A New Year, A Fresh Start

Happy New Year everyone! May this year bring you more of the good and the best you had last year, and newer, brighter things to come. Blessings to us all!

Make things happen — because everything is possible — with faith in yourself and in God.

Yes ~~ a brand new year is upon us, and it is that time when most of us think of making a fresh start, whether it be in our personal or work life, or in our relationships, or whatever aspect or area of ourselves needing a fresh sweep….

Well, just like my blog — the previous year was not exactly a productive or inspiring one for me as a personal blogger. I felt like my blog was just drifting along, or even drowning in a sea of so many excellent personal blogs out there, albeit some inspiring posts of mine here and there.

So the need to shake off the dust of mediocrity — aha!

So I thought of doing another round of tweaking — and it starts with my blog’s name, which has undergone so many changes, hoping that by doing so, it can motivate me to write and share more inspiring posts.

From now on, it will be known as “Ms Mach Garden of Thoughts & Inspiration” — a mix-match, or potpourri of whatever thoughts, musings, reflections I have at the moment; it can also be – mostly perhaps, my responses to various writing and photography prompts that I come across. Or sometimes, i can do some curated articles on self-help topics. So it is indeed a mix of this and that.

Why a ‘Garden of Thoughts & Inspiration’ — when one thinks of a garden, one sees a mix of greens and flowering plants, of shrub and trees. One thinks of growth, of life, of energy and vitality — which I imagine and hope my blog to be.

But why Ms Mach — well, it’s a sort of word play on the phrase mix and match — and I find it interesting and hopefully, catchy enough to capture as wide an audience as possible.

My purpose is to share with my dear readers – whoever you might be, from whatever part of the world you might be – this “Garden of  Thoughts & Inspiration” of mine, in the hope you may find a nugget or two of insight or inspiration — to help you on your own life journey.

Now – I’ve got myself this inspiring planner for 2018, entitled “Everything Is Possible.” I like it because it is designed to help me set and accomplish my goals for the year.

And one of my goals is to create a fresh start for “Ms Mach Garden of Thoughts & Inspiration” and bring it to a new level. Hope to accomplish this with you my readers along the way.

Here’s sharing a quote from this planner:

“You can’t go back and make a brand new start, but you can start now to make a brand new ending.”


A Temporary Relish

As my response to last week’s photography prompt by WordPress’ The Daily Post ~~ Temporary~~  am sharing here this photo of a round platter of colorful, varied pungent yet tasty fita bread sauces, which we recently came upon and enjoyed at a Persian-inspired restaurant. Because of its savory taste and aroma, it was gone as soon as it was set on the table.


Life’s Golden Hour

The golden hour occurs twice each day, in the early morning just after dawn’s blue hour. At the first golden hour of the day, the sun has started to rise in the east and cast its glow.

At morn’s golden hour, you feel a tinge of warmth, if you happen to be outdoors, and if looking from the inside, you can observe everything to be cool yet there is a promise of a bright, warm or sweltering day.

In the late afternoon, the day’s golden hour occurs just before the blue hour this time. The scorching sun is no more, its warmth already tame upon your skin, its reflection bathes the environment with long soft beams of light.

This day’s afterglow lends a certain radiance and coolness around that sorts of warms the heart — so unlike that of the morning’s golden hour.

Just to clarify,  I’ve only started to know and appreciate this beautiful moment –being a novice photographer, or simply a photography enthusiast who’d like to take photos with a little more skill.

my 1st feeble attempt at the Golden Hour

So my golden hour shots still leave much to be desired — but am enjoying the process of learning. I find myself awaiting this precious moment almost spontaneously.

Afternoon glow

I like how the golden hour creates a different kind of beauty each time, bringing a different color or mood to the surroundings: both a promise and a hope; a call to rise and shine and do your best, and a call to slow down, relax, and hope for another sunny day.

So it is with our life’s golden hour. The rhythm of the golden hour offers something for us to ponder.

Our beautiful moments fleet by and everything in between is just temporary. Things may be good or bad, happy or sad. Yet at the end of the day, there is hope things will become better.  We can always hope — like each day is always beautiful no matter if there is a storm coming our way.

It is just how we deal with what life’s throws at us that sometimes create all the chaos around or within us.

Life’s golden hour is also a time to pause, reflect, and plan to do better and be a better person. Just like I’m finding it inspiring to take better golden hour shots each time I try. Still a long shot for me — as you can see from all these amateur shots — but I keep the hope.

Just trying to catch the glint of the sun upon those structures…

So when you’re feeling a bit down, just look at the sun.





