Archives for Appreciation category

No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.


Indeed, no matter how small an act of kindness is, it never fails to warmth the heart of the receiver and for the giver, you’ll simply feel fabulous! And if you happen to witness a random act of kindness, don’t you feel good too and be influenced, to certain extent, to perform an act of kindness for another?

Voltaire said, “I have decided to be happy because it’s good for my health.” I have decided to be kind because I believe it’s good for my health too; simply because being kind makes one happy.

Not only that, Kindness starts a ripple and when it is reciprocated or when it is paid forward, the ripple has no logical endings. And kindness is the hardest to give away because no matter what, it always comes back in one way or another. This video brilliantly illustrates an act of kindness as its passed from one individual to the next and eventually to boomerang back to the person who set it into motion.

Be the change you want to see in the world and spread the kindness ripple.

Children in Sindh, Pakistan, play at a water pump in a villageWhen we need clean water to wash our hands, to wash the dishes after a sumptuous meal, to do the laundry, to water the plants or simply to drink, all we need to do is to turn on the tap and water will start flowing. Have it ever occurred to you how that clean water goes from the reservoir or water catchment area to the comfort of your home? I remembered learning this in my science class during my school days many years back.

Being born in a nation where clean water, fit for drinking, is made readily available, I am guilty to say that I have also taken water for granted from time to time and this video brings the reality back to me that many in the world today still do not have accessed to clean water every day.

The worst experience which I had previously encountered was going for days without water for showering, cooking and normal washing up and it was more of a discomfort issue than a survival one. So how could I possibly hope to experience or understand what they are going through in their live everyday? These activities which are norms for many everyday are possibly a dream or luxury for people who do not even have clean water for the basic need of living.

Some facts, according to Drop in the Bucket:

“More than 70% of our planet’s surface is covered in water. Of that water, 97% of it is seawater and of that remaining 3%, only about 1% is suitable for drinking. Of that 1%, only 0.08% is accessible to humans. There are more than 7 billion people on the planet. That means there are more people alive right now than there have ever been. Of those 7 billion people, 783 million have never tasted a glass of clean water.

1 in 8 people lack access to clean, safe drinking water. Every day 4500 children will die from water related disease. Most of these deaths are preventable.”

For anyone who wants to help, you can go to Drop in the Bucket for more information on how you can reach out.

Watching the above video and reading the facts may not change the reality that many are still suffering without access to clean drinking water, but I certainly hope that with the awareness raised, people would be inspired to start caring for others in developing countries. These people do not exist in another world, the reality is that these people are suffering in the same world where you and I are thriving.

As Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Photo credit: Department for International Development/Russell Watkins
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Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Job

The Top Five Regrets of the Dying as shared by Bonnie Ware (who worked for years nursing the dying)

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people have had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.
It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.

This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret. But as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.

We cannot control the reactions of others. However, although people may initially react when you change the way you are by speaking honestly,in the end it raises the relationship to a whole new and healthier level. Either that or it releases the unhealthy relationship from your life. Either way, you win.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.

It is common for anyone in a busy lifestyle to let friendships slip.But when you are faced with your approaching death, the physical details of life fall away. People do want to get their financial affairs in order if possible. But it is not money or status that holds the true importance for them. They want to get things in order more for the benefit of those they love. Usually though, they are too ill and weary to ever manage this task. It is all comes down to love and relationships in the end. That is all that remains in the final weeks,love and relationships.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have sillyness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

As posted in Oh Darling.

Photo by ElRincon
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Mary Schmich Sunscreen speechA dear friend posted this in her Facebook yesterday sharing this great column written by Mary Schmich in Chicago Tribune 1997. Mary posted a challenge to anyone over 26 to entertain themselves by composing a Guide to Life for Graduates. Who knows, some day we just might be invited to share some words of wisdom with an audience of caps and gowns? What words of wisdom would you have shared with an audience of graduates?

I believe when you read the speech by Mary Schmich below, you would be able to relate to some of the things she had written just like I did and hope that you will enjoy reading this speech as much as I did too.

Ladies and gentlemen of the class of ’97:

Wear sunscreen.

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine.

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing every day that scares you.


Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts. Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours.


Don’t waste your time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind. The race is long and, in the end, it’s only with yourself.

Remember compliments you receive. Forget the insults. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements.


Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-old I know still don’t.

Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees. You’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much, or berate yourself either. Your choices are half chance. So are everybody else’s.

Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it or of what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own.

Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living room.

Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them.

Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly.

Get to know your parents. You never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings. They’re your best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle, because the older you get, the more you need the people who knew you when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths: Prices will rise. Politicians will philander. You, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund. Maybe you’ll have a wealthy spouse. But you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair or by the time you’re 40 it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia. Dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen.

Photo by lusi
Gain More Confident

Reading a petition started in awhile ago has gotten me to look at this post which I had first written back in August 11, 2008 and decided to re-post it to raise awareness.

Believe it or not, ‘No honey, No ice cream?’ You must be kidding me? Most of you would have heard something like, “No money, no honey?” And now, “No honey, no ice cream.” Well, not what you have in mind. ‘Honey’ here means ‘honey bee’ – to be more exact. And what has honey bee got to do with ice cream? Can you imagine what the world would be like without ice cream? I can’t even bear to think about it. I remember growing up with ice cream being one of my favorite desserts; there was once during my army days, when a camp-mate and I each finished a whole tub of peanut ice cream. You can’t really blame us, it was summer in Taiwan then, where we were having our training, and the peanut ice cream simply tasted too good.

Whenever I heard people talking about ice cream, this would surely light up like a light bulb in my head, ‘Eating ice cream makes one happy.’ So when do you think is the best time to eat ice cream? I heard someone ‘shouting’ anytime? I have a friend who shared this common thing about ice cream; we both love to eat ice cream on a rainy day or on a cold day. To us, ice cream seems to taste especially good on a cold day.

And here was how I discovered the Haagen-Dazs online advertisement back in Augsust 11, 2008:

While I was surfing and reading some blogs on the net the other day, I saw this very interesting and attractive advertisement by Haagen-Dazs about honey bee. Out of curiosity, I clicked on the advertisement and it brought me to a well designed interactive flash website with the heading, ‘Imagine a world without honey bees.’ Then there is a passage after that that caught my attention:

“Now imagine that world without tasty pears, luscious raspberries and juicy strawberries. Honey bees are responsible for pollinating one-third of all the foods we eat, including many of the ingredients that define our all-natural ice creams.”

honey beeDo you know about that? I certainly have no idea. If you like, you may surf over to the website by Haagen Dazs at Help the Honey Bees. It is a fun and interactive website where you and your kids will definitely love to explore; your kids will love the honey bees at the site and both of you can have fun getting more information about the honey bees. Just one of the things I learned while exploring the website:

“Cherries: We cannot tell a lie. More than 80 percent of all cherries rely on honey bee pollination. In order to produce quality fruit, a cherry blossom must get 100 grains of pollen from a honey bee visitor. Luckily, honey bees can carry as many as 100,000 grains of pollen at once!”

According to this article, ‘Disappearing bees threaten ice cream sellers’ by Parija B. Kavilanz, which I found on the site from, “Premium maker Haagen-Dazs says vanishing bee colonies in the United States could mean fewer flavors and higher prices.” I have learnt from young that the honey bees are very industrious but I never knew that honey bee can be so important to an ice cream maker.

“Honey bees apparently are responsible for 40% of its 60 flavors – such as strawberry, toasted pecan and banana split and these are among consumers’ favorite flavors,” according to Katty Pien, brand director with Haagen-Dazs. In fact, one-third of the U.S. food supply – including a variety of fruits, vegetables and even nuts – depends on pollination from bees. And we think that oil price increases will increase food prices. If there are no honey bees, then we may not have one-third of the food to begin with?

It was comforting to know that at least premium ice cream maker’s like Haagen-Dazs was doing their bit for the honey bees in 2008. No doubt they have financial interest, it was still a great thing to do, to raise consumers’ awareness about the issue. We do have to give recognition to the honey bees for billions worth of work each year! Just in case you are wondering if Haagen-Dazs paid me to spread the message, I was not paid anything then and certainly not anything now to spread this message. However, it would be a great idea if I can get free tubs of Haagen-Dazs’s ice cream to share with my family and friends.

If you do love your ice cream, I do urge you to do something too. Go to to sign the petition. Next time when you have a tub of Haagen-Dazs’s ice cream, think about the honey bees and remember ‘no honey, no ice cream.’ Thank you my honey friends.

