Screen

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One-Word Prompt 3/6/2016: Screen

In an era driven by high-technology, half of the adult population admit to being hooked on their smartphones. According to Pew Research Center, in 2015, 92% of U.S. adults owns a cellphone, including smartphones. Nielsen reports that the average American adult spends 11 hours per day on gadgets. In the Philippines, we are dubbed as the text-messaging capital of the world due to the volume of SMS (short message service) traffic encountered in the country. With the emergence of China manufactured phones and gadgets, the age of phone owners in the Philippines are getting younger, because of its affordability.

The statistics simply shows that people are keeping up with technology. We are in sync with the world of technological advancement. And with the age of world wide web, we stay connected even miles away from one another. Information is within our grasp with the help of Google and Wikipedia has now become our virtual encyclopedia. We have access to entertainment via our smartphones and tablets, aside from the traditional television. We spend 11 out of 18 waking hours looking at a screen. I for instance, spend around 5-6 hours in front of the computer during the course of my 8-5pm office work. I spend an average of 2 hours per day in my smartphone for blogging, and check my phone from time to time for text messages and Facebook notifications (I am one guilty freak).

Because of these advancement, parenting styles has also evolved and is greatly affected by technology. A toddler’s shape-sorting toy has now been replaced with iPads and smartphones. Reading books become boring to children because they find interactive apps in handheld devices more fun. Children are so much exposed to screens at very young age, and lots of parents are guilty of this. Just like the succeeding scenario I’ve encountered while grocery shopping. There was a toddler who was frantically crying maybe because her mom did not give him the chocolate bar that he wanted from the shelves. The mother tried to calm down her child, but out of desperation, she reached inside her bag, took out a tablet and opened an app, then she handed over to her toddler. Voila! the kid stopped crying. But according to researches, using a smartphone or tablet to pacify our children may impede their ability to learn self-regulation. They tend to become impulsive, hard to please, and may have short attention span. Researchers from the Boston University School of Medicine found out that use of interactive screen time for children under 30 months of age could impair a child’s development of the skills needed for Math and Science.

As a parent, I am guilty of the convenience of iPad and television in particular, as a media to entertain my young child, especially when I needed time to finish a task in the house. But reading all these reports in the internet regarding the negative impact of screen time to toddlers, I panicked. Worst thing is when you let your kid spend time on screen unsupervised. The web world offers a vast of useful and sometimes dangerous information such as graphic content and violent videos that corrupt our children’s innocent and vulnerable minds.

We are their role models, so be a good influence. Having said all that, I am now more cautious and responsible on the use of mobile phone in front of my kid. I remember one incident when I was replying to an important text message in the middle of playtime. My daughter was telling me something while I was ignoring her unintentionally, because I was so focused on my phone. I was shocked and felt guilty at the same time on what my daughter did next. She suddenly took my phone out of my hand and put it aside, and continue with what she was trying to convey, which was to put the blanket on my head and pretend I was Queen Elsa. From then on, I always remind myself not to use a phone or an iPad whenever Raffy is around. I agree to the article I’ve read somewhere that when we constantly use our phones or gadgets in front of our young children, they would feel unloved and unnoticed. Toddlers or young children are egocentric. They want an undivided attention. They are still in the process of discovering a lot of unknown things, which requires our focused guidance and attention.

Technology is good. Unlimited access to information is even better. It feels good to be entertained and keep updated. But we should always keep in mind that too much of something is bad, so keep things in moderation. Too much screen time is not only harmful to young children but also to grown-ups alike. Too much time wasted on Facebooking or TV series marathon hinders our productivity thus makes us less  effective.

Being responsible in any areas of life helps a lot, so better keep things balanced so there won’t be any trouble.

Longing

Daily Prompt 03/03/2016: Longing

“Nothing makes a room feel emptier than wanting someone in it”.

Nothing is more sad than missing someone. A loved one, a friend, a family member, or even a colleague at work. Missing someone means longing for that person’s company, the shared laughter and the sweet and bitter memories you have had with them. I have lots of friends who are now working overseas. Three of my closest friends in college are now in the Middle East. I missed our carefree days, those times when what we only worry were homeworks and periodic exams. I missed our brain storming days during group studies and food tripping in between. Those were raw moments uninterrupted by Facebook notifications and Clash of Clans attacks.

