Day 93: Enjoying Life

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I am at a time in my life right now wherein options are not readily available. I am jobless, and I am confined to live within my meager savings. I can only workout in the park because it is affordable for me. However, I refuse to remain stuck in the middle of nowhere. I am enjoying life because I am on a break. It is unusual to have free time, so I am making the most out of it by reading and blogging. Also, it is a time to reflect and be thankful, because being jobless is better than working in a role that will get me nowhere.

I ate lunch today at Coco Ichibanya. I had my favorite mushroom curry set. It was lovely and it reminded me to be grateful for my life, my blessings, and the simple ability to eat out. I am happy to experience the best that life has to offer. I should really quit dwelling on the past from now on.

Day 88: Breakfast

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I never skip breakfast. It is my favorite meal of the day. My thyroxine dosage is administered first thing in the morning. I wait thirty to forty-five minutes until I can finally eat. Usually, I have pandesal because that is okay with my diet. On weekends, I have something extra as I deserve treats on my cheat days. That way, I do not miss normal food on weekdays, and I am able to live a balanced life.

I love Mc Donald's because of their coffee. Their breakfast meals also remind me of childhood. If I can enjoy meals from simpler times, along with strong Arabica, then I have a winner each time.

Day 58: There has to be a word

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1. There has to be a word for remembering to be thankful even when your day is not going so well. 

2. There has to be a word for sticking to one's diet even when you feel tired and entitled to a cheat meal

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3. There has to be a word for the oppression that you feel when commuting options are limited and traffic makes you late.

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4. There has to be a word for the anxiety that you feel when you are stuck in a bus that is not moving due to bumper-to-bumper traffic.

5. There has to be a word for the realization that you love your job enough to brave through roads and a clogged thoroughfare for it.

Day 57: Life After Diet Delivery

I am currently enjoying regular food after three years of diet delivery subscription. My drivers for this decision to eat normally but within diet portions are: 

1) Budget- Food subscriptions are expensive! Especially now that my salary has been downgraded since working in the academe.

2) Convenience- As my food provider grew its reach, their delivery times became erratic. I work in a company that has strict security, so it will not be easy for the rider to bring my food up to my office. 

3) Adaptability- I cannot be dependent on a food provider for life. After three years with them, it is time to let go. 

I am fortunate that our cafeteria has vegetables, the half cup of rice option, and fresh fruit shakes. It has been a fortnight and I am already eating healthful meals. I get to enjoy guilty pleasures such as shawarma rice and sausage muffins, but only if I eat vegetables and half rice for lunch. It is about compromise and balance.

I am addicted to kebab rice meals. 

I am addicted to kebab rice meals. 

 Vegetables with half rice from our cafeteria

 Vegetables with half rice from our cafeteria

Portion-controlled snack at a work event

Portion-controlled snack at a work event

Yummy way to begin the day

Yummy way to begin the day

Day 55: My Work Journey

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My name is Sam. I have worked in an Australian BPO for five years as a Senior Risk Officer and Sales Support Officer. I have also handled PR and newsletter publication. Wearing different hats was challenging, but it has thickened my skin and sparked the idea that I could be more than just a typical BPO worker. When my employer underwent a change in management which was not pro-people, I resigned and gave myself a break.

BPO's are notorious for not providing adequate leave credits to their employees. I only had ten leave credits a year. Ten. My lunch and washroom breaks were also strictly regulated by our online system, so I was not able to do much during my employment. Resigning felt like freedom, and I was determined to never work for a BPO again.

Job hunting proved to be challenging. I was receiving calls from mostly BPO's because I was in demand for that industry. I must admit that I was tempted to accept some invitations. In fact, I even went to some interviews, but I did not like what I experienced because I was given a lot of uncertain terms like "shifting", "rotation", "bond", and "contractual". I did not care if the company seemed well-known or multinational. I was determined to brave uncharted territory, reject BPO's and contractual positions, and wait it out. While doing so, I worked out everyday, which was not easy because I have hypothyroidism. I regained my energy which was lost in the daily grind of handling other people's complaints and arrears. I read voraciously and ate healthfully. In time, I found employment in my alma mater.

