Posted in fiction, poetry, Quotes

A Fourth to Remember

Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

Joy!
Wa-hoo!
Today’s the day!
Buzzing with excitement
We’re celebrating indoors today!
My owner created a scavenger hunt for me
She hid some delectable treats throughout the house
Pop a tunnel of floating bubbles along the way
Canine peanut butter, vanilla cookie treats
Await me at the end of the obstacle
An excursion to the back patio
Fetching a squeaky ball
My owner loves me
No fireworks
Tender
Care

Word of the Day: Excitement

Posted in flashback

Happy Mother’s Day! Open Letter to Mom

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! What a time to be a mom! I wrote an open letter to mom this year:

Dear Mom,

There’s really no one like you.

I mean, who else tickles my feet at 5am just to get a head start on the day? You tell me that there’s so much to learn, to explore, and to do! I’ve learned how precious time is and just how much can be accomplished within the 24 hours.

You are a beacon of strength and resilience with steadfast convictions, unwavering belief and faith in spite of fear. You are an outspoken straight shooter which used to fluster me, but at least I knew what was on your mind.

Your astounding generosity is shown in all the little things you do. All the meanwhile, you can be a mischievous prankster just to keep me on my toes. There’s never a dull moment! I miss your inquisitive interjections during movies we watch.

If you really wanted to do something, you don’t wait for other people to get on board with you. You just do it! A powerhouse. A busy bee. I’ll never forget the day when you wanted to go shopping, I didn’t get ready fast enough, and you actually left me in the dust. >_<

You and dad always believed that great opportunities don’t come everyday, so you recognize and seize them with every chance you get. You create opportunities by teaching yourself.

You always made me feel beautiful inside and out even when I didn’t always feel like it. You never let me rest on my laurels and always challenge me to reach higher for the stars. You taught me to experience things out of my comfort zone because that’s where some of the most rewarding things in life happen.

You inspire me even with all your imperfections. You’re a super heroine. Have a relaxing Mother’s Day, Mom. It’s okay to have some downtime. 🙂

Love,
Sa

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 awareness, poetry, Quotes

#Haibun-Frozen- Tell The Story

One kind word can warm three winter months.

Japanese proverb

Hello everyone! “Tell The Story Challenge” is a tag created by Eclectic Contrarian where the tagger gives his/her nominees a picture to write a tale, story, or poem about it. I’ve been tagged by Rory @ A Guy Called Bloke and K-9 Doodlepip! His funny story is called Box Dancing – The Misunderstanding. I wrote a poem in response to Rory’s image below:

Frozen

Harsh winds of winter-
Her precious vitality
hangs on by a thread

Her vibrant red hues once captivated onlookers but now, she fades into lighter shades of coral as melancholy overwhelms her. She mourns the loss of her friends who grew up with her in the fields. Her tears turn to ice. She is frozen in the moment. Her spirit resigns as the frost takes over her petals. Her head droops as she falls into a deep slumber. The ground attempts to nourish her during this time.

The sun wonders what it would take to solve this conundrum. The sun tries to cheer her up. The sun’s rays tickled the flower. The hairs on her head and stem raise only slightly. Darn, a futile attempt! Onerous though the flower’s life may be, spring is around the corner. Soon, she will see her perennial friends again!

Rejuvenation
takes delicate loving care-
A new dawn awaits

Also in response to:

  • Colleen Tanka Tuesday #119: #Synonyms Only – attract and mystery
  • FOWC with Fandango: Onerous
  • A friend’s message in regards to mental illness awareness below:

I suffer from anxiety and depression I am not ashamed of it anymore and it’s not nice. People don’t believe me when I tell them because I am always happy and laughing round them and try to make others laugh. At times I do struggle. I can be hard to live with or to be around when I get this way and I know it.

I try my best to control it and most of the time I succeed. I manage to get on top of it and control thing’s but at times I break. So if you see me and I am quiet or don’t speak, I’m not upset with you nor have you upset me, I also do not mean to be rude, I may just need a minute to myself or a hug.

So please if you are my friend just bare with me. It’s ok to not be ok, tell someone you’re not ok. It’s ok. Everyone says: “If you need anything, don’t hesitate, I’ll be there for you”… So I’m going to make a bet, without being pessimistic, I wish my friends that you will put this on your wall.
You just have to copy (not share)!!! I want to know who I can count on… And I’m sure it will be less than 25. Write “done” in comments when you do!

It’s Mental Illness Awareness month –
This is for all the people I know suffering too,
Keep strong!

L.L.

I will nominate: Helene @ Willow Poetry, Christine @ Poetry for Healing, Paul @ Parallax for the image below!

Photo Credit: An Angel’s Dream – Saphica8
Posted in Books, Dreams, flashback, Quotes

The Transition Past a Fog

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Hope all of you enjoyed New Year festivities! On the last day of of 2018, I opened the front door late at night to check out the early fireworks after I popped my small champagne poppers. We have some eager neighbors who are ready to start the new year with a bang! There was some heavy fog that swirled together with the smoke creating a dense screen of opaque gas.

