Monday, September 22, 2014

Care Package: For The Broken Hearted

Some time ago, a girl friend of mine suffered a broken heart. She broke up with his first ever serious boyfriend, whom she thought would turn a husband. The thing is, my friend is the type who had always wanted to marry young. As long as I can remember, all that she wanted was, she wanted to meet a man, she wanted to fall in love, she wanted to get married and build a family at a young age. She still does, but now she's thirty-something years old and lives a glamorous life as a single, successful, career woman who travels all over the world instead. Her life looks so glamorous and exciting, yet she wailed to me: "This is the life that YOU wanted and YOU used to live and enjoy! You never wanted to get married, I did, I do, and look at us now. I enjoy this life, and I try to live the life that God gives me now, but this is NOT what I want!"

So you can imagine how sad she became, when, after getting serious with this one man, after introducing both sides of the parents, etc., out of the blue the man broke up with her, when she was waiting for a proposal!

I cared about this friend dearly, yet I also know my limitation. I had just had a baby at that time, and had limited time nor energy to go out with her or even listen to her for hours over the phone. So I searched all over the house and bought several things from a nearby mall, wrapped it nicely, and sent it over to her office. Nothing too fancy, just some odds and ends that I thought would help to make her feel better, to make her feel special and loved, even if by a lady friend, not by a boyfriend!

She was ecstatic and thankful. "Usually you married people are so self-centered and inconsiderate to us single people. I never excepted you would make the time to do this for me. Thank you!"

Oh.

Self-centered and inconsiderate married friend.

Well...


Once I watched an episode of Sex & The City, I think the title is "A Woman's Right to Shoes". Carrie was invited to a baby shower - a third child - of a lady friend, where she was required to take off her Manolo Blahnik shoes prior entering the house, because "The twins always pick up things off the floor." She did, and at the end of the night, her shoes were gone unknown, and her hostess acted like she could not care less and shamed Carrie for spending so much money on shoes. Also "We have a family now, so we have real responsibilities." To which Carrie wailed to her friend Charlotte "I did a mental calculation, and in total I have spent more than 3,000 dollars for her celebrating her choice of life in wedding shower gift, wedding gift, three baby shower gifts; and she shamed me for spending a lowly 400 dollars on myself to buy shoes? Think about it, aside from birthdays, after graduation, if you are single, you don't have any celebration dedicated for you."

That's true.

All over the internet, I read posts on "The Rules to Visit a New Mother", and "How You Can Help A New Mother", and "What To Bring a Friend Who Just Had A Baby" and "Wedding Gifts Ideas". I read a lot of posts on mothers giving advise to single women how to tolerate friends who just got married or just got a baby.

So I wrote from the other side of the fence: "How it feels as a single friend, when your friend got married and had a baby." I hope it can gives a different perspective on married ladies and mothers to think about how the other party feels. You can read the post here.

Still, what my friend said stunned me. She didn't expect that after husband and children, I would be that much of a friend to her. In her state of singleness, she didn't except that I would have time to remember her in her trials. She expected that me having "real responsibilities" would take her broken heart lightly.

Now I'm the one who got brokenhearted. Who won't, if your dear friend said something like that!

I've been thinking of what I can do for others lately. We have received so much from Heavenly Father. We believe that in every gift, He slipped something extra for us to share to others. We did some charity for flood victims and we wrapped package of clothes and shipped it to a natural disaster shelter, but we want to do something more. So what to do?

Sometimes an act of kindness doesn't require you to send a check to orphans faraway overseas. You can give a smile and kind words, but if you really want to give a real something, consider to send care packages. You don't need to know the recipient personally. You can create a pretty package, and give it to someone you don't know. Perhaps a sister of a coworker just had a baby and her husband is overseas? Send her something via your coworker. You heard that an elderly aunt of a neighbor's friend who live alone is ill? Ask for her address and send her something.

Today I will talk about creating a care package for a friend who just suffered a broken heart. Here are some ideas and tips.

What a broken heart needs, here and now, is a positive distraction.

