Posted in Awards, awareness, Books, Concepts, Crafts, Culture, Dance, Dreams, Events, exercise, fiction, flashback, Food/Recipes, Freedom of Expression, Makeup, Music, Nature, Photography, poetry, Quotes, Social Justice, Technology, Volunteer Experiences

Twenty-Four Seven | Daily Inkling #7

Daily Inkling

Just when I think I’m going to be doing haikus for the rest of the year due to my tight schedule…

Blogger “Normal Happenings” has tagged me in an interesting challenge that seems to coincide with a random daily horoscope I received a few days ago from a free Vedic astrology app called Yodha. (By the way, I like your new branding! It’s bold and glowing like a neon sign. 🙂 )

Happy new year! For those of you who are new to my blog, welcome! Thank you so much for following my blog, and I will be swinging by to read yours as well. I see a lot of new faces out there, and I just want to say hi! This is my fun, personal blog where I typically write about all sorts of subjects in a variety of formats: poetry, story, photo-story, music. I’m about to start another blog for school related stuff, but that’ll be shared on another post!

Image from Shivashakti

You may wonder how did I encounter Vedic astrology? Well! One day, I was chatting with a young lady about the staggering synchronicity in both our lives, and she told me about how she regularly talks to her Vedic astrologist for all sorts of decisions. She said that she made some of the best business decisions of her life with his guidance and that it is a lot more accurate than western astrology. I was skeptical because there are a lot of quacks out there as you well know, but intrigued nevertheless.

So, I downloaded the free Yodha Daily Horoscope app where authentic Vedic astrologists from Nepal share with you their insights. I started learning more about it. Apparently there are Indian universities that offer advanced courses in Vedic astrology despite scientists protesting about it being a pseudoscience. Jyotisha is the traditional system of Hindu astrology. Its etymology is from the Sanskrit term, “jyoti” meaning “light heavenly body”. The term Vedic astrology came about later around the 70s.

Below are the sort of messages I get. This is one I received this morning:

“Due to your nature, you are a rather positive person. You are someone who can find a silver lining in most of the situations. Perhaps you are aware of this gift and know how to implement it. At times, you can put a smile on your face even when the circumstances don’t naturally warrant it and in doing so you can spread good vibrations to others. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that not everyone has that gift and you may be dealing with someone who doesn’t. The planets are encouraging you to show how it’s done.”

Astrologer P. Bhattarai

Anyway, back to the horoscope that inspired this post! She mentioned how when time and money permits, I enjoy traveling to an exotic locale and experiencing new things. However, lately, I may be seeking a more spiritual experience which may not be a physical location: a journey to understand myself better, gain a deeper understanding of myself, be more conscious and aware. I thought Daily Inkling’s prompt might help me explore this arena!

Write 24 talking points between current you and you from seven years ago. Consider teaching yourself something you’ve picked up since then.

Twenty-four Seven

Seven years ago was the year 2013. A pivotal point in my life: the beginning of a lot of new things, drastic changes to my lifestyle. This is a rare occasion when all of my category boxes on my blog have been checked! I’ve chosen 24 random topics to discuss in no particular order: then vs. now!

1) Career

2013: Grocery store cashier – Served a lot of people from all walks of life! I love to meet new people and listening to their stories.

Image by Charles Thompson from Pixabay

2020: Technical writer for a cybersecurity firm & vacation business manager – nice balance between the two!

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay 
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

2) Books

I read a lot of books during both years, but I’ll just mention two for now:

2013: Shantaram, an epic, philosophical tale of an Australian convict opening up clinics in the slums of India

“Some feelings sink so deep into the heart that only loneliness can help you find them again. Some truths are so painful that only shame can help you live with them. Some things are so sad that only your soul can do the crying for them.”

― Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram
Image by billy cedeno from Pixabay 

2020: The Atlas of Happiness: The Global Secrets of How to be Happy – People worldwide share unique testimonials of what made them happy

Optimism isn’t frivolous: it’s necessary. If we feel hopeless all the time, if we’re always in crisis, the natural response is to give up and stop trying altogether. But we can’t let snark win. Problems are there to be solved. Challenges, to be met. We can be aware of the bad while also being mindful of how we can make it better. … Empathy is essential, and learning what matters to people on the other side of the world helps us all. Understanding how different nations view happiness can impact how we interact with one another going forward.

Helen Russell
Image by Daniela Dimitrova from Pixabay 

3) Friendships

2013: Friends were there to lift my spirits, give me warm cup of tea when going through a new challenge, have fun in the cosplay contests at school. Really enjoyed checking out the Ghostbusters!

Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay

2020: All of the above still applies, but my friendships seem to have more depth and honesty. Also, true friendship has a way of helping me see things in myself that I didn’t think was capable.

5) Nature

2013: I took my family and friends to check out the Arboretum gardens in Dallas, TX during special holidays like Mother’s Day

Image by: Dallas Arboretum

2020: I hope to visit Vanderpool, TX sometime and bask in the warm glow of the “lost maple trees” during autumn

4) Love

Image by Larisa Koshkina from Pixabay

2013: Infatuated by a gentle young man I met one beautiful autumn day while feeding the birds at the pier down by the lake. A rather electrifying meeting, though the relationship never developed due to my fear of commitment.

Image by philpace from Pixabay

2020: Enjoying a long term relationship of 4 years. Its been a dream come true filled fun adventures, humor, and passion with the normal ups and downs of life.

6) School

2013: Attended community college on a digital forensics academic track. The most memorable project was where I developed a website for a hypothetical geologist living in Colorado. He was studying various types of gemstones he found during his excavations. I researched stories of legends surrounding their origin.

Image by Robert Ramsay from Pixabay

2020: Currently working on an online masters program for technology and innovation management track. The most memorable project so far involved a hypothetical four million dollars granted to me to develop a civil engineering software application from start to finish.

Image by dewikinanthi from Pixabay

7) Volunteer Cause

2013: I worked with a group of friends with Habitat for Humanity. Learned a lot about house building and painting!

Glendale

2020: Currently helping a school teacher collect cans and plastics with the Rotary Club for a contest with Pepsi Co.

Novyy Urengoy, Russia – June 17, 2018: Bunch of different empty soda aluminium cans.

8) Music

2013
2020
2020

9) Recreation

2013: Had a thing for barre workouts!

Image from Haute Living

2020: About to do Hot Yoga with my cowokers!

Image by Sofie Zbořilová from Pixabay

10) Sustainability

2013: Back when Google+ was around, I heavily got involved with a sustainability discussion group for many hours. The discussions intrigued me. I wanted to learn how to be eco-friendly and be up to date with all of it.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

2020: I’m itching to get plugged into community initiatives regarding sustainability issues. They’re looking for ideas, and I hope to contribute in someway!

Image by 95C from Pixabay

11) Blogging

2013: I fancied the idea of being a student blogger on campus. I applied, but was turned down for the position. It may have been because the writing sample I sent was about the sound of a lovely bell ringing off in the distance as I was walking around the campus lake to class. Maybe they want more samples about student life? 🙂

Below is the walkway of the lovely campus I used to walk by often.

2020: Didn’t matter! Here I am blogging my heart out on my own without anyone else’s approval! I don’t know why I thought of it sooner! 😉

Blogging my thoughts has been a freeing, exciting experience. Thank you to my readers for making the experience so worthwhile!

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

12) Fashion Interests

2013: Bold floral-print Sunday dresses

Image from Popsugar

2020: Bandage skirts, Currently love them! Sorry no picture of me in them, but I love to wear them with leggings

Wheretogetit.com

13) Television

2013: 30 Rock, CSI Miami, Supernatural, Glee

Image by CW

2020: Meteor Garden, Witcher, Miraculous Lady Bug

Image by Otakucart

14) Movies

2013: Frozen, Iron Man III, Man of Steel, The Croods, Monsters University

Image by PixarPost

2020: Star Wars (2019), want to see Mulan, Artemis Fowl, Sonic

15) News

There were a lot of news stories that deeply affected me and my path trajectory.