As much as I like the mystical nature of fog (when I’m not driving), I couldn’t help but feel that the fog symbolically represented the concealment of transitioning to 2019 this time. It was as if the fog was teasing me, “Na-na-na Sa, you are not allowed to peek ahead quite yet! There’s something I want you to pay attention to first!”

At least 2019’s fog seems more playful than the 1980’s killer fog from the horror thriller flick! 😀

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.

Thomas Jefferson

Hold on Thomas Jefferson! I know you’re waving your translucent hands impatiently waiting to get to the meat of the issue, but I’m going to indulge in the past just a little bit before jumping to my dreams for the future! I invited you here because I heard that various educators and editors were taking you out of school textbooks in our region. Interesting debate! You are such an enigmatic founding father in American history!

Anyway, the foggy weather reminded me of a novel I read as a young girl called “Fog Magic” by Julia L. Sauer published in 1943. Greta, a young girl living in Nova Scotia, is able to travel back in time every time her village is covered in fog.

I’ve been looking forward at everything in my life through my front windshield to avoid crashing into anything and enjoy the present. Since it’s foggy outside, I’m just going to park in the woods for a moment and enjoy my warm order of “acceptance, courage, and self-love” venti potion from The Sunshine Artist’s garden cafe.

Part of self-love involves forgiveness of myself for the things I felt like I couldn’t do. There’s an acronym floating around the blogsphere: FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Comparing yourself to others is a harmful habit. Sometimes, I’m in awe of what someone else is doing and wonder if I should being doing that too like say… rock climbing for instance.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

So, it’s time to look at my rear view mirror and reflect back on the highlights of my year, bullet journal style!

Photo credit: Laura Bailey @ All the Shoes I Wear

Overview of 2018

January:

  • Elected Secretary of the Justice Society, Vice-president of Chapter Operations for a business fraternity, Treasurer of Guild of Geeks at my school which simultaneously scared and excited me because I’ve never been elected for so many student officer positions
  • Started a more rigorous fitness and nutrition regimen to help me maintain energy for all those new responsibilities

February:

  • Began planning for several community service projects
  • Learning “Infor: ERP Cloud Software” and COBOL programming language that is causing everyone in my class migraine headaches

March:

  • Happily grew some squash, flowers, lettuce and maintained my garden patch during spring break!
  • Organized a clothing drive for the Battered Women’s Shelter for women’s history month

April:

  • Organized my first video game tournament which gave me many lessons in project & event management
  • Organized speaker series for World Water Day and Earth Day for Environmental club

May:

  • Graduated from a bachelor’s program with a major in information technology, project management and minor in English
  • Humbled to be awarded “Student Leader of the Year” along with other distinguished honors

June:

  • Preparing to be bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding
  • Served a homeless shelter
  • CISCO, CCNA, CompTIA+ cyber security training
  • Participated in a summer reading club

July

  • Started my blog, “Culture Shocks” where I enjoyed writing fiction, taking photographs, and interacting with many bloggers around the world. THANK YOU! It’s been a pleasure!

August

  • Began my year long commitment with a local youth literacy reading buddy program

September

  • Participated in San Japan Convention, cosplayed as Monkey D. Luffy from One Piece anime, and enjoyed time with boyfriend before our 3 month separation as we focused on our studies.

October

  • Started studying graduate admission testing workshops. I was thinking about practicing my essay questions here…

November

  • Handled busiest retail season for Black Friday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years!

December

  • Participated in a fun song challenge on my blog which hid my incredibly packed holiday schedule. Believe me, it helped tremendously! 😀

Goals for 2019

After that bullet list, you’d think I’d just want to find ways to relax for 2019! Now that’s an idea! In my last Q&A, I said I wanted to remove some clutter. One evening, I noticed that Netflix featured a show with master organizer: “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo”. Guess my goal is everyone else’s! I will ponder on these quotes while cleaning and trying out a few things from the #KonMariMethod.

For my blog (same, some tweaks)

  • Book/Movie/Restaurant reviews
  • Crafts/Art/Drawing/Painting/Sketch
  • Fiction/Poems/Stories
  • Questions/Responses/Thoughts
  • Photographs/Challenges/Prompts

For my personal life

  • Transitioning to a new job/career
  • More studies- Tech certifications
  • Read at least one book each month
  • Spending more time with family and friends
  • Sleep more often. Make sure I get enough rest.
  • Dream up new dreams throughout the year!
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Posted in Crafts, Culture

#FOWC – My Caricature

A few months ago, I was stressed out from my own studies, I sometimes manage by heading to the gym on campus and putting on some boxing gloves and pounding a bag for a while to help me refocus. I know I don’t really look like the boxer type, but this activity helps me. 🙂

Photo Credit: Pixabay

One day, a caricature artist arrived at my school to help students de-stress from midterms and other various tests.

I thought it would be fun spending five to ten minutes in front of an artist as she draws me looking frazzled before lunch.

It was a brief moment of indulgence as time is of the essence during testing season. Yet, I never had a caricature made for myself before!

So THIS is what I looked like when I’m stressed! Guess the artist didn’t really capture the turmoil in my mind too well! 😀

Hooray for de-stressors!

In response to: