Behind That Scarlet Color

Behind that scarlet dress is a woman who loved with all her heart and gave up all comforts so she can be with me in a place so unfamiliar and away from everyone she knew all her life. For love, for family, she braved the worst and stood strong in her vows 12 years ago, “For better, for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death do as part.”

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Behind the scarlet shirt is just a man who does get hurt, gets worn out, gets scared of future’s uncertainty and feel more than others will ever know or realize. He tries hard to be everything to everyone yet it seems it’s never enough, was never enough. Sometimes, he just wants to run as fast as he could hoping to escape all the pain, the wrong choices, all the disappointing broken trust and friendship, hoping to find lasting peace and happiness at the end of the finish line.

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Behind the scarlet balloon is a little boy who brought so much laughter, joy and adventure to his mom and dad. Everyday, their world is full of life filled with living colors because of him. The little boy reminded them of how it is to be young at heart, to play and have fun, to celebrate simple moments and blessings. He even taught them to dream once more and believe with all their heart that it can come true.

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Life got so busy lately and making a post seems more challenging than usual. I’d been supporting my wife in her journey towards better Health. Together, we embraced a Wellness program that is transforming our health and our lives for the better. It helped us to be more positive, optimistic, hopeful, energetic, calm, more at peace, happier. Oh, and 10 pounds lighter too. We’d been doing things together as a team from food planning and preparation to elliptical cardio exercises. I will be sharing our story soon but for now, I just want all my blogger friends to know that I always have you all in my thoughts and prayers.

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Before I go, take one scarlet balloon to celebrate life. Take a second one to celebrate you and a third to celebrate the people most dear to you. Whisper your best wishes. Now, let go and let them fly their highest.

Thank you for spending your time with me. Best of blessings to you and your family.

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Refracting Ebola Scare By Celebrating The Good Life

Just a few hours from the busy Texas Medical Center in Houston is the deadly Ebola virus waiting to unleash an epidemic. The past two weeks, health workers are being debrief of all the precautionary measures as well as the likelihood of being caught in the middle of a mass chaos. It’s like watching the movie Outbreak only this time, it’s for real.

AustinAs an ER nurse, I belong to the front line group. If ever I have a positive Ebola patient, I have to leave my family and be quarantined for 21 days. Am I scared? Terrified! But this is the profession I’ve chosen and so did the millions of health workers in America. Can I ran from it? No. Can I overcome my fear of it? Absolutely.

This weekend, instead of dwelling on fear and negativity, me and my family went to Steiner Ranch in Austin to celebrate my son’s 9th Birthday with our closest friends and relatives. This weekend, we chose to celebrate the good life and all its blessings.

AustinWe chose to laugh and have fun instead of dwelling on the Ebola hysteria and paranoia. We chose to trust God and believe that he will protect us from all kinds of harm.

AustinSo, allow me to celebrate with you my 2-day Fall weekend escape in Austin.  A place which in so many ways been our little oasis and sanctuary for the past two years.

AustinOur boat party begins at Emerald Point Marina in Lake Travis. No one drove a boat before, so bear with me as we listen carefully to the instructions of Mr. Boat Expert from Just For Fun watercraft rental. Better safe than sorry, right?

AustinWe’re simply going to cruise slowly for 2 hours. It’s meant to be a relaxing ride and not a pre-Halloween scare. Every now and then, we’ll experience some rough waves as other boats pass on either sides. The boat will rock for several seconds but after that, it’s back to smooth sailing.

Time to sing “Happy Birthday,” and blow the candle. My 9-year old gave a shy yet happy smile as he blew the candle and made his wish.

AustinWho wants a slice of the Lemon Bundt Cake? It so good that I guarantee all your worries will melt away with each bite. Make it two? No problem. We got enough cake for all.

AustinThe Pancit and Pork BBQ are both delicious. Pancit is a Filipino noodle cuisine commonly served during special occasions and gatherings. It symbolizes long life and good health both for the celebrant and the guests. Let’s raise our Pancit and say, “To a long, good life!”

AustinOur day’s fun is not over yet. After the boat ride, we are heading to the best Pumpkin Patch in Marble Falls called Sweet Berry Farm. Choose your own pumpkin and experience for yourself the magic of Autumn.