Gazing Through a Window

Eye to eye ~~ like heaven’s gaze upon the earth

My response to this week’s photo challenge: Windows

How serendipitous I thought it was to have caught such cloud formation one afternoon as I was looking through my window. I edited my shot to add a bit more drama to it.  Below is my original shot.

Evening Sky

the twilight sky after it’s been washed by rain
One of the coolest sights you can ever behold…
No moon nor stars;
Just sunset hues of fiery orange and gold;
Smoky greys and cottony whites —
What a dramatic sweep across the once blue heavens,
Now merging fading light and deepening dark
Weeping hearts in wait of an unseen tomorrow
Remain drenched in tears


Unusual Form

Unusual, this week’s photo challenge of The Daily Post ~~

I call this Shamrock my “butterfly” plant, as you can see from its shape,  quite unique for me.

From dusk to early morn, its deep purple petals close to sleep away the night, just like how many flowers do. Its tiny lilac flowers make this plant even more special.

Then one afternoon, perhaps due to the close angle shot I took– my Shamrock “butterfly” plant gave me a picture of an unusual form. See it?


9 Nuggets of Wisdom Harvested from Farmville

For some years, I was busy planting crops, fruit trees, vegetables and a rich variety of plants on my moderate-sized farm, which I also surrounded with ornamental plants, shrubs, and trees to make my farm look inviting.

I also raised farm animals, like hens, cows, pigs, horses, and took care of some domesticated animals like cats. Through time, I was able to grow my farm, even building structures inside, until it looked more like an estate fit for royalty. <BIG Laugh>

I did ALL these on most nights, and more so, on the weekends. Full of excitement, I’d rush home from school each evening, hurriedly finishing some chores, and teacher’s stuff, so I could sit at my desk, relax in front of my laptop to begin playing the much in-demand game at the time: FARMVILLE, by the Zynga Company. The original version, no less.

Each harvest I made, each acquisition and expansion I did, would of course send thrills up and down my spine – as if it were real. You know that feeling? If only my students then knew how their strict teacher who’d make them cry in class would transform into a giddy child with this game. And guess who would share my excitement of farming? Who else, no other than my ever patient and bemused Dad…Hahaha!

At first, he would only indulge me as he listened nonchalantly to my endless tales of feeding my livestock, tilling the soil, planting, watering, fertilizing, then reaping the fruits of my diligent efforts, and of decorating and expanding my beloved farm.

Then as he saw how little by little my farm was growing, and getting more enticing by the day, my Dad also became just as thrilled. As if my farm were real, and my life depended on it.

Yet, Farmville was also a tiring game in the sense that you’d have to be patient in waiting for the new crops, plants and trees to grow, blossom, and bear forth so that you can harvest heaps and heaps of blooms, vegetables, and fruits — for your own use, or for storage, or for sale in your own yard. You’d have to do all the things a real farmer does on his real farm, and more.

With that said, I did come to harvest a lot – a bushel of life’s wisdom. I never realized it at first, but deeper into the game, I thought this might really be the goal of the game. So, here are some nuggets to share.

  • Patience. That’s the #1 lesson I learned. You cannot hurry things if you want to achieve your goals well. No shortcuts. You need to be thorough. Otherwise, your crops wilt; your animals die.
  • Perseverance. You need to persevere no matter how hard the task is. If you want to reach your goal, don’t quit.
  • Focus. When you have a goal to reach, distract yourself not by any challenges you meet. Instead, use them to your advantage, as you keep moving forward to your aim. Also, do not listen to naysayers. Just keep moving on.
  • Cooperation. You cannot grow or prosper by your own efforts alone. It is often through joint efforts with others — your family, neighbors, community — that you can achieve your shared vision, shared goals. Harvest is sweet, as you reap the fruits of shared toil.
  • Diligence. Water the plants of your dreams with constant work and tireless effort. You cannot succeed in life if you easily give up or fail to do your part. Your dreams will not just fall down from the sky.
  •  Creativity. Living life is an art, so be creative in your approach in building up your dreams as you make them come true. Strive to be unique. Use your own individuality to express yourself and inspire others to better themselves.
  • Helpfulness. You gain more when you help others achieve their goals. Not only will you build good relationships and good vibes, but you can count on others when time comes you need help.
  • Time consciousness. Far from just the cliché that the early bird catches the worm, being on time for all your important activities – getting to school or work, seeing a doctor at a first sign of illness, resolving family or money issues, and even throwing garbage out — can save you from troubles.
  • Investing wisely. Farmville has shown that without spending more, you cannot grow your farm. So it is in real life, you cannot become rich or wealthy if you do not invest your money wisely. You need to cultivate the mindset of an entrepreneur so you can harvest even in lean times.