Sometimes, when I see group of young high school students laughing boisterously, I could feel the air of nostalgia. We were once young and nonsense and boisterous. I remember our never ending chit chats about topics with no sense at all. We would talk about what happened to the episode of our favorite Teleseryes, latest MTV videos, our celebrity crushes, and our collections of pictures of our favorite stars. Those were the days when Mr. Zuckerberg has not yet invented Facebook. We borrow each other’s collection of cassette tapes of Britney Spears, Alanis Morisette, and Backstreet Boys. Yes, boy bands were in in the 90s. I missed our sleepovers with our favorite chichiryas (junk chips) while watching Casper: The Friendly Ghost over and over again. Things were simple and uncomplicated, we did not take so much selfies, yet we were happy and contented.

I missed real conversations and meaningful bonding with friends. It’s true, technology took us to greater heights. Communications is easier and more convenient thru cellular phones, Skype and Facebook/Messenger. But what I’m longing is the face to face real time interactions. I did not lose connection with my old friends. I can see them in my Facebook timeline every once in a while, we chat, we talk over the phone, we exchange greeting stickers in Messenger during Christmas and birthdays. But nothing beats the actual and real celebration of friendship. Nothing is comparable to the real connection we once had sans technology. I missed the warm hugs of a friend and the actual shoulders to cry on.

With the advancement of our society in terms of technology and standards of living, people are so busy keeping up with these developments, that we sometimes tend to forget to engage in real conversations. We forget the true meaning of connectivity. It’s so sad to think that even those who are near to us are losing the time to connect with us.

I’m longing for those moments when everything was genuine, innocent, pure fun. If only I could turn back time. I wish I could. Sigh!

Divided We Fall

Daily Prompt 3/2/2016: Divide

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

As I sip my cup of coffee and reflect on the word for today’s daily prompt, it came to my mind the chaotic picture of our present society. There is division in different parts of the world. Division in color and race, political, and religious differences. Because we are riddled with division, conflict, terrorism and mutual distrust, we live in a world of chaos characterized by corruption, exploitation, oppression and injustice. Social and news media even worsen our situation. The thoughts of all of these negativity send chills down my spine. Division is an ancient global problem and history repeats itself. But what if we take a moment and recollect what we have in common, reflect the reason of our existence then stand united?

What do we have in common? God created us in His own image. Humans are divergent in nature. We differ in ideologies, emotions, cultural backgrounds, educational attainment, political, and even on religious beliefs. But we are all the same in the eyes of the Lord. We exist in His glory. We have a heart to love and to forgive, so why waste time on hatred?

We do not know what the future holds. But all I know is love endures because God loves us so much. Peace begins with all of us. It is a global battle we have been trying to resolve since the beginning of humanity. But if we stand united, peace is within our grasp.

Remember, united we stand, divided we fall.

I Will Survive

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Daily Prompt 2/28/16: Five Items

A classic question, revisited: what are the five items you must have on a deserted island?

I couldn’t imagine myself being stranded on an island far away from civilization with no one to talk to, uncomfortable shelter, with nothing to eat. I could imagine a not-so-sane self talking to a certain “Wilson” as the days go by. Remember Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away?

I ain’t no Doomsday Prepper, but if worse comes to worst, I would bring with me the following:

  1. Swiss knife (a legendary Victorinox would be great)
  2. Flannel blanket
  3. Lighter
  4. Cooking pot
  5. Solar rechargeable flashlight

One of five is a Swiss knife that comes with different sorts of cutting and slicing blades. This would help me in my quest for food like hunting for animals in the island. I could use a knife to open a coconut fruit which would keep me hydrated and keep my sugar level balanced (read hypoglycemia). I could also use it in sharping edges of branches to be used as weapon in fighting predators.

Two of five is a flannel blanket. Being in an open island with only leaves of trees as roof could be extremely cold and hypothermia is the least thing you would like to experience. A blanket would keep we warm and comfortable in the night.

Three of five is a lighter. Seriously, I don’t know how to start a fire. I failed that challenge during Girl Scout camping days where we were challenged to start a fire by scratching two pieces of stones together. I am basically lame. Well, having a fire is so important in cooking food and bringing water to boil for drinking. Who would want to suffer diarrhea and dehydration in a deserted island?

Four of five is a cooking pot. I would love to treat myself a hot pot of soup so I can stay calm and can think clearly. I would catch fish in the ocean or hunt for rabbits and make a hot stew. Food is very important, you know. I’ll make sure I wont starve to death.