Anything that can keep her occupied, anything that can keep her mind away off loneliness, romance and tears, is good. Anything uplifting, positive, encouraging and "girl power". She can deal with growing up, "this is for the better", "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" mentality later on. What she needs right now, is keeping her mind away from anything that can remind her of her ex, and gives time a chance to heal her heart, and perhaps, her dignity. The worst time is night time, when everyone else is asleep and she is completely alone. So think of something that can keep her occupied, even when no one else is around. Even her Mom will not be able to stay up the whole night listening to her venting and wailing! There will be times when she'll be alone and needs something to do.

Think of pretty packaging

Get several lovely, girlie things and wrap each individually. Embellish with flowers, ribbons, bows, lace, colorful papers, and stickers. Can you imagine how happy she would be to open the main package and find so many beautifully wrapped gifts inside? She would wonder and curious about what each package contains, and every unwrapping will put a smile on her face! It's like opening a surprise gift, filled to the brim with small surprises! Enclose little love notes and encouraging phrases, too!



Funny and encouraging DVDs

Your friend will suffer many lonely and teary nights and Saturday nights. Be considerate and don't send her mellow, romantic comedy. Send her a movie that can make her laugh and forget about her sorrows for ninety minutes, like "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels". Or send her something that can rebuild her hope and positive energy, and want to make something of herself despite her man leaving her, like "Legally Blonde" and "Door to Door". They don't even need to be new movies. You can give her yours to keep.



A lovely manicure set and colorful nail polish

If she's a beauty girl, she will have a lot of fun playing with pretty nail polishes. Send her happy, cheerful, and funky colors, even crazy ones like electric blue, add some nail stickers and nail art kit. It will cheer her up for hours when she gets busy with those. Even grown up girls still want to have fun!
A box of chocolate

Not the Valentine-y, heart-shaped chocolates! Just some old, good, delicious ones. It's not the time to count calories, girl friend! Just let it go and indulge yourself. Or you can give a big jar of Nutella. Everybody loves Nutella. Works every time.



A gift certificate to her favorite online shop

It doesn't have to be much. Even a ten dollar voucher will do so she can buy a nice toe ring with it. Why online? I remember that for brokenhearted souls, the hardest part is not when they go out eating with their friends, working out, or shopping at the mall. The darkest hour is late at night when you have nobody to talk to and no place to go. But online stores open 24/7! So instead of crying her eyes out, she can surf and buy something nice and inexpensive for herself.

Easy art and craft supplies

A mini project kit like scrapbooking, cute stickers, pretty stationeries, colorful papers, fabrics, odds and ends to make something in a quick and creative way. If she can crochet or knit, give her some beautiful yarns and patterns. She can spend hours doing it and forget about Mr. You-Know-Who.





Some light reading, anything non-romance

Chicken Soup series. Shopaholic series. Debbie MacComber non-romance collection like Twenty Wishes. Mystery novels like China Bayles series. Books on travel and faraway lands like A Year in Provence or Under The Tuscan Sun. Funny comic books.  Even all time classics like The Secret Garden, Pollyanna, A Little Princess and Little House series. Some might consider them children books, but they are good and comforting reading, as well as inspiring and brings back good memories of childhood, when things were much simpler and there was no complicated relationships between boys and girls!

If your friend is a Christian, give her anything that can remind her that she is a daughter of A King afterall

Some CDs of Christian music, because any pop music might remind her of her ex. A little book of prayer. A book of daily devotion.

Multivitamin

In a state of mild or heavier sadness, she might eat less or eat more, but not very healthy. She might need additional multivitamin to keep her healthy even if she cries all the time.

Soup in a jar or cookie dough mix that she can heat and bake herself

There will times, either late at night or during the day when she is alone and has some time to kill and needs comfort food! Cooking is an excellent teraphy! Especially if what you need to do is just add some water and throw all the ingredients together in a pan. Simmering, savory, hearty soup is an all time comfort food that everyone loves.




Girlie, fun, pretty looking, sweet smelling, self pampering beauty kit

Body lotion. Body butter. Scented candle. Bath soap. Peel off face mask. Anything that can make her feel like a pampered princess, even from the solitude of her own bedroom! It needs not to be expensive products. The name of the game is fun, fun, fun.



I'm sure you can also come up with a long list of amazing ideas! Of course, you can also offer mental support with prayer, an ear to listen, some time to hang out with her, and lots and lots of love!

