To The Beatles” assembled a diverse group of musical performers who both dazzled and confounded me (hello, Katy Perry). The sight of Yoko Ono with her trademark huge sunglasses as she danced/swayed/flailed was quite entertaining. I was thrilled to see my teen idol Peter Frampton and Joe Walsh from the Eagles with their guitar solos.

And finally, the irrepressible Ringo Starr and the musical genius Paul McCartney brought the house down and proved to one and all why their group the Beatles is considered pop's most influential musical act of all time. They made everyone (even those watching on tv) sing along with "nananana, nanana". Love it, love it, love it!

But if I were to put together another musical tribute, I would have chosen an altogether different group of presenters. Critics may accuse me of being bland or musically-gauche, but I really don’t care. To them, I say: make your own tribute. There.


Here are some of my favorite Beatles songs:


HERE COMES THE SUN - written by George Harrison for 1969 album Abbey Road (1969)



Sheryl Crow- on the “Bee Movie”



Bon Jovi-





COME TOGETHER - written by John Lennon, the opening track on the album Abbey Road, and was released as a double A-sided single with "Something", their 21st single in the United Kingdom and 26th in the United States.



Aerosmith- appeared in the movie and on the soundtrack to the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band,





I WILL- written by Paul McCartney



Allison Krauss





"HERE, THERE, AND EVERYWHERE written by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon–McCartney), recorded for the Beatles' 1966 album Revolver.



Clay Aiken





OH, DARLING composed by Paul McCartney (credited to Lennon–McCartney) and appearing as the fourth song on the album, Abbey Road.



Arnel Pineda When the band Journey was searching the internet for their lead singer, Neil Schon found this clip of Arnel singing this Beatles' song. And the rest is history.





IN MY LIFE – on the 1965 album Rubber Soul written mainly by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney.



Aiza Seguerra-



Charice-



Bette Midler-





LET IT BE - written and sung by Paul McCartney. McCartney said he had the idea of "Let It Be" after he had a dream about his mother during the tense period surrounding the sessions for The Beatles (the "White Album").



Ray Charles



Adam Levin and Tessane Chin on “The Voice”.





References: Wikipedia ( they’re useful)

Saturday, January 4, 2014

I Love The Snow

Based on Dr. Seuss' "I Love My Job"



I love the snow. I really do.
I love the white stuff more and more each chilly day.
I love to frolic in the snow; it’s fun to play.
I love to shovel, just the best exercise.
Got sore arm muscles, but hey, no more black ice.

I do love the tall snow drifts and the brown slush.
It is so beautiful my heart turns to mush.
The winds are fierce and brisk, oh man, they do sting
Dig and sneeze, dig and sneeze, I merrily sing.

I love sub zero temps, oh, it’s bitter cold.
Never mind the aches and pains, yes I am old.
My nose, ears, and fingers are a-freezing
Just walk slowly, hey no more falling.

I love the ED patients with their ankle sprains
So many slip and slides, and even back pains.
Let them come, EMS, bring them our way
We are ready, they're most welcome to stay.

I love the winter storm and the blizzards
And the cars that crawl like lizards
Oh, how pretty are the traffic lights
In the dark, blustery, slippery nights.

I love the snow- I’ll say it again- I even love the friendly Sanitation men,
Those Sanitation men with their snow plow who salt the streets and even my car paint away.



Jan. 21, 2014-
Hello! Never heard these weather terms before. First, "polar vertex", "polar plunge", then “bombogenesis”. It's a term coined by meteorologists to describe an area of low pressure that “deepens rapidly,” creating a strong storm, or cyclone, that intensifies as it moves over the ocean. This crazy weather that turns an already long one-hour drive to three hours. Arggghhh!
I love the Snow. Not.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Year That Was and The Gift of a New Year




As the year 2013 ended, it gave me much comfort to come to our church in Forest Hills for our Year-End Thanksgiving Prayer. The brethren gathered together in reflection of the year that was, and to pray for the year that will be. Even as New York City was in the midst of frenzied preparations for the ball drop, we bowed our heads in silent retrospection and gave thanks to God.