2013: Nelson Mandela’s death, Boston Marathon bombing, Edward Snowden

Nelson Mandela was a leader whom I was captivated by. Boston Marathon and Edward Snowden prompted my interests in security.

2020: Hospital Janitor Forges Lasting Friendship Between Two Boys in Isolation After Noticing a Love of LEGOS

The news story above impacts me because it deals with one of my favorite childhood pastimes. My first major Lego project was a pirate ship. Always fascinated by adventure even then! Will be going to a Lego Brick Fiesta event with some friends this year to indulge in this interest!

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

16) Sports

2013: Followed Maria Sharapova tennis matches quite a bit since I practiced developing my forearm swing at the tennis courts!

The Guardian

2020: I might go check out some Spurs basketball players play! Matt Bonner signed my basketball. He was so down-to-earth and friendly!

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 25: Matt Bonner #15 of the San Antonio Spurs drives the ball against Trevor Ariza #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the game at the Staples Center on January 25, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. The Lakers defeated the Spurs 99-85. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

17) Technology

2013: I was really curious about consumer drones. Always felt tempted to buy one to take awesome aerial photos and videos from the sky!

Phantom Quadcoptor

2020: Right now, I’m super curious about the Click and Grow smart garden!

Image from Click and Grow

18) Favorite Hang-out spots

2013: White Rock Lake, Dallas, TX

I enjoyed walking sections around this park almost every day. Seeing the scenery change with the seasons is a great beauty. I once walked around the whole park which took four hours! There are some incredibly beautiful views, expansive hiking trails, fishing spots. There’s also a well known ghost story as well about the Lady of White Rock Lake! One of my favorite memories is sitting on a wooden bench on top of a hill and seeing the sunset as the breeze is blowing the tall grasses.

Image from Applespice

2020: Riverwalk & Pearsall Park in San Antonio, TX

I enjoy walking downtown and checking out the riverboats with curious spectators gliding by in this river. At night, it’s bustling with tourist activity. Families and couples are dining in the restaurants. Some of my favorite memories here was when my brother visited me and we got to listen to a beautiful mariachi band singing a lovely serenade and when my boyfriend and I celebrated Christmas slow dancing in the island platform.

Riverwalk, San Antonio, TX
Image by: Thrillist

I love to go jogging here with my exercise buddy early mornings! The fields and the hills are incredible. Breathing in the fresh cold air is refreshing.

Pearsall Park, San Antonio, TX

19) Languages

2013: I was trying to continue my Spanish studies on Babbel

Image by Babbel

2020: Duolingo’s mascot, a little owl, has been guiding me in learning Spanish and Vietnamese basics. It’s been fun learning from their podcasts too!

Image by Duolingo

20) Theatre

2013: For an English literature assignment, I had the opportunity to watch a live Shakespearean comedic play, Taming of the Shrew.

2020: Curious about the Miss Saigon musical in town!

21) Environment

2013: Fascinated by Google’s chart that compiled deforestation rates by country

2020: Currently checking out Mongobay’s environmental snippet summary

Image by Mongobay – Lemurs!

22) Health

2013: Learned about Healthcare.gov’s crashing website as millions of Americans tried to sign up for healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. Stress is relative though!

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

2020: Everyone around me is getting the flu! Got my flu shot. Learning about personalized AI medical care innovations

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

23) Games

2013: Played Juice Cubes a bit!

2020: Curious about Smash Hit and Megaman Zero!

24) Quote I lived by

2013: Eleanor Roosevelt impacted me from an early age.

Do the thing you think you cannot do. You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”

Eleanor Roosevelt
Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

2020: Right now, these below! More to come later!

Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction

Germany Kent

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.

Socrates
Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay

 That was fun! See you soon everyone! Hope you enjoyed it! 🙂

Posted in awareness, Concepts, Culture, Events, flashback, Freedom of Expression, Photography, Social Justice

Freedom of Expression – Revival!

Hamsa Hand

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Home decor at Big Lots store

Good morning everyone! Hope you had a wonderful weekend! I looked up a Merriam-Webster dictionary definition of revival to refresh my understanding and this is what popped up:

  • a new presentation or publication of something old
  • renewed attention to or interest in something
  • a return of strength and importance

When I visited my niece, I noticed reoccurring symbol in her artwork that captivated me. An eye in the palm of a hand. She herself didn’t knew what it meant but I was surprised because I’ve suddenly encountered the symbol a lot in my environment. Following my curiosity, I learned that it is known as the “Hand of God” (or Hand of Fatima), an spiritual symbol of protection from the evil eye to bring health, wealth, good fortune, happiness, good luck, and fertility. Ooo la-la!

Hamsa’s earliest origins were in the middle east. Several celebrities (Jennifer Aniston, Heidi Klum, Jay-Z, Gwyneth Paltrow, Madonna) have been spotted wearing it. To learn more about the symbolic significance in various religions, you can visit this website! https://aromantly.com/blogs/spirituality/hamsa-meaning

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Saw this pretty necklace in the jewelry store and got it for my niece

A Visit Back to Yesteryear

Richa shared some wonderful quotes which made me reflect on my past life a bit. I was browsing through LinkedIn today and came across an article about burnout and this section prompted a flashback:

Ten years ago, I had my first experience with burnout in my early years of college. I was in need of delimiting my responsibilities. I was studying many things that I was passionate about in combination with subject matter that I was not interested in. I wasn’t getting as much sleep as I should have and lost weight from not eating properly because I was trying to keep up with my peers and stay on top of my scholarly workload.

One day, a childhood friend once noted and said to me, “You don’t pray often, do you?” I felt a little irked and thought to myself, “How would she know if I prayed in my private time? Can she really assume?” A nagging question suddenly dawned on me though. I wondered if an individual’s interior life of prayer can affect one’s external life.

Despite me conducting so much research on my assignments and looking for answers, I was cognizant of the fact that there are some things that cannot be answered via research database. One night, I lied in my bed and stared at the ceiling. Though I loved what I was doing in college, paradoxically, I also prayed for some way of escape…at least temporarily.

During my time on campus, I became aware of a religious awakening spreading throughout the student body. Many people described it as a “revival”. Speakers shared stories with a sort of fervor that I was unaccustomed to. Many students from a variety of faith backgrounds mingled, sincerely listened to each other, studied together, prayed for one another through their troubles, and offered assistance where needed.

Quenching the thirst of my curiosity, I also read academic books on the history of prayer and the power of intercessory prayer. I also poured over various religious books of wisdom while hanging out in prayer houses. I suddenly became very intrigued by these ancient books. My mom was entertained by my fascination with these dead authors. 😉

After years of the frost of cynicism covering these student lives, I witnessed dramatic transformations and strengthened relationships. Admittedly, it felt unreal to me to experience a beautiful scene of an integrated diverse community where people didn’t just tolerate differences in one another, but wholeheartedly embraced all the quirks within each other. Some developed a fresh zeal to tackle on local problems in society like hunger, diabetes, homelessness, trafficking, etc.

So! That’s what revival has meant to me in my life. What about you? 🙂

Posted in Concepts, Crafts, Culture, Dreams, flashback, Freedom of Expression, Quotes

Freedom of Expression – Dream!

TOPIC FOR TODAY : DREAM/DREAMER/DREAMING

Every Thursday, I will pick up a “prompt word” to be acted upon by y’all. You are free to go wild with your imagination and interpret the “prompt” in any way that you like – photo, prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, quotes, articles or drawing/painting – whatever works for you!  In short, it’s all about you being the BOSS and choosing the best way possible to express and depict your understanding of the prompt and go berserk!

