Saccharine Irony

This site is a compilation of fluid thoughts, a collection of poetry, random glimpses of humor and tragedy, spontaneous notions of an extremely sensitive mind.

This Thing Called Faith January 28, 2011

Filed under: Life — Aimee @ 4:38 am
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Faith is everything. It is not an illusion, it is not something that you are compelled to believe in because others tell you to, it does not relate to religion alone. Faith is the silent force that leads you from one place to another, it is the strength that you unknowingly hold on to when nothing else is working. It builds hope, it bolsters peace, it keeps humility, it nurtures love. Faith is not the way of the blind or of fools. What good is your wisdom if you have not faith?

Faith is everything because you have it in you all this time, even without you knowing about it.

You retire to bed each night knowing that you will wake up the next morning. – That is faith.

You send your toddler to school knowing that she’ll have a happy time wrestling toys with other kids, and then getting home safely later in the afternoon to tell you all about it. – That is faith.

You choose someone to love not knowing for certain if things will work for the long term, but you try to make things work anyway because you know you are doing the right thing, and because you are happy. – That is faith.

You try to craft your life the best way you can, but you know you don’t control anything. You are a speck in the universe, an important speck may be, but a speck nonetheless. Your wisdom has limits. You don’t have all the answers. But you believe a greater force is at work. – That is faith.

People build bridges, design skyscrapers, make discoveries, go to work day in and day out, save for the rainy days, get married, have babies, plan for their retirement.

Why? Because they know the earth will keep on spinning, that sunrise will give way to sunset, then sunrise again. Because they know their children will grow up to be adults and bless them with grandchildren.

Without any spoken assurances.

Faith. Silent and entrenched. You fade away when you don’t have it.

There is no assurance that the sun will rise tomorrow, or that your toddler will come home after a long day at school, or that your love story will have a happy ending. But you believe in your heart that they will and unknowingly you do things that lead to another sunrise, another day spent in shrieking laughter, another page in that story. That is faith.

Things may not be at their peachiest right now, you may have a pressing question that doesn’t have the slightest semblance of an answer, or you may be at an ugly crossroad just when everyone else is having a grand time. Faith allows you to see beyond any goal you have set, any expectation you have ever made, any dream you have designed. You may not have gotten that promotion at work or your friend may have tossed your feelings recklessly, but you know eventually you’ll have your place in the sun, you’ll have your time. Things will be fine.

If you have not faith, you’ll never get to that peachy place you have in your head.

Everything else is secondary.

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How to be a Happier Person

Filed under: confessions,Life,Love — Aimee @ 1:04 am
Tags: , , ,

Because my mornings these days are unusually cold – it’s been raining since the year started – I usually spend a little more time in bed, curled up, sometimes with eyes closed, oftentimes staring into the windows, thinking of random things. Yes there are people I think about more than the others – okay one person in particular these days, but that’s another story – and then without realizing how it really happens – but it does – my thoughts make a detour and I realize I’m a whole lot happier now.

I’m no guru whatsoever but I will list here some of the ways that can make you a much happier, more balanced person. I realized all these the previous year, and almost all of these discoveries I made through my own personal journey. After all they say that when you are able to get through a most devastating heartbreak, you can get through almost anything. So here:

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from gettyimages

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1. Stop building walls. Walls can make you feel safe, but they won’t make you any happier. Be as open as you possibly can, but guard yourself. People will always disappoint you, walls or no walls.

2. Throw away your expectations. The biggest culprit to our many little unhappinesses and even the huge heartbreaking ones is having way too many expectations. We often love because we want to be loved back, we become good to people because we expect them to be good to us. And while reciprocation will definitely make our lives a lot pleasanter, what happens when none is given? Unhappiness.

3. Give help. Generously, happily. So you have to put in extra hours at work, without the assurance of overtime pay? Or a friend is in desperate need of a wedding planner and she has enlisted you as one of the volunteers. If we give help generously, happily, we become happier. Why? Because you realize you are needed, you have skills. You are not a waste of space.

4. Pray. It doesn’t matter which faith you belong to, says a friend. When you pray, in praise, adoration, thanksgiving, or supplication, you recognize that a greater power is at work. But then you can’t just simply pray. You have to have faith; you have to believe in your prayers. Praying without faith is an insult.