It has not been an easy year. Tragedy struck the Philippines, first the earthquake, then the super typhoon that had demolished Eastern Visayas.

Four special people passed away this year (Uncle Alex, Amy, Phyllis, Jennifer). Each one of them will be missed. When someone special had enriched your life and had touched your heart, the sadness comes from missing the grace or the knowledge of their presence. We can only hold onto the memories in our minds and give thanks for the gift of knowing them.


Because I am an eternal optimist, I look at the past year as a glass half-full. I was blessed.


FAMILY VACATION…

Who says I can’t go home?

After twelve years, I came home to the Philippines. This time, it was not to mourn my father’s death from a stroke attack. This time, it was to see my family, my mom, my two brothers and an extended family quite unlike any other.

My calendar of activities was filled with places to visit, things to do, people to see in just three weeks. I wanted my son Jordan to experience the land of my birth. He was just ten years old on his last visit; and this time, he came much prepared, his Tagalog vocabulary was much more extensive although still heavily accented with a New York twang.

The Filipinos are known for their extended families. A vacation brings all the cousins back to reminisce our childhood escapades; sometimes it’s the only time when the Cerrudo clan gets to see each other again.

I loved the food trips. Trying almost every restaurant in the mall and sharing the bounty with relatives. Bingeing on fruits (santol, lanzones, mango) and Nanay's home-made cooking.

Experiencing the Walled City of Intramuros. Soaking in the ambience of a world gone by- of old houses during the Spanish era with the wide lattice windows and open verandas. I could almost feel the ghosts of senoritas strolling around the paseo as they cover their faces with the fans.

Riding the calesa around Intramuros. Even if the horse looked scrawny and apathetic, unlike the beautiful horses in Central Park, it knew how to do a proper u-turn in a narrow street.


Jose Rizal's execution site in Luneta. As soon as we saw this tableau, I felt deep emotions at the sad scene of Rizal executed by the Spaniards, all in the name of patriotism. The sculpture pieces were amazing; they captured the life and death of our national hero. It was a history lesson for Jordan.

BALUT!!!!! “Fear Factor” audition recorded on camera. To see the look of utter disgust on Jordan's face- PRICELESS!!!!


Finally, I am thankful for the chance to hug my mother again, tightly but not long enough to last me till my next visit. In her 80’s, she is still a fireball of energy and humor; someone who will break into her funny chicken dance when the spirit moves her. I need another vacation; I want to tell her in person again how much I love her.


CAREER

I love my job. It has its share of challenges and stressors, but I know I have risen up above most expectations, mostly mine. The future holds more opportunities for me, more pathways to explore. So, since being a Clinical Nurse Specialist came up number two in the article "Best Jobs in America", that means, I'm doing alright.


http://money.cnn.com/pf/best-jobs/2013/snapshots/2.html


MY SON

Jordan continues to amaze me. He graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology and Chemistry. He dabbles in a strange world of molecular biology, genomes, genetics, polypeptides, mutagenesis, quantum physics, and whatchamacallit. He dissects mosquitoes in the lab, and plans to pursue doctoral studies in research. I might have my own Dr. Nye later on. A scientist who also plays the piano. Even though he does not still clean his room.

I guess, like mother, like son. (the cleaning, I mean)



MY NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS:

1. Choose the people who whisper things in my ear. I choose to surround myself with friends who are trustworthy and with co-workers with no hidden agenda or crab mentality. I will treasure friends, near and far, who grace my life with their presence.

2. Look for things that inspire, and uplift. Life is too short to waste on inconsequential people. I will draw my strength from those who give positive energy and inspiration, despite all odds.

3. Go for it. Live life with great appreciation for the gift of living and be not afraid to explore where else life can take you.


2014, I am ready for the gift to be unwrapped and to let my light shine even more. This year is another gift from God. Ready to face whatever life brings. This year, I am looking forward to celebrating the one hundredth year of the Church.












Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” - Marianne Williamson