Lastly, I would love to have a solar rechargeable flash light. Surely it would be be scary to stay alone at night in an inhabited island. It could also be used to make signals for my rescue. A solar powered one is a smart choice since it is renewable.

I am a huge fan of Survivor reality TV series. Some of the contestants experience emotional and mental breakdown due to homesickness, physical challenges brought about by scarcity of resources, hunger, and unfamiliarity of the harsh environment. Being stranded on a deserted island is the worst thing that could happen to a person. Surviving would be severely difficult I guess. If the universe will connive and put me in an inhabited island with having no one to talk to and being away from my family and friends, I’ll go crazy, literally and figuratively. And I will surely miss my poor little Raffy. Sniff!

Secret Recipe

Daily Prompt 3/2/2016: Secret

Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt.

Disclaimer: The following is plainly an opinion based on my taste buds. I didn’t get any penny from either of the following fast food giants. Lol!

Here in the Philippines, Mcdonalds greatest rival is Jollibee. When it comes to French fries, I prefer the former. I love the crisp of Mcdonalds’ freshly cooked fries other than Jollibee’s. I know I am not alone. I remembered a friend who used to work as a store manager at one of Jollibee’s branches. Shh, it’s just our secret, but she even confessed that  Mcdo’s fries is better that their’s. That she loved Mcdo’s fries than Jolibee’s. How bizarre! But honestly, she said that they did a lot to try to copy Mcdonald’s crispy potato fries to no avail.

Now, I wonder what the secret ingredient there is on every strips of Mcdonald’s French fries that I love most? I know this is a non-sense question, but seriously, I am just curious. I’ve read a lot of controversial stories that Mcdonald’s French fries are not even made of real potatoes. Now, that’s scary. Anyway, good thing I’ve found a series of video from a former Mythbusters star aiming to debunk the rumors saying that Mcdonald’s fries are Franken fries made of chemicals. The fry tour allows you to see how the world’s famous French fries are manufactured. From there, you can see tons of potatoes being loaded to a conveyor ready to be processed. I know lots of you have seen it too. Good to know that they are really made of “potatoes”. Here’s the video in case you’d like to watch.

As revealed on the video, there are 19 ingredients in order to make the world’s favorite fries. One of the ingredients of course is the potato added with 18 more condiments like salt, different kinds of oil (canola, corn, soybean), preservatives in order to prevent the potato fry from graying, and more. The process is complicatedly done in a very large production plant. The potatoes will undergo a step by step procedure before they are finally ready to be fried at our favorite Mcdonalds outlets.

At first glance, both of these fast food chains’ French fries look and taste the same, but when you take a munch of the two different fries, there’s actually a notable difference in taste and crispiness. I’ve actually done a taste test already.

Now back to my silly question, what is really the secret ingredient that makes Mcdo’s fries more appealing and tasty and crispy (at least for me) compared to Jollibee? Well, it’s for Mcdonalds to know and for Jollibee to find out. This secret condiment makes the World’s Famous Fries. A lot of fast food chains have sprouted up since, yet Mcdonalds French fries remained a fan favorite. I believe every company has its own trade secret to keep the ball rolling, to stay on top of the market. In this case, a secret ingredient. A company would really do everything to safeguard its trade secret. It is their business advantage over their competitors or customers. It should be kept in the bunker or else they will lose their mileage. It’s a secret, therefore it must not be known.

Thank you for reading my out-of-this-world take on today’s daily prompt.

Cheerios!

SuperMom Award

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Daily Prompt 2/24/16: Pat on the Back

I am surrounded with the best people one could ever ask for – my family, friends, and work colleagues. They all deserve a pat in the back and I’m just being so proud of who they are or what they have become. For instance, my sister deserves a shout out for becoming a Branch Manager and continuously hitting the monthly targets together with her team. She has become a good strategist and team player/leader. Also, my older sister who is a stay-at-home mom doing mommyhood duties 24/7. I will never ever forget to mention my man who never gives up no matter how hard the hurdles are on our way just to give us a decent life.

Above all, I am dedicating this post to the most amazing, strong, and loving woman on earth – my mom. Words are not enough to express how proud I am of my mother. She is my confidant and bestfriend when I need a shoulder to cry on. She is always ready to listen to my rants and problems and in turn offers me the best kind of advises, as mother knows best. My mom doesn’t have any degree because attaining a higher education was not a trend in the old times especially when you are situated in remote parts of a third world country like Philippines. They live simply through farming. Being the eldest of her siblings, she assumed motherly responsibilities while her parents were working in the farm. But despite all that, she excelled in some other areas of life. She became both our Mom and Dad when our father passed away. We’ve earned our diplomas because of her sacrifices.