Working in my university as a Program Officer is not easy, as I have major adjustments to make. I am an independent worker, as I have handled a senior role for half a decade. Working within a small department is not always easy because their work ethic is different. After two months of working there, I have somehow adapted. Since my job comes with significant free time and internet access, I have decided to improve my circumstances by immersing myself in knowledge. I have enrolled in online courses to improve my writing. After finishing two classes, I was able to put up this blog on my own. I met friends in the interwebs with similar interests, and I was able to see the status quo as a journey and not the end. I am enjoying it so much that I have enrolled in a purposeful branding e-course which is going to run until September 2017. I am turning thirty-one in August, so this is the best gift I could give to myself. I am learning so much and I know that my skills in project management, risk management, branding, and writing can help my community.

I am also passionate about social entrepreneurship and supporting local and handmade. When I am not writing on my blog, I eat out with A, practice creative journaling, and workout. I am also living a healthy life as hypothyroidism is already a constant variable. 

I hope that I will also hear your stories soon. Let us support each other! 

Day 51: Coconut Mornings

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I just realized that living with hypothyroidism can lead to so much negativity. It may seem that I cannot have the best of everything. I have to workout even when I am tired. I have to take the stairs to burn more calories and wake myself up. It has recently led to resentment, because my thyroxine dosage has been reduced. I found myself dozing off on my desk. Three cups of coffee did not always wake me up. I felt sluggish in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. I was forgetful, because of the so-called "brain cloud" which people with hypothyroidism often experience. 

At some point, A just said that enough is enough. 

After an insightful conversation with him yesterday, I have decided to alter my thinking instead of resenting that I have been shortchanged in this life. I should think that I have a complete life. It may not be perfect, but I am trying hard to manage so that should suffice.

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I started this morning by thinking that I could enjoy the little things that I am allowed to have. I had a whole coconut earlier after parking my car. I bought it fresh and had the meat and water transferred to a bag to go. It was refreshing, filling, and the perfect energy drink to keep me going during my commute. Upon arriving at my office, I was determined to have a healthy breakfast.  I had tortang talong, half cup of fried rice, and banana ketchup. I also had coffee, because I need all the caffeine I could get. 

Havinf proper nutrition and a shift in thinking has helped me this morning. I am determined to maximize my day by focusing on what makes me complete instead on dwelling on what I cannot enjoy in my condition. I know that it is easier said than done, but it would not hurt to give it a try. 

 

 

Day 50: Shift

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I have already been eating regular food for more than a week now, and I can say that I am coping well. I have been consuming only a half cup of rice per meal, and I make sure to incorporate fruits and vegetables into my diet. Take this morning for example. I had salted egg, tomato, a half cup of garlic rice and a fresh coconut (not pictured). It was filling, healthful, and still tasty. I alternate salted egg with regular sunny side up, and the protein keeps me energized until lunch. The carbs are essential to keep me going. I do not deprive myself or skip meals. Rather, I just observe proper portions and nutrition. 

The same goes with my life. I used to complain a lot but now I am more free-flowing and chill. I realized that complaining can increase my stress levels and just make me more resentful. By being more placid and cool, I can think clearer and plan carefully. The shift in thinking is not easy, so mindfulness is a key ingredient in this journey. All I have to do is to focus on the goal to be more chill and just slide into the day. The journey remains the same, but my attitude makes it better.  

DAY 44: FREEDOM

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It is my first day without my diet delivery service, and I feel free. I have been with them for three years. I can say that I have already gotten used to the proper portions for my needs, and I can easily replicate it in real life. I may not cook, but I can be resourceful in buying my food.  

Hypohyroidism has taught me to think out of the box. I understand that I have to observe self-control in order to have a better quality of life, and it is always easier said than done. Working out at 4:30am everyday is not a walk in the park, but I do  it anyway. When it comes to food, eating a single egg and half cup of rice for breakfast may not be satisfying, but it works. A sandwich may not be the most exciting thing to look forward to, but I make it an event by incorporating my reading during my break. That way, my meals do not become a chore which will make me cheat on my diet. 

