Dec 28, 2011

A Happy End to a New Year

I am not one to believe in the power of prayer or in miracles.

By  aronki using the Creative Common license
I had a very Roman Catholic upbringing that included going to Catholic school, celebrating all the Catholic holidays and performing all the Catholic sacraments.

Some 15 years ago, Catholic school ended and so did my Catholic self. The rituals were just that. Monotonous babble for the barren and boring.

Until recently, when I took to reciting the rosary.

My mother had always encouraged me to pray to our Lady during hard times. A few weeks ago, for some strange, unexplained reason, I finally took her advice and did just that. By the third decade of Hail Marys, I felt fully focused, devoted and at peace.

What I enjoy most about prayer is not asking for things I want for myself, but praying for others--for friends enduring personal hardships, to family members undergoing serious health problems.

I am absolutely amazed when my prayers are actually answered. Astounded, not for the miracles themselves, but for the opportunity to savor life's joy, to embrace those enjoyable moments, and feel grateful for the goodness evident in our lives.

2011 will be the year I resumed a childhood tradition--an archaic ritual that has helped me see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.

Happy New Year!

Oct 11, 2011

Feeling Guilt-Free in a Work-Life Balance

I've spent the last month submerging myself in work and several side projects. Though I have felt an immense sense of satisfaction investing time and energy on matters that personally matter to me, I'm also ashamed to admit I have grown increasingly fearful--not of personal successes or failures--but scared that all this work takes me away from my family.

The Hubby is supportive and continually encourages me to pursue my interests. His main concern, like mine, is deciphering the source of this sudden anxiety.

Finding a work-life balance has been a continual struggle for me. I love work for the opportunities to problem-solve, interact with others. Meanwhile, I deeply cherish my family, being a mother and a wife.

The Hubby and I divide housework and child care responsibilities fairly. We both have jobs we like. Yet, he seems to be a doing a better job at being in the moment, at home, at work.

I came across this infographic from the Captivate Network that demonstrates how men are happier at work-life balance than women. How come?

Another study from researchers from the University of Toronto in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior suggests that it could be because "women are able to juggle their work and family lives just as well as men, but they feel more guilty...This guilt seems to be at the heart of their distress."

Admittedly, I am guilty of feeling guilty. I realize that I can choose not to expend so much energy towards pleasing the Hubby or meeting others' expectation--real or self-imposed. Rather, why not take pride in myself, my accomplishments, my role in caring for my family? Of finding peace, separate from others, from within.

Oct 8, 2011

Food-Laden Feats

I love to cook. I am not particularly talented in the cooking department. I just love to try new things, new recipes, and particularly feeding people.

This week, I'm putting my love to test, and hosting my sister's baby shower. There will be plenty of people, plenty of food, and here's hoping happy tummies.

I've spent weeks plotting possible menus and fearing food failure. I think about the endeavor I'm about to take and whether it will ever meet the culinary standards set by my mother, mother-in-law, and their mothers' mother.

But again, they all had to start somewhere. And for me what better time than now, to feed the people I love. Especially feeding the biggest and most beautiful belly in the house...and tiniest inside.

Cooking is like love; it should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
― Julia Child

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