Richa @ iScriblr

I’m going to entertain myself and let myself daydream for a moment! My boyfriend would be happy to read this. He daydreams quite often, and as a result comes up with amazing ideas and solutions. I tend to underestimate the benefits reaped from simply sitting back on a bed somewhere and letting my mind wander. Sometimes I find myself drawn in many directions as I am an eclectic person. Let’s see where my stream of consciousness takes me today!

Nox @ The Daily Spur shared this photo prompt and the first thing that comes to my mind is the contours of a geological topographic map and pleated fabric. It’s minimalist, yet intriguing with its curves and shadows revealing layers and depth. I can almost imagine feeling the texture of it in my hands!

Seeing pleated fabric in Nox’s images inspires me to search for images of several pleated dresses and I stumble across some stunning gowns. I’ll save these ideas as they can be applied to future projects.

As I’m looking at this array of photos, I can’t help but think of an inspirational image I saved of Coco Chanel who was sitting at a studio desk of sorts. She had this look of wonder as she drew sketches of what she wanted to create next. The backdrop was a variety of sewing supplies in a chaotic mess of sorts. Yet, the expression on her face reflected a very clear vision of what she was going to achieve. I remembered thinking to myself, “I want to feel what Coco Chanel is feeling.” Excitement, passion, enthusiasm integrated in a grounding sense of purpose.

Coco Chanel was born Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel in 1883 in France. After her mother died, her father, a peddler dropped her off at an orphanage where she learned to sew. The name Coco came from her early career as a singer. She opened her shop in 1910 initially selling hats, and as she branched out, she began making clothes. Her initial success in sewing came after she refashioned an old jersey into a dress on a cold day. She continued to build on top of her thriving business by creating a fragrance line. She describes perfume so elegantly here:

Suddenly, I’m remembering my mother’s favorite Coco Chanel perfume: Nth degree #5. This elegant and timeless scent will always remind me of mom. I remembered when she found a good deal at the souvenir shop at the airport, a set of three bottles for $60 or so. Mom always loves to drift away to a fanciful world that she dreams and often brought me along with her.

Coco had her share of ups and downs in her life. She had an controversial love life tinged with a bit of scandal and some fascinating friendships including Winston Churchill, Pablo Picasso, and Igor Stravinski! Now I’ll just reflect on some bold quotes by Coco Chanel and keep dreaming. Thanks for reading, dear dreamer! Till next time! 😉

In response to:

Posted in Books, Culture, fiction, Freedom of Expression, poetry, Quotes

Freedom of Expression – Art!

Good evening everyone! I’m here to participate in Richa’s “Freedom of Expression” challenge! She shared some brilliant quotes about art, so stop by and take a peek! 🙂

ABOUT THE CHALLENGE

Every Thursday, I will pick up a “prompt word” to be acted upon by y’all. You are free to go wild with your imagination and interpret the “prompt” in any way that you like – photo, prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, quotes, articles or drawing/painting – whatever works for you!
In short, it’s all about you being the BOSS and choosing the best way possible to express and depict your understanding of the prompt and go berserk!

Richa @ iScriblr

It’s interesting that Richa shared this quote below! ❤

Artists are just children who refuse to put down their crayons.

Al Hirschfeld

I’ve been heavily sick for the past few days with a severe cold and allergies. My congested mind couldn’t really focus on anything too complex, so I decided to open up a steam punk coloring book I got from a convention last year featuring the amazing artwork of Brian Denham.

The box of Crayola crayons was just innocently sitting there on one of my shelves. 😉 As I opened the box, I relished a moment of silence as I marveled over the colors. It’s been too long since I last colored. I enjoyed blending the colors and developing the gradients and shadows of his “Victorian Secret Girls of Steampunk” Antarctic Press collection.

This morning I read a post on Riddles and Reveries called “Quotes from Anna Karenina”. I’ve only watched the movie with actress, Keira Knightley. It’s a visually stunning masterpiece of a tragic tale by Leo Tolstoy.