Self-control also applies in my interests. I no longer go out that much because alcohol makes me hyperacidic (and since I have hypothyroidism, alcohol makes me bloated). I read inspiring books because life is too short for questionable material. I listen to music that moves me because I want my playlist to wake me up, especially now that my reduced thyroxine dosage is driving me insanely sleepy. I no longer succumb to endeavors without a purpose. Mindfulness is a must for my condition. Luckily, it is something that transcends my health and also stabilizes other factors in my life.  

I may be free from my diet service, but I am responsible now for my own food. I have to observe mindful eating in order to achieve optimal health and hopefully, to improve my thyroid blood test results. I look forward to easing my way to better health through mindful and purposeful living.  

Day 40: Balance

Yesterday was challenging because I learned that my thyroxine dosage has to be adjusted to a lesser quantity for a month. This allows my body to rest from my normal dosage and recalibrate my thyroid functionality. I was initially unhappy with this news because the smaller quantity makes me sleepy and sluggish. It was only when I exited the hospital and chanced upon patients in worse conditions that I realized how fortunate I still am. This dosage is only for a month, and it will be reverted back to my regular medication. I am only taking a break, while other patients only have a few months to live. I was worried about being sleepy, whilst other people were anxious for the fight to remain alive. It brought me back to my center, and in a way, I regained my balance.

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I realized that there was no need to panic. After working out this morning, I was thankful for the new day and for the opportunity to exercise outdoors. I enjoyed my favorite fast food breakfast and indulged in a donut and coffee. I remembered how short life is, and that time is only as valuable as how we make of it. I cannot afford to live without balance, as this would defeat the purpose of living mindfully and outsmarting my hypothyroidism. Rather, it is in staying balanced that I remember how lucky I am and how far I have already gone. It is utterly senseless to just give up now. 

Day 39: From Bed to the Beat

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I woke up to the sound of rain. I immediately knew that working out at the park is not feasible so I dragged myself to dance. I exercised to the beat of my videos and I eventually felt my joints loosen. My body got warmer and before I knew it, my workout was over. I was starving but I had better ways of rewarding myself for bouncing from the bed to the beat. 

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I had coconut water along with my thyroxine supplement for my hypothyroidism. I drove to my favorite monastery to pray, and enjoyed my leisurely trip to SGD Coffee. I had an etag carbonara and SGD black. All this rain and morning chill got me craving for a piece of Sagada, which I did experience! Not bad for a Saturday morning, and it is only 8:54. I still have the whole day ahead of me. 

Day 34: Lemon Bar Hopping

I had this delicious lemon bar and black coffee from SGD Coffee yesterday and it evoked feelings of warmth and familiarity. You see, the saying when life gives you lemons, make lemonade  does not really apply to me because I am not exactly fond of lemonade. However, I am a fan of lemon bars (or lemon squares). I have grown up eating them in coffee shops and I would like to think that it is my way of coping with what life throws at me. When times get challenging, I tend to regroup in coffee shops. I prefer third wave cafes because the coffee tends to be way better. Single origin brews inspire me to think beyond what is customary because drinking it is a quiet rebellion from the commercialism which has taken over the coffee industry. In my case yesterday, I had Sagada coffee at SGD (kind of redundant but it still works) to complement my lemon bar. I would like to think that it's bold flavor uplifted my lemon bar (which was yummy, by the way) and enabled me to think out of the box (or out of the bar in this case).

You see, I was feeling sick yesterday. There is a flu bug going around work, and I am still down with it at the moment. However, I was determined to have a relaxing Sunday with A, who was also feeling sick himself. We then checked out my new "discovery" near Maginhawa, and SGD seemed to do the trick. We felt better thanks to the strong drinks we enjoyed and the offbeat ambience. We then proceeded to the rest of our date, and we also visited new places which we have never been to before. Not bad for a couple feeling under the weather, right?  

When life gives me lemons, I eat a lemon bar. And I then think out of the bar and raise the bar. Indeed, it is in challenging times that we are driven to innovate and transcend.  