Note: all the pictures are not my own.

Monday, September 15, 2014

An Unselfish Spiritual Act: Being Happy

stylish mom, fashionista mom, working mom, word, abundant life, career woman,

stylish mom, fashionista mom, working mom, word, abundant life, career woman,
Shop this look:
Kate Spade Cedar Street Elissa (buy)
Blu Bijox bubble necklace (buy)
Diamond shaped stud earrings (similar)
Flared skirt in lemon yellow (similar here, mid length here, here, canary yellow here)
Camel jacket (similar here, swing jacket here)
Geometric top in multicolors (similar here, here, here, sleeveless here)

This writing was previously published in www.divinecaroline.com (here is the link to the post) However, it is my original writing, written several years ago, I just published it under a different name back then. In 2011, I re-published it under this post, and now again (with some alteration), because I believe that it's a good message to share.

"Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice!"
(Philippians 4:4)

Remember Pollyanna?

I’m a firm believer that being happy is a good thing. It is my special way to show my love to God. Some people show their faith by reaching out, loving others, and doing good, like Mother Theresa. Some by doing little deeds with love, like St. Theresa, the Little Flower. Some, by contemplation and silence, like the monks. Other ways are by fasting, maintaining self-control, being an example to the young, praying, avoid greediness, going to Church, spiritual retreat, charity, loving your brothers and sisters, etc. All are good; all require hard work, good will, and perseverance to carry them out constantly.

Of course, I try to do all or a little bit of all the ways I know on how to show my love to God. But my special way, my special calling, my special mission, is by always striving to be happy.

Sounds fun and easy, right? It’s not like organizing charity ball, or giving alms to the poor, or teaching children under the bridge or praying rosary three times a day.

Well, think again.

Being happy, like any other ways to practice spirituality, is hard work.

stylish mom, fashionista mom, working mom, word, abundant life, career woman,

It’s not easy to be happy when you’re lonely.
It’s not easy to be happy when the “love of your life” suddenly dumps you.
It’s not easy to be happy when you are a single parent and you lose a job.
It’s not easy to be happy when you are in an abusive relationship.

It's not easy to be happy wanting to have a child so badly and when you finally get pregnant, you have a miscarriage.
It is not easy to be happy when you are in the process of chemo to battle cancer disease.

It’s not easy to be happy and content when you have no money and scrimp and save and you know for a fact that your nasty but beautiful neighbor can frivolously spends thousands on a LV bag because she has a rich “sugar-daddy-husband.”
It’s not easy to be happy when you’re being passed up for a salary increase or promotion.

It’s not easy to be happy when people around you are laughing merrily and you’re sitting in the corner feeling like an outcast.
It’s not easy to be happy when you feel that your career is going nowhere and your boss is a “devil wears prada.”

It's not easy to be happy when you feel like being a homemaker is not appreciated enough, even by your own husband.

It’s not easy to be happy when your children are sick and your husband is out of a job.

It’s not easy to be happy when the news constantly remind you how corrupt the politicians are, and how bleak the economic future will be, etc.
It’s not easy to be happy when the people around you, your family, friends, parents, spouses always put you down, being cynical, negative, pessimistic, and constantly criticize you—no matter how good their intention might be. (Sometimes, the one who can kill you fastest and with the most excruciating pain is the one whom you love most)
It’s not easy to be happy when you’re sick and alone and feel like no one cares whether you’re dead or alive.
It’s not easy to be happy when all you want to do is crawl under the cover and cry your heart out and then go to sleep and never wake up again because you feel so sad and alone and miserable and it seems like there’s no reason to live.

stylish mom, fashionista mom, working mom, word, abundant life, career woman,

stylish mom, fashionista mom, working mom, word, abundant life, career woman,

I did a little research in Vatican’s Bible on-line, and found around 890-something verses in the Bible, in which God tells us to rejoice, to be glad, and to be happy. In my humble opinion, if the Almighty, Loving, and Magnificent God, who created Heaven and Earth and everything under the sun and the stars, took the trouble to say over 800 times that He wants His children to be happy, then He must really mean it.

God wants me to happy.