5. Feed on your faith. Stop your senseless worrying and feed your faith. Did your worrying ever get you anywhere? Nope, except maybe at the ER or perhaps  at your friend’s house while you’re bawling over your imagined anxieties.

6. Laugh. Find hilarity in everything- when your Mom is in a bad mood, when you’re stuck in traffic just when you’ve decided never to be late again, or when people are less sensitive than usual. Try to distance yourself from these things, and since you know things fall into place eventually, laugh.

7. Be grateful. It has been said that when you don’t see your blessings as blessings, they become curses. How chillingly true. So be thankful for everything. Be thankful that the sun streams through your window, be thankful that your phone is working, be thankful that you have your eyesight, be thankful that you have your friends. Or that you have a crazy family. Be thankful even when things are not looking too good. Everything, yes everything, is a reason for gratitude.

8. Forgive in a heartbeat. Let go of all your grudges. Allow yourself to be angry but never for far too long. Forgive people, forgive circumstances, and best of all forgive yourself. Love cannot exist without forgiveness.

9. Love the world. You can never be happy without love, without knowing how to love, without knowing how to love without selfishness, without expectations, without wanting anything in return. And the only way you can love the world is to freely give love. Love everyone. Love your friends, love your colleagues, love the people who exasperate you, love your annoying neighbor, love those who are of a different faith,  even learn to love the people you know you will be meeting in this lifetime but have not met yet.

I know loving people you don’t necessarily like is a huge paradox. But you don’t have to all at once. Oftentimes, the willingness to do so is enough. And when you’ve learned to love, without reservations, without necessarily picking who to love and who not to love, you are no longer captive to your expectations, your need for reciprocation, your craving for attention. You love just because. No whys, buts, and ifs.

In the end, only love can make us happy. Because to love is to be courageous, to love means putting your heart out for everyone, to be fish and fodder for everyone (I got this from the corporate worship last night and I was moved). To love is to accept people for who they are and who they are not and to choose to love them anyway.

The scared ones never get to know what love is like, and so the scared ones are unhappy. And if you have only this life to live, wouldn’t it be a wiser choice to live it in happiness, in peace, in friendship, in faith? In love?

So cheer up, have courage, love, and be a sunshine to everyone. You just might end up doing at least one person, possibly even yourself,  a really huge favor. 🙂

 

Officially an Aunt… Almost January 14, 2011

Filed under: Life,Love — Aimee @ 2:50 pm
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adorable booties from dreamstime.com

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Anytime now, I’ll officially be an Auntie. In a few hours Rigaux/Rigo Matteo (I vote for Rigo, though my brother is all for the more complicated, French Rigaux), my younger brother’s firstborn will be greeting this world all pink-faced and slimy. Not that I’ll be around during the delivery, but you know how new born babies are when they gasp for air for the very first time: faces all crunched up, fists closed tightly, their toothless mouths a gaping hole. At least that’s how I see them on TV and in pictures and on YouTube.

But I bet Matteo is going to be really, really, handsome. And smart. And charming. And a future heart breaker. (See, I’m taking this “Auntie” role very, very seriously.) I can’t wait to read stories to him, show him his first constellation, or give him my first lecture on how to treat girls properly. And how to break their hearts ever so gently, smartly, so that they end up thanking him in the end.

For Matteo, my love, I have these wishes for you:

1. That you will be blessed with excellent health and grow up to be a smart, precocious little boy.

2. That you will choose a sport and strive to be good at it.

3. That you will be excellent both in Math and in English.

4. That you will love books.

5. That you will follow your heart and your dreams and your happiness.

6. That you will respect and love your Mom and Dad at all times.

7. That you will be a responsible, loving sibling, son, friend, boyfriend, husband, citizen, colleague, team player.

8. That you will allow your Auntie Ai and Auntie Tics to spoil you, without making you rotten.

9. That you will know God and understand your faith and discover that in the end, only love and kindness really matter.

I love you, Matteo. I hope WordPress will still be around 18 or 20 years from now so you can read this post, written on the eve of your birthday.

🙂

Happy birthday, sweetie.