Having a mom like her is a blessing. She helped my Dad in our small family business and at the same time do the household chores on her own sans any help of a house help. She was our first teacher. She taught us not just the basic alphabet and numbers, but most especially the values and manners that brought us where we are now. She has sacrificed a lot during those years when my father was battling with cancer. She worked hard in order to keep the family fed and paid hospital expenses like chemotherapy and rehabilitation. She endured all the pain and sacrifices because she don’t want us to see her fall. She kept mum about all the pains and hid her tears, yet we knew it was not easy. I could not fathom where she got the courage, strength, and power to keep moving. I wish I could do the same.

She’s my unsung hero.

My mom never changed. Her love, undying. She understands and handles my frustrations. She was stricter than my Dad but now I understand why.  Some things are clearer now that I become a mom, too. She didn’t want to see us hurt or crying. She would swear to punch the boys who would break our hearts (we are tres marias). She is my security blanket, always ready to calm me down in my desperate moments. I could always feel her enthusiasm whenever I achieve something no matter how small it is. I’ve found in her my cheerleader. If there’s someone who is more proud of my achievements? That would be my mom. She is awesome and she thinks I am, too. Nothing makes me feel more special than her.

If there’s an Academy Awards for the Best Mom in the World, then I’m giving the Oscars to my Mother!

Cheers! FB_IMG_1456902619566                                                          Me and Mom watching a 3D movie

Resilience

Daily Prompt 2/23/2016: Toot Your Horn

This feels like my first job interview seven years ago when my employer asked me about my greatest strength.

For me, the best trait I like most about myself is being resilient. I have been through a lot in life, yet I am able to rise up from the ashes anew and alive. I am a phoenix. I don’t let my problems ruin my life, rather I consider them as challenges that measure my inner strength. No matter how bad the storm is, like a bamboo, I would stand again after being bent badly by the strong winds.

I’m proud to be a one tough mama. I endured the long hours of painful enduced labor. I fought the post-operative pain brought about by c-section delivery. No matter how difficult the situation was, I chose to breastfeed my baby. I did not care about painful engorgement and sore nipples, all I thought of was my baby’s nutrition. Yes, I panicked on my first few days of unsuccessful breastfeeding because I notice I had little to no milk, but I persisted. Giving up was never an option. I did not allow stress to overpower my goal.

Resilience isn’t uncommon to Filipinos. In fact, we Filipinos are known to be one. Several times we were blown away by strong typhoons, yet we stood up. We recover. Personally, I am thankful to my parents for teaching us to be resilient. Growing up in the province was not as smooth as silk. My parents were not able to attain higher educational status, but they are able to send us to private school and finish college through our small family business. During college days, I helped in paying my tuition fees by working as part-time office secretary. I was on my final year in college when my father passed away after three years of battling the big C. Everything was grey back then, but I chose to be strong. I did not let depression ate me out. I managed to fake a smile during a play in our literature class. I continued to work and study until I finally earned my diploma.

I am always ready to face life’s challenges and crises. I believe on the power of positivity and resilience because,

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Philippians 4:13

Can you keep a secret?

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Daily Prompt 2/17/2016: Evasive Action

What’s the most significant secret you’ve ever kept? Did the truth ever come out?

This prompt is a tricky one.

Secrets are meant to be kept. Unverified information that are being passed to other people from another source other than the subject is called a rumor. Discussing to other people a private matter entrusted to you? I call it insensitivity and betrayal. Personally, I respect privacy because I also expect one on the other hand. Secrets could die with me unless the person owning them would brought them to light. I would scream my lungs out of annoyance when someone spills my plan for a friend’s surprise birthday ambush, neither could I ever tolerate my best friend who would tell the whole campus that I got a crush on my high school seatmate. I live to this golden rule in life:

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If someone tells you a secret, it simply means that you are one of the few people he/she invested the precious word ‘trust’. That person believed and trusted you afar from anybody who are less entitled. Being told a secret is both a delight and a burden. It is an honor to be entrusted such a private stuff, and delicate in a way that if you betray that person and spill the secret, relationships could be damaged and marred.