God wants me to strive to happy, in any circumstances.
Being happy in whatever circumstances He puts me in, meaning I trust Him wholeheartedly that He is my Father, Protector, Savior, and Provider. That He loves me and takes care of me. Even when I cannot feel His presence at all.


Being happy in whatever situation is being a light bearer in this world, being a testimony, a witness of God’s love, through the little and insignificant me.

Being happy no matter what is one of the most unselfish things I can do for people around me, because I don’t scatter poison of negativity nor complaints to my community. Because when I look happy even when I just want to roll out and die, people who love me won’t be sad for me nor worry about me, because they’ll think that I’m OK. Because by working hard to be happy, from time to time I find myself being an inspiration for others to also be happy. And because you always look OK, people don’t offer to help you, instead they come to you for help because you look like you’re “free from the problems of the world”, when all you want to do is crying out loud “Help me! Please! Somebody, anybody, help me! I want to die!” And helping others is always good and make you feel better.

So, yes, you can show your love to God by being happy.
Yes, being happy is hard work.
Yes, being happy is an unselfish thing to do.

So I always strive to be happy. No matter what.


“I don’t buy in to the despair of this world.

I don’t see life as misery.
No matter what. So I celebrate.
I celebrate God and His creation.
I celebrate life.
And all the things it has to offer.”
stylish mom, fashionista mom, working mom, word, abundant life, career woman,

stylish mom, fashionista mom, working mom, word, abundant life, career woman,
  
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Week in Recap: Ordinarily Great

Hello, Friends!

Looking back at my Instagram pictures of last week, I was hesitate to write this week in recap, because last week nothing really special happened! But then I thought, I always enjoy journaling in this recap, and I like reading what's going on in other blogger's life in similar recap, so here it is! I hope it's not too boring!

Last week was one of those days when nothing truly extraordinary happened, but everything was sailing smoothly, and everyone was in a happy and serene mood. It was lovely if ordinary. If last week were a necklace, then it would be the plain chain, not the fancy pendant. But hey, a pendant would be no use without the chain, rite!

Since Hubby and I already had our date night on Friday, we just went to watch the movie "Lucy" at a nearby mall on Saturday night after our son went to bed. I wore my mint green new sweater that I got at the bazaar, and it turned out to be very comfy and warm. The downside? It's too warm to wear to stroll the mall, it can only work once I get inside the freezing cold movie theater. Nevertheless, with a husband who loves movies, and me who cannot stand cold, I concluded that it was a good investment. Also, since the sweater is of good quality, it will last me for several years. Not to mention that the colors are so pretty!

We already went to mass on Saturday, so Sunday morning was free time. My Mom was leaving Jakarta, so Hubby, me and Michael escorted her to the airport. After that we ate noodle at a nearby shop and stopped by at a cute neighborhood coffeeshop called Bangi for some iced coffee and hot chocolate. I know we can make coffee and chocolate beverages at home for just as nice and much cheaper, but I also know that Hubby loves to hang out at places like these with his family, for a change of atmosphere.





My Mom bought Michael three pairs of pajamas: a blue one with reindeer on them, a green one with elephant and lion and monkey; and a grey and teal one with motorbikes. For some reason, Michael likes the reindeer one most, it becomes his favorite, and he refused to wear the other two. Grandma complied, so she just kept the other two in the drawer of unused clothing and re-washed and re-wear the reindeer pajamas everyday. I didn't say anything, because I know how grandparents love to spoil their grandchildren. It gives them such joy, and I will not take that smile away from my Mom's face, though I don't agree in complying to whatever the children wish. Beside, those are two brand new pajamas! Not to mention that the reindeer pajama already looked worn out after daily wash-and-wear for four weeks straight! Hence, once Mom is no longer in the house, I got out the two pajamas out of the drawer and determined to get Michael wearing them willingly.

How?


Story time! I told him stories about elephant and animals, and showed him storybook with elephant character on it, made funny faces and voices about Bon Bon The Elephant! I showed him the elephant pajama and said "See? This is your elephant pajama, just like Bon Bon here! Isn't he cute? And these are her friends, Lion and Monkey!" I consistently tried to make an impression that his elephant pajama is no less cute than the reindeer one, and by the bed time, he asked to wear the elephant pajama! Hurray!!