Day 33: The Beginning, Part Two

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Today marks the end of my second round of my 15 Days of Writing True Class. It is a beginning more than an ending, because my first one ushered in a daily writing habit which led to attending the Writing Room e-course and embarking on my own #The100DayProject. Today is also my thirty-third day into this journey. I am thankful that I never run out of topics to write about. Life has many experiences to delight, surprise, and move me. Even a recent traumatic event has led me to count my blessings and realize that yes, there are still plenty of reasons to say thank you for each new day.

I will soon be ending my three-year relationship with my diet delivery service. My workplace does not allow deliveries of food subscriptions without knowing when to expect them. The recent growth of the diet company has led to erratic delivery times, so I cannot have them delivered to my office. If I continue having them delivered at home, it will cause me to be late for my shift. It was a painful decision, but being with them has trained me to count my calories, practice proper portion control for my body's needs, and eat healthful options to address my unique nutritional needs. Having hypothyroidism AND keeping trim is difficult, but it IS doable. Embarking on this new chapter may seem shallow to most people, but for me, feeding myself without the aid of my diet service is a form of freedom. Of course, responsibility comes along with this, so I have to continue controlling my portions and choosing my food with care.

I am excited to commence writing without a writing class for the first time in over a month. I will learn to use my voice to highlight the good and keep it real in my online island. So instead of marking this last day of #15DaysOfWritingTrue as an end, I am considering this as a beginning. 

I cannot wait to write on the ordinary, the special, and the true!

Day 32: Daily WROTEin

Werking it even with sore throat!

Werking it even with sore throat!

I'm celebrating my second monthsary at work today! Being an alumna of the university where I work definitely has its perks, such as knowing the layout of the libraries by heart and knowing where to buy awesome brewed coffee based on my budget. However, my homecoming is not a single event. It is a daily routine which I am surviving thanks to willpower and prayer. 

The best part of my day is when I wake up. I get to thank my Creator for a new morning and say the The Prayer of Jabez, 1 Chronicles 4:10 : “...Oh that You would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.”  This prayer has kept me grounded and blessed since I discovered it in 2006. I then wash up and workout for at least thirty minutes. Exercise is a must as I have hypothyroidism. I mix it up with different routines so I will never be bored. 

I take a shower, take my prescribed thyroxine dosage, and drive to my parking space. I cannot eat breakfast until forty-five minutes have elapsed since I took my medicine. I usually eat in the car, after it is already parked. I take the MRT or P2P to my stop, then walk to work.

My first stop in the office is always the chapel. It always fills me with awe that I am able to work and live a normal life despite my health condition. I then unwind with a cup of coffee and my morning snack. There is nothing more rewarding than a cuppa, which wakes me up while calming me down. It is a paradox which has never ceased to intrigue me. I randomly count my blessings, check my social networks, and respond to emails. If I still have time to spare, I return to the chapel to pray the rosary.

My work day usually goes by quickly. I like being organized, and I keep an analogue planner to take down notes and tasks. I listen to music while working, using a cheap radio and earphones which I regularly replace. I switch between pop and classical stations. During my downtime, I also update my blog and chat with my boyfriend. Lunch and coffee breaks are healthy yet filling. I am always focused on my fitness goals, and I know which food to eat and avoid. I also stay away from frappuccinos and calorie-rich desserts.

My commute home is a reversal of my trip to work. I enjoy light dinners, to help me sleep earlier and lessen bloating. I also stop by our nearby park to buy fresh coconut water. It aids in detox and re-hydrating me after a long day.

I end my day by writing on my Five Year Journal, a prayer, and a book until I drift to sleep. The next day is the same cycle, with the same willpower and attitude.

I will never be able to pull this off without the support of my family and boyfriend. I may not be earning much, but I have enough and that is what matters. I look forward to having a more abundant life and eventually, the chance to settle down.

 

Day 30: Soul Sam

This photo was sent by my good friend Rafe ❤️ 

This photo was sent by my good friend Rafe ❤️ 

The past few days have been challenging. I have encountered incidents which shook me to the core. I lost my trust in the people around me, and it seems that I am being harassed by an unknown entity. I have already reported these incidents and I have faith that authorities will handle this accordingly. Meanwhile, I am healing and moving on. I have decided this morning that I do not need to dwell on the feeling of distrust. Rather, I should focus on what I must be thankful for.