So there you are…just some of the choicest harvests from my “farm” @Farmville. I don’t think there’s any other online, social media game that can come quite close to it.




Embracing Aloneness

I enjoy being alone. I’ve gotten used to it by now.

With adult children leading their own busy lives, this is just how my life is. Being alone most of the time.

But because I come from a big family myself, sometimes I can’t help feeling lonely.

I still long for company at mealtimes, or when I feel a conversation with another human being is more palatable than talking with my plants, or the occasional lizard that makes itself visible to me.

This reminds me. Lizards are such friendly creatures. They mean no harm when they jump at you. You only scare them. That’s why.

A lizard can recognize you as somebody familiar – and if it knows you are not out to harm it, will even greet you when it sees you. How? It looks you straight in the eye; does not run away from you. It even inches closer to you — all because it knows it’s safe with you. You are a friend.

Going back to being alone, I find ways to balance the need for companionship by staying connected with family and friends. Plus the fact I still have a myriad of things to do to occupy my hours with.

I remember taking photographs of lizards in the house, and one lovely creature at a mall. You see, I feel like I’ve developed a special bond with these quiet beings that they’ve become among my willing subjects!

Truth is I do feel really lonely at times, but I just amuse myself in that way. Soon my loneliness dissipates; I’m back again to savoring my alone-time, and embracing my aloneness.

With that said, being alone doesn’t necessarily make you feel lonely. But this can also be hard for some, I understand, like parents who have to deal with the empty-nest syndrome, for example.

So here comes the value of having your own life. Of keeping your own circle of friends.

Of dreaming and fulfilling your goals; of pursuing your own interests and passions.

Carve your own life.

Most of all, do Not become too dependent on others for your personal happiness. Sounds harsh?

Think again.

If you are able to embrace your aloneness, you become stronger. Instead of depending too much on others for becoming happy, you can draw upon your interior strength and joy.

Do not define yourself as being somebody for another one – that is, you are not just a daughter, nor a sibling, nor a wife or a mother – to the point of losing your own identity.

Do not limit yourself to the roles you’ve designated for yourself, or to the expectations society has of you. You are your own person.

On the other hand, you may have company, but if you are just like a moving shadow to people around you, then that must be quite hurtful. Have you ever experienced being treated this way?  It can happen. You may or may not have a role in it. Not everything can be under your control, too.

The point is, you need to grow from your need to be with people around you. You should learn to appreciate your solitude. As one apt quote says: “But many of us seek community solely to escape the fear of being alone. Knowing how to be solitary is central to the art of loving. When we can be alone, we can be with others without using them as a means of escape.” 

To sum up, you can be alone without being lonely. You can find ways to still remain happy and fulfilled just being by your lonesome. Accept being alone, and become enriched by your new experiences.



Cherished Habit

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts.” –Soren Kierkegaard

I like this quote…how it sounds like and resonates with my idea of being able to relax, with nothing in mind, but just being in the moment -without even having to think about finding myself.

Especially since I have moved into a community where walking is inescapable. Almost everything I need is within short walking distance. This makes me imagine I am in another place. Not that I do not appreciate this place. In fact, it makes me appreciate this place even more because of the image it conjures for me ~~ that of New York, my fantasy place.

I also like the idea I can walk at leisure, but I can only do so when running errands <laugh>

Thus to “have walked myself into my best thoughts” while am sitting or quietly doing my tasks in an ordinary busy day, is a habit I cherish.

Thinking while in motion, and going deep into myself while I’m absorbed in a physical task is what I do best. It is where my most creative ideas come through.

Yet from time to time, I yearn to walk – to truly walk at leisure – enjoying the spots I pass through — to dive into the moment, so that I do not have to go inside myself, but to be with the outside world. In that case, I become more attuned to myself.

There is a need for me to balance between motion and stillness moving from my inner self to the world outside, or conversing with the many thoughts running in my mind. That is how I get my energy and purpose — be able to get hold of myself for now — when I immerse into my thoughts or my feelings or relishing the different emotions, as I enjoy watching the people or spots I  pass by.

These days, as I do my errands, I walk with purpose, taking note of what is going on at the moment.

But I need to be mindful; otherwise, I tend to forget. To avoid this, I make a list or a note to myself. Then I can just abandon myself to the moment, as I shift from one task to another, from one errand to another.

Given a chance, I’d love to walk long distances as well, where there is nature beckoning. Just like in the books or movies. So sad I do not live near a park.


This post is a response to the weekly writing prompt by Ms.Laura Davis, through her site, The Writer’s Journey Roadmap