The nest evening, I made up another stories of motorbikes. To help him visualize, I showed him his favorite children song video "One One I Love Mommy" - which conveniently, has three children singers riding motorbikes with the parents! He danced around with joy, saying "Otobike! Otobike!" and by the end of the night, he was wearing these cool motorbike pajama. See that, Mom? I can make Michael wearing these, on his own will! Ha! ^__^


See how cool the motorbike pajama is? I love the grey and teal colors, which make them boyish and masculine yet cute and cheerful at the same time. The colorful tiny motorbike prints all over the pajama bottom are just adorable, as well. I love children's clothes to be happy and cheerful looking. Boys are not supposed to wear girlie colors like pinks, of course, but they can wear fun things, too!




My typical evenings are pretty much like this...





We got this red mini backpack for free from Michael's formula, and he loves it! I asked him, "Wow, do you want to go to school?" And he nodded and said yes. I'm not sure he knows what "school" means, but he looked so grown up already, I felt this hollow in my heart. And his Daddy feels the same way! We sure miss the sweet times having a tiny baby around the house. Michael is a toddler now, no longer a tiny baby!




One day I went to lunch with my coworkers at a nearby mall, and I noticed that the mall had a used-books stand. How I went wild! I told my husband that I would be going home an hour late that evening, and I spent the allocated time scouring the book shelves, digging like a mad woman. I love reading and collecting books, it's my number one hobby. I'm willing to pay a little bit more for new books, but as frugal as I am, I prefer used books if I can manage to find them! Used books stores are not pretty common in Indonesia, so are online used books seller. Hence, when I found one, I went crazy because used books stand usually don't stay around permanently. They will be there until the inventory goes down, then close.
These are some of what I ended up with... I'm such a happy camper, and cannot wait to read them all!


As you can see, I read practically everything. The Jackie Collins, of course, is my guilty pleasure. An easy read of glamorous and superficial world, like a glimpse into People magazine. Then the Wartime Nurse and Lizzie's War are more serious picks, especially the later one which I cannot wait to start reading, because it tells a story of what happened during the war but not in the battlefield, but in the home the soldiers left behind, how the women and children coped while the men were away at war. It would be an interesting reading, I bet! The Sacrifice is about the life of an Amish family, which I also curious about. The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency is another guilty pleasure. I like detective novels that also tells domestic life, and I've heard about these detective series for quite a while, but could not justify spending my money on a guilty pleasure that I'm not so sure about. With the heavily discounted price, now I allowed myself to finally purchase this book! The last one is devotion book for busy parents, which I snatched right away, because as a new parent, I think I need some guidance on how to include children into my appointment with God. I just learned to pray for my husband, and I want to seriously and conciously pray for my son, also.

You might think I'm a nerd, but I am a total bookworm and the acquisition of these books is downpat the highlight of my week! ^__^ To assuage the feeling that I bought too many, let me remind myself that in the evening of the same day I sold a cardboard box full of books I no longer want to have (nor read) to the used bookstore, so I guess I'm allowed to replace them with some new (used) ones!

Last week's to do list:
  • Read Chapter 19 of Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle": Hungry Month.
  • Read and contemplate on the Book of Proverbs Chapter 3.
  • Start the renovation project: taking down the existing roof, and pay down payment to contractor.
  • Declutter and organize my work desk, again.
  • Continue to organize property files online.
  • Pay local helps and discussing their payment scheme.
  • Fix refrigerator upstairs.
  • Grocery shopping.
  • Having massage.
  • Last appointment with my dermatologist.
  • Send gift to a friend out-of-town who is having a birthday.

This week's to do list:
  • Read Chapter 20 of Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle": Time Begins.
  • Read and contemplate on the Book of Proverbs Chapter 4.
  • Renovation project: laying down the foundation, week one of renovation permit.
  • Planning weekly menu.
  • Write post about my home working desk.
  • Change the living room seasonal decoration.
  • Work on family financial files: budget and renovation project spreadsheets.
  • Start toddler vitamin for Michael.
  • Shop online for new necklaces.
  • Motivate myself to dress up again.
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