HDwallpapers

I couldn’t help but write a short story after I encountered this quote by Leo Tolstoy’s character Anna in Riddles and Reveries:

“If you love me as you say you do,’ she whispered, ‘make it so that I am at peace.”

Anna Karenina

So without further ado, here is a fan flash fiction of the aftermath of Anna Karenina’s death!

Life After Death

Train’s blaring lights struck
Horn sliced through sun-speckled air
Deafening silence

Anna’s life flashed before her eyes after she threw herself in front of the train. Darkness filled her vision in an instant. She blinked and awoke to find herself flying between the branches of a forest alongside a majestic angelic warrior with scarlet feathers and bright purple robes.

She smelled the refreshing scent of pine trees as the rays of sunshine warmed her entire body. A flock of blue jays sang joyous songs as they fluttered in the trees. The morning dew of the forest floor bed sparkled revealing a faint green glow that extended to a glistening meadow beyond. She felt her warrior’s healing presence – a protective and nurturing force.

Anna felt light – free of the torment and the burden of the jealousy she harbored for so long. Her cheeks flushed with the color of a new born rose. She was no longer shackled by societal conventions of imperial Russian orthodoxy. Anna took a deep breath. She could finally feel her husband’s, Karenin, forgiveness seeping into her soul. Her skin tingled at the former memory of her lover Count Vronsky.

A moment of peace is worth its weight in gold. Anna no longer felt like a caged animal. Her spirit is free to roam and experience this new grandeur of life that laid before her.

Posted in Culture, flashback, Freedom of Expression, Music, Quotes

Freedom of Expression – Melody


“Wake up, live your life and sing the melody of your soul.” 
― Amit Ray, Enlightenment Step by Step

Richa over at iScriblr has picked “Melody” as this week’s prompt word for her challenge “Freedom of Expression“. This is a feel-good prompt for me as melodies bring back all sorts of memories.

“From the glow of enthusiasm I let the melody escape. I pursue it. Breathless I catch up with it. It flies again; it disappears; it plunges into a chaos of diverse emotions. I catch it again; I seize it; I embrace it with delight.”

Ludwig van Beethoven
Video Game Melody’s Escape: “Run, jump and slide to the rhythm of your own music library! In Melody’s Escape, advanced audio detection algorithms transcribe the energy that you feel when listening to music into a synchronized gameplay experience, with a captivating and dynamic obstacle course.” – Steam

One summer day when I was a young girl, I sang a short random tune in front of my friends as we hung outside the porch. “Another, another!” my friends exclaimed. They knew me to be rather shy and quiet, so they wanted me to sing another tune shortly thereafter! There was a rush of excitement as I was creating and sharing a melody from my heart. My feelings were just free to wander in the stream of notes, and my friends could float along the current with me. It was a time where I felt like communicated what was going on with ease turning my thoughts to music.

Melody is a form of remembrance. It must have a quality of inevitability in our ears.”

Gian Carlo Menotti

Once a song hits my ears, I begin to remember all the things that the song makes me feel and think. When I create a melody of my own, it’s almost like I want to keep my own story alive. I think many musicians feel that way as well, and when their song resonates with their fans, it becomes a legend.

“If, while at the piano, you attempt to form little melodies, that is very well; but if they come into your mind of themselves, when you are not practising, you may be still more pleased; for the internal organ of music is then roused in you. The fingers must do what the head desires; not the contrary.” 

Robert Schumann
Jacob’s Piano – an original piece “A Simple Melody”

I first learned about melody from my piano teacher. I remember practicing various assigned songs after school. Occasionally I’ll have a little fun with a piece and add my own original personal flair to it. My dad would walk in the house after work and smile at my little experiments. I would play my version for my teacher, and she would tell me, “Sa, that’s wonderful, but I need to know that you can read the music as it is!” Learning how to read other’s music is part of the experience, but I should have said, “Learning how to make my own music helps test me on my knowledge of music theory and develop my overall comprehension.” 🙂