On a personal experience, the most significant secret that has been shared to me has already been exposed, at least not from my lips, but straight from her own. I promised I won’t tell the universe and I’m keeping my words forever, so please don’t expect me to tell you the story. The secret had been known, my friend chose to set free and I’m proud of her for being so brave and all. It was her secret anyway, so that the prerogative was always hers. I believe I do not have the authority to divulge anything other than my own business. And in that matter, a private and sensitive one.

So there you go. I can keep a secret.

In another life.

Daily Prompt 2/21/2016:The Road Less Traveled

Pinpoint a moment in your past where you had to make a big decision. Write about that other alternate life that could have unfolded.

One upon a time, I almost moved from Davao to Cebu. That was a decision out of impulse. I jumped into a work opportunity based on my own guts without considering other people’s opinion especially my family and my former boyfriend, now my husband. I was younger then, a fresh college graduate. I thought I was mature enough to make my own decision. I was ready to venture into a new journey. My employment and relocation papers were all set except that I forgot one thing along the way – informing my family about my plans. On my mind, it was not a big deal for them. I wanted to surprise them about what I have achieved actually. Sure, they were really happy about my great news, but they did not agree the part about me leaving. There were series of talks. There were lots of things to consider. I never thought it would be that complicated. Things were complicated which I chose not to discuss them one by one anymore. To cut it short, that time I realized that making a decision should not be done overnight. It takes prayers and consultation with peer or family.

Now, what if I pursued the move? I wonder who would I become. If I relocated to Cebu, life could be a bit unfamiliar. I won’t have a baby as adorable as Raffy. Yes, all babies are blessings from above. So, well, yes, I may have a baby or two as charming as Raffy, but having Raffy and her Dad is a different story. My life would be different I think. In another life, I maybe single as of the moment. Uncommitted and carefree, attending parties every weekend because I don’t have a child to take care of. I don’t have muffin top, stretch marks, and added pounds brought about by pregnancy. I won’t be chasing an uber energetic toddler while trying to finish the laundry. I won’t be changing dirty diapers and bed covers filled with biscuit crumbs and chocolate stains. More so, I think I have a different career aside from being a working mom. I envisioned a slicker me in a six-inch pumps working my a** off to the corporate ladder. I guess I have different set of friends.

I maybe pursuing a different hobby. I discovered my love for crafting when I became a wife and a mother. I think I am travelling a lot cause it’s always been my dream to go to different places and visit scenic spots. I guess I’m making a lot more money than I’m earning now. I may not be in Cebu anymore by now because working overseas was also one of my options. I would have not married my first love.

At some point, I realized what a good life I have right now. I couldn’t think of a much better lifetime than this. Things are simple and far from extravagant but spending time with my family is beyond extraordinary. Being a mother is the best thing that ever happened to me. It’s my best achievement so far and nothing could top that off.

Dear Procrastination

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Daily Prompt 2/20/2016: Shape Up or Ship Out

Write a letter to the personality trait you like least, convincing it to shape up or ship out. Be as threatening, theatrical, or thoroughly charming as is necessary to get the job done.

Dear Procrastination,

We’ve been together for quite so long already. We crammed handful of projects and homeworks together during high school and college days. We love last-minute preparations not just on academic matters but even on petty things like what shoes to wear in senior’s prom. You think you perform better if you do things under pressure that is why you tend to delay tasks. You always have your crappy excuses over your delaying tactics. But you know what? Here’s the truth. You are just plain lazy, destructed, and unfocused. You entertain too much unnecessary activities to the point of desrupting the more important undertakings of your precious time. 

Another thing I’ve noticed of you is that you do not only manipulate tasks or work-related errands. You also influence on personal issues. By choosing to delay, you take no actions on what you think is a stressful situation. In this sense, you avoid confrontations. There are family relationship issues that need to be talked about stat, but you refuse to discuss with them because you are avoiding negativity among your circle. You chose to keep them within yourself, but in doing so, you only make things worse. You might not know it, let me point out that confrontations at the soonest time possible leads to peace and understanding. You need to take actions asap to sort things out. Avoidance is never a solution nor is delaying to take action. 

That is why, right at this moment, I am ordering you, Procrastination, to get out of my way and let me live productively. I don’t want to waste more valuable time with you. I think I have had enough of you. I want to be more mature and more responsible adult, so I’m getting rid of you. Having a relationship with you, do more harm than good. I have to live a life that values the importance of time. As my previous post said, “You Only Live Once”. 

PS: Please give way to Proactivity.

Sincerely,

Guilt-Stricken Self