I woke up early this morning and did my ab and cardio routine. I had a hearty breakfast and a medium Americano from my go-to convenience store. I am wearing my five year old Doc Martens which cushion my feet and keep them warm and toasty in the rainy weather. Most of all, I have a family to go home to, a boyfriend who drives me home when visibility is low due to the rain, and a best friend who will drop everything to spend a few hours to comfort me. 

My best friend works in Quezon City but he managed to treat me to pancakes and coffee during my lunch break in Ortigas. I appreciate his effort and concern, as he knew I was going through a difficult time. My boyfriend had a family reunion at Pampanga, but he waited for me at Quezon City to have ramen with me and drive me home. These simple gestures mean heaps to me. It has been said that the only resource that we cannot reclaim is time, so I am grateful that my closest people look after me. I am also looking forward to moving on from these recent issues and carrying on with work. 

I have reasons to be thankful and happy amidst troubles and the rainy season. I will always have something to write about and experiences to share. People may try to take my trust away, but they can never conquer my spirit. All I have to do is breathe. 

Day 28: Sammie 2.0

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The Philippines, like its Asian neighbors, considers rice to be its staple food. This is evident in the way the price of rice is regularly reported on the news, how rice shortages due to typhoons and economic factors stress the public out, and how "extra rice" became a cultural norm when dining out. We localize every foreign food from burgers to steak by replacing bread or potatoes with rice. Quinoa and other healthful grains are slowly taking traction. We have a thriving bread industry, thanks to our Filipino favorite, pandesal. However, it still remains to be this country's favorite grain. To say that rice fuels the Filipino people, is definitely not an exagerration.

The predominance of rice makes eating sandwiches in this country a form of rebellion. To find true joy in a delicious combination of bread and filling goes against the norm. I can guess it is because my name is Sam and the shortened version of the word sandwich is "sammie" in some Western countries. I feel that I take ownership of this fascination and it is a birthright of sorts.

I am happy with grilled cheese, turkey subs, tuna with pesto, grilled vegetable paninis, kesong puti (local white cheese) with pandesal, and chicken bunwich. However, my absolute comfort food is the smoked salmon sammie. The divine combination of juicy salmon and cream cheese is like a holiday on a plate (or slab, as it was served to me last night). It makes me forget all my worries and renews my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity.

For breakfast, I usually go for an Egg Mc Muffin from Mc Donald's (or Mcdo, as it is called in the Philippines). It reminds me of childhood and simpler times. However, I was in an adventurous mood this morning and I tried something from the local menu: the Cheesy Eggdesal with Sausage. It turned out to be really yummy. It is a delightful combination of pandesal, cheese, egg, and Mcdo's famous sausage. It was a warm embrace in this rainy morning.

Like the sammie in the Philippines, some people may find me different because I enjoy dining out alone, reading in public, and wearing my hair in a pixie. These are all unpopular choices in our country but I enjoy being myself. Happiness is a choice, and I live my life to be truly joyful. If it means eating a sammie everyday, then so be it. Just let me be.

Day 23: Sammie

Smoked salmon sammie. Last night's dinner at  Italianni's  

Smoked salmon sammie. Last night's dinner at Italianni's 

The Philippines, like most of its Asian neighbors, considers rice to be a staple food. This is evident in the way the price of rice is regularly reported on the news, how rice shortages due to typhoons and economic factors stress the public out, and how "extra rice" became a cultural norm when dining out. We localize every foreign food from burgers to steak by replacing bread or potatoes with rice. Quinoa and other healthful grains are slowly taking traction. We have a thriving bread industry, thanks to our Filipino favorite, pandesal. However, rice still remains to be this country's favorite grain. To say that rice fuels our most important resource, which is the Filipino people, is definitely not an exagerration.