AustinMy son and his cousin had a great time playing at the Pumpkin Patch.

AustinJust before we left the farm, we found our perfect pumpkin. Upon reaching home, we proceeded to carve our Jack-O-Lanterns. When night came, we placed excitedly our candle-lit Jack-O-Lanterns outside the front door.

AustinSunday, it’s brunch date at Steiner Ranch Steakhouse. The roast beef and smoked salmon is a must try. While savoring the food over great stories of old memories and treasured friendship, enjoy the panoramic view of Lake Travis while listening to live Country Music.

AustinIt was hard to leave. It was hard to say goodbye. We drove back to Houston renewed and ready to face any scare life may bring, Ebola included. When I look at these pictures and remember the great times we had in Austin, I am reminded that life is good no matter how many bad or scary days I had.  That life is meant to be lived, savored, celebrated every moment and chances of everyday.

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This week’s Photo Challenge is all about Refraction. Mine hopes to overcome adversities with goodness and positivity. May not be much but it’s a start. Tomorrow, I’m driving to the Medical Center to learn the proper use of Personal Protective Equipment against Ebola. Scared? Nah!

Wishing you all a good, long, happy life…

 

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Nighttime At The Plaza

It was more than just any plaza. It was a plaza of my youth. I used to pass by it everyday riding the tricycle on my way to school. In its center which most local folks call a rotunda, sat a water fountain. Through the years, the plaza became the main venue for the town’s yearly much awaited events and holidays. Through the years it heard so many wishes and many lovers sweet promises to one another. At nighttime, when the lights turns on and the traffic slows down, nostalgic memories comes alive and takes you back in time.

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After visiting the Adoration Chapel by the church to thank God for their grandma’s recovery, the twins excitedly showed my son their newly renovated water fountain by the plaza’s rotunda. The water playfully caught the colorful lights as it dropped into the bottom of the fountain. It was beautiful and yes, it made me feel a bit nostalgic.

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While enjoying a quick trip down memory lane, my son and his cousins were busy running and goofing around the plaza. Just before we left, they huddled together, whispered something and laughed. Years from now, they will be looking at the same fountain, celebrating their special bond of friendship and have their very own travel back in time. Yes, all these happened and can happen at the plaza when the Sun goes down and nighttime takes over.

 Images taken using iPhone 5S camera enhanced with Backlit Scene effect of Camera+

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Love Endures Forever

There will be times in life that we will endure pain, hardship, sickness and suffering. There will be times that our burdens seems to much to bear. There will be times when giving up seems like an easy way out. Despite of the 7 billion people in our planet, there will be times when we will feel all alone.

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“Sometimes we get so focused with our problems we failed to notice that someone made sure we overcome those problems. Those times we felt so tired to walk one more step further, our loving Father carried us till we are strong and ready to travel the many roads ahead.”

In all these times, someone helped us held on to hope just a bit longer. In all these times, someone gave their heart so we can have ours back. In all these time, someone never let go of our hand and walked us through the end.

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Love endures forever. When I thought I lost so many of my dreams and my heart-broken into hundred pieces, two familiar hands never let go. Their love and patience helped me to remember what it felt like to dream excitedly. They help me create new dreams that now I don’t have to walk on my own. Love and family, a man’s true treasure. The rest the world is trying to serve in a golden plate, simply a temporary diversion to what is truly real and important. Love and family made me able to stand up and run with a big smile on my face.

God, family, true friends, they help us find our faith back on humanity and to our very own self. They help us endure all, survive all. When we felt our worst, they made us feel our best.

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Endurance is not all about physically strength but rather of knowing we are loved and capable of loving. There are three things that will endure and last forever. Faith, hope and love. Among these three, the greatest is love. Often, it takes at least one major life changing event to realize how true these words are. Imagine if we have more.

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My son and his cousins watched this man draw a house on the sand. Building a house is one thing, turning it into a home is a totally different story. Which one will endure the test of time? Which one can we carry with us when it’s time to leave and say goodbye?

So, no matter what, hang on a bit longer. No matter what, don’t let go. No matter what don’t give up on your love ones. No matter what, never lose hope. You will endure. We will endure…together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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