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Update:

My brother has decided on Rigaux. Oh, well. The parent always gets to have the last say. :-p

 

Books, Chocolate, Art December 29, 2010

Filed under: books,Life,Love,Women — Aimee @ 4:20 am
Tags: , , ,

Yesternight I went to Odessa’s house to drop off the shoes which she’ll paint for me. She’s one of those people whose creativity I deeply admire, and as I’ve known her since primary school, she’s also one of my oldest friends. As a Christmas present of sorts, I gave her the critically-acclaimed book, The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. A story about a daughter’s love and longing for her mother and the unexpected places we find love in this lifetime, this book is high on my list of favorites. I hope she’ll love it as much as I did.

And oh, she gave me this too:

Cadbury Caramello. Yay! Right now it’s still in the fridge, sitting all pretty. I’ve yet to finish the Toblerones, Snickers, and a bit of the Ferrero which my sister took home. And then this dark, chewy beauty. Chocolate, how I love thee!

 

The Peacock, Patricia Ariel

I’ll post a pic of the painted shoes here next time. I’ve chosen a peacock pattern for her to paint, and am positive she’ll outdo herself, like she always does. 🙂

 

The Year That Was December 22, 2010

Years from now, if I had to look back on a particular year in my life I will definitely find 2010 to be one of the most remarkable. Not because I’ve spent this year traveling (which I really intend to do very soon) or that I’ve finally come home to my soul mate (a.k.a fallen in love, for good :p) or that I’ve finally found my one place under the sun.

Let’s just say that for this year alone, I’ve learned everything I should have and could have ever learned in the past 27 years or so.  Not everything of course; I know the lessons will never stop coming, but for this year, I know that I have gained more than I have lost. And I believe with my whole heart that I will gain back everything that I may have lost in the past.

First, let me tell you about my control issues. I’m a planner, the most fastidious you may have ever seen. I’m fond of lists too, and in my mind I used to have my future all planned out. Grocery lists, things-to-do lists, things-to-shop-for lists,  marriage plans, vacation lists, list, list, list, list. I plan not merely for the sake of organizing, but more on being able to retain my control. No planner is ever without a list and I’m the planner queen of all planner queens.

I demand control in almost anything and if I don’t get it, well you HAD TO give it to me. Many people who love me know this. And this is why they spend half their time loving me and half their time hating me. Me and my affinity for control and everything that comes with it.

But then I realize that control is selfishness. I was a fool to realize that I control anything or anyone. Yes, I can plan, I can list, I can look forward to a future that isn’t here yet, but I cannot control anything. If it comes, it comes. If not, then why should I lose sleep over it? Why should we sleep over things that are not meant to be? I’ve been juvenile and I’ve been selfish and this year I decided to grow up or at least try to.

I don’t know whether I have gotten rid of all my control issues, but what I’m sure of is that I’ve stopped asking questions. And I’ve stopped demanding the answers right here and right now. I’ve stopped wondering why there are so many questions, or why some things are and some things aren’t.

I’ve finally learned what faith is all about.

I look back on my life and now see all the blessings I’d been given and up until now I get teary-eyed thinking about how ungrateful I had been. No, not teary-eyed, I bawl my eyes out. Seriously. The very reason for my unhappiness had been my ungratefulness. And pride. And for this year, I’ve finally decided to throw them into the shredder and let go.

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Immediately after celebrating the New Year festivities in January of this year, I went on a hiking trip with my brother and his male friend, after having visited about seven or eight churches within the city. My brother then had a special petition for the heavens, but I joined them for a completely different reason. I wanted to pray for a meaningful year, I wanted to offer my thank-yous, and I wanted inner peace. The hiking trip had been the last of our sojourn, and to get to a hilly chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe, we had to traverse a long stream about eighteen times or nine times back and forth. So it was a short hike for a few minutes and then a battle with the currents for longer minutes. We were wet thigh-high, and we had to carry wooden sticks to keep our balance. The small chapel was located on a hilly area, and at the distance you can make out the mountains and some horses and the thick forest. It was a quiet place for meditation and prayer and I remember lighting a few candles as I whispered my gratitude and contrition, my pain and my hopes.

At that time, I wanted to do something to mark out the new year, I wanted to greet another year by doing something concrete about my spirituality. And now that the year is about to draw to a close, I could not have picked a better way to embrace 2010, and for the coming year, I expect to mark out its beginning by doing the same thing. Visit churches, pray, hike, traverse rivers, light candles, and pray.

Because really, we are not here to control anything, or to ask questions, or to demand the answers. We only do the best that we can, nothing more. We can only offer thanks to a Master and a Creator who has designed this universe, this world so beautifully and skillfully that even the brightest minds find themselves perplexed and asking even more questions.

And yes, we are here to love. To love and love and love. To love everyone without exception, to love without ceasing, to love without pride, and to love without shame.

After all, we get what we give. And if only everyone gave out love, all the world would have love.

🙂

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

 

Yay! December 16, 2010

Filed under: books,Movies — Aimee @ 3:52 am
Tags: , , ,

 

 

still on the first few pages 🙂

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my most recent fave movie, you can say that 🙂

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Many thanks to my pal, Matt for giving me this book as a belated birthday present and as an advance Christmas gift. And many thanks to my best friend, Estee, for lending me the DVD. The movie had me crying the whole time, tears, snot, and all. And while the book is fun to read it is nonetheless loaded with so much insight, and am pretty sure some tears and snot affair will be going on as well.

Blame it on Liz Gilbert. I’m no longer embarrassed to admit that my 2010 has actually been a year full of tears, snot, sniffles, and bunched-up tissues. Always a cry baby, always been. But then again, what is transformation without cleansing, without tears?

Reading this book and watching the movie is the perfect conclusion for a year that had me on my knees almost the entire time, thanking a God that has been faithful to me this entire time, a God that gave me the kind of love I will perhaps never find again in this lifetime at a time when I did not deserve it, a God who had to break my heart so that I may be whole again.

There’s been no Italy-India-Indonesia journey for me (maybe someday!), yes, but my internal/spiritual travels for this year can be comparable to Gilbert’s own adventure.

And I could not thank my GOD enough. 🙂

 

 

27 Things I Did and Learned On my 27th Year October 12, 2010

Filed under: confessions,Events — Aimee @ 5:00 am
Tags: , , ,

In a few weeks I will be turning 28.

The past year had been stormy, heartbreaking, gratifying, and liberating all at the same time. I had my share of heartbreaks, learned a few things, accomplished some, and made a few worthwhile discoveries along the way.

Before I turn a year older, I would like to share a few things which had made me a year wiser – these are nothing more than the ramblings of a girl who lives inside her head most of the time – and some things which afforded me a few laughs here and there. So here goes.

I spent my 27th year…

1. attending my high school 10th year reunion.

2. learning how to swim.

3. dressing up for three weddings – my brother’s included.

4. learning that decent guys are a rare breed.

5. hoarding books.

6. visiting the melancholic mountains again, after two years.

7. trying to forgive myself. 🙂

8. hitting the jogging oval during summer afternoons.

9. attempting to get drunk. Beer and margaritas, anyone?

10. allowing myself some spiritual growth.

11. baking! Muffins, cupcakes, sweet rolls, and chocolate desserts.

12. helping organize my best friend’s wedding.

13. meeting up with friends for coffee/hot chocolate/tea and very deep conversations.

14. learning that mothers are not perfect, but you can love them with your whole heart anyway.

15. wishing I could spend a week in Europe.

16. failing to attend at least one of two very important weddings of two of my girlfriends, held on the same date, with the same color motif, but oceans and miles apart. 😦

17. making new friendships and deepening old ones. Though I have to say that some friendships have gone sour, too.

18. going out on a date, flirting with a player, and discovering that pointless dating, flirting, and playing are just that – pointless. (!)

19. hoarding summery, frilly tops. It’s perpetually summer in the country when there are no rains.

20. obsessing over my skin. When you’re nearing thirty you better have some strict skin care regimen to keep those pores from expanding and those dark eye circles from magically appearing during odd snapshot moments. (Wait, did I just say thirty? How did I get so old all of a sudden? :-()

20. witnessing drunk girls striptease-ing at some lousy bar for some lousy prize money. The things that alcohol makes you do, tsk.

21. going gaga over Glee!

22. trying to keep my weight down. I’d like to think I’m doing good. Bye bye McDonalds!

23. curbing my shopaholic tendencies.

24. wanting to be a pastry chef.

25. allowing myself a good cry when I need to.

26. Facebooking and blogging. Haha.

27. discovering, through Paulo Coelho, that true freedom is not a place, a hobby, or a person. “The true experience of freedom is having the most important thing in the world without owning it.”

Happy birthday to me. 🙂