The predominance of rice is the reason why I believe that eating sandwiches in this country is a form of rebellion. To find true joy in a delicious combination of bread and filling goes against the norm. I can guess it is because my name is Sam and the shortened version of the word sandwich is "sammie" in some Western countries. I feel that I take ownership of this fascination and the pleasure I partake in with every sammie I enjoy is a birthright of sorts.

I am happy with grilled cheese, turkey subs, tuna with pesto, grilled vegetable paninis, kesong puti (local white cheese) with pandesal, and chicken bunwich. However, my absolute comfort food is the smoked salmon sammie. The divine combination of juicy salmon and cream cheese is like a holiday on a plate (or slab, as it was served to me last night). It makes me forget all my worries and renews my belief in the inherent goodness of humanity.

Today's brekkie situation at  Mc Donald's  

Today's brekkie situation at Mc Donald's 

For breakfast, I usually go for an Egg Mc Muffin from Mc Donald's (or Mcdo, as it is called in the Philippines). It reminds me of childhood and simpler times. However, I was in an adventurous mood this morning and I tried something from the local menu: the Cheesy Eggdesal with Sausage. It turned out to be really yummy. It is a delightful combination of pandesal, cheese, egg, and Mcdo's famous sausage. It was a warm embrace in this rainy morning.

Like the sammie in the Philippines, some people may find me different because I enjoy dining out alone, reading in public, and wearing my hair in a pixie. These are all unpopular choices in our country but I enjoy being myself. Happiness is a choice, and I live my life to be truly joyful. If it means eating a sammie everyday, then so be it. Let me be me.

Day 18: Why I Don't Write

I'm writing this entry as I am enjoying a cup of halo-halo! The definitive Filipino summer delicacy is perfect for this sunny day. It is also a sweet way to usher in ROUND TWO of my 15 Days of Writing True!  

I have learned in design thinking that repeating a process albeit in a different iteration fosters creativity. I chose to repeat my class not because I failed, but because I want to see how this journey can be taken differently. How can I enjoy a trip with another perspective? There is only one way to find out and that is by taking it all over again.  

Here's my fearless Day 1 output! 

Here's my fearless Day 1 output! 

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I am here at Human Nature for their beauty fair! They have released a bronzer, lip miracle (sunflower oil-infused lip balm) and cheek tint! I have personally tested them and they are perfect for sensitive skin and everyday use. I also adore this brand as they are a social enterprise that provides employment to those who need it most. 

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I can't wait to see how Round Two turns out. For now, I need to finish my halo-halo and shop for sustainable makeup. 

Day 2: Joy in the Mundane

Today's writing assignment in my #15DaysOfWritingTrue class asked me to unplug for thirty minutes today. I have written more about my wandering along EDSA last night in my Day 4 assignment, but I also wanted to experience some quiet time even if I did not have the luxury of taking a walk outside as I have already logged into the office. Good thing I had my art journal and paints with me. I have decided to just let go and paint.

Thirty-minute art journal in response to my assignment for  #15daysofwritingtrue

Thirty-minute art journal in response to my assignment for #15daysofwritingtrue

Having a conscious sense of being unplugged was wonderful. I ate my breakfast slowly, and sipped my coffee while reflecting on how bliss can be possible even in daily routine. It is in the ebb and flow of the hours and days that we can either be pushed to embark on challenges with bravery or be washed away by the current of stress and fatigue. Prior to taking my walk last night along EDSA and this morning's meaningful time-out, I was not aware that I was already experiencing burnout and fatigue from the daily commute, the summer heat, and everyday little things. This time of consciousness is much-needed because I realized that I am doing quite well after all and that it is in the mundane that I can be focused on my purpose in order to experience real joy every.single.day.

Pancit from  Lunchboxdiet

Pancit from Lunchboxdiet

My daily cuppa

My daily cuppa

I have just finished reading Socrates Cafe by Christopher Phillips and I would like to share with you my favorite passages. May this inspire you to carry on and never give up on your sense of wonder. 

I hope you find your life worth living.

My favorite paragraphs from  Socrates Cafe  by  Christopher Phillips

My favorite paragraphs from Socrates Cafe by Christopher Phillips