Photo credit: Sarah Gilbert
Get More Confidence

How to impress a woman and how to impress a manJust today, I shared a passage on how to make a man happy and how to make a woman happy, now I want to share another on ‘How to’ and this time is on ‘How to impress a woman and how to impress a man.’ While I was looking for a picture to go with a quote from Marianne Williamson, I encountered this image (to your right) by the truly talented Nina Matthews. I not only like the picture but also the description that goes with it; it simply made me laugh.

If you like the previous post on “How to make a man happy and how to make a woman happy,” you would surely love this too.

How to Impress A Woman

Wine her.
Dine her.
Call her.
Hold her.
Surprise her.
Compliment her,
Smile at her.
Listen to her.
Laugh with her.
Cry with her.
Romance her.
Encourage her.
Believe in her.
Pray with her.
Pray for her.
Respect her.
Honour her.
Cuddle her.
Shop with her.
Give her jewellery.
Give her flowers.
Kiss her.
Caress her.
Love her.
Stroke her.
Tease her.
Comfort her.
Protect her.
Hug her.
Spend money on her.
Buy things for her.
Care for her.
Stand by her.
Support her.
Hold her hand.
Write love letters to her.
Go to the ends of the Earth and back again for her.

How To Impress A Man

Show up naked.
Bring chicken wings.
Don’t block the TV.

Photo and Description Credit: Nina Matthews Photography
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William James Whenever you're in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it

Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.William James

This is especially true when we are caught in an argument with another, when ‘winning’ temporary seems more important than the relationship with the person. At that point of time, our blood is boiling and we just want to say the nastiest things to hurt the person. However, trust me, almost 100% of the time we are only hurting ourselves as we’ll live to regret what we say; I couldn’t remember a time when I said somethings in the heat of the moments and I didn’t regret after that. Our attitude in how we handle an argument really plays an important part.

What we should have done, as far as possible at that moment, is to walk away to allow both parties the much needed time to cool down. Make it clear to the other person that we are not avoiding but it is not going to be constructive to talk at a time like this.

However, it is not gonna be easy to walk away especially when we are emotionally stirred up and yet that is what we must do. Whenever I was on the verge of blurting out something hurtful, I would always consciously remind myself of the consequence. I might not be always successful but like flexing of our muscles, the more we flex our muscles the stronger they get; the more we put it into practice, the better we get also.

Attitude, surely is an important factor that can make a difference to relationship and we must focus more on relationship building and less on being right and winning. I would also like to share a passage by Joel Osteen, which I read yesterday on the power of words in communication between spouses. I do believe that our attitude towards the relationship ultimately determines the words we speak and that indirectly either damage or deepen the relationship. Although the below passage by Joel Osteen focuses on communication between spouses, I do believe that it applies to all type of relationships and it is very much worth a read.

It is important for a husband to understand that his words have tremendous power in his wife’s life. He needs to bless her with words. She’s given her life to love and care for him, to partner with him, to create a family together, to nurture his children. If he is always finding fault in something she’s doing, always putting her down, he will reap horrendous problems in his marriage and in his life.

Moreover, many women today are depressed and feel emotionally abused because their husbands do not bless them with their words. One of the leading causes of emotional breakdowns among married women is the fact that women do not feel valued. One of the main reasons for that deficiency is because husbands are willfully or unwittingly withholding the words of approval women so desperately desire.

If you want to see God do wonders in your marriage, start praising your spouse. Start appreciating and encouraging her. Every single day, a husband should tell his wife, “I love you. I appreciate you. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me.”

A wife should do the same for her husband. Your relationship would improve immensely if you’d simply start speaking kind, positive words, blessing your spouse instead of cursing him or her.

How have you been able to work on your attitude especially with regards to relationship?

Photo Credit: mollypop
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Joseph Campbell follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls

Joseph Campbell said, “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.

Then Steve Jobs said something about loving what you do, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking. Don’t settle.

And Francois Marie Arouet (Voltaire) put it very simply, “I have decided to be happy because it’s good for my health.”

Joseph was right when he said that the universe will open doors where there were only walls and might I say that we need to have strong faith, courage and trust that it will all turn out great too; because more often than not, we need to walk through the wall or to knock down the wall to build the door. The universe favours one who work hard and there is always delay gratification. Patience. Why you may ask? As the saying goes, “Easy comes, easy goes.” And so it will be with the gift bestows to you from the universe. Thus, it is necessary to prepare one mentally to receive that greatest gift of becoming the person we were born to be. In fact, we are already that person, waiting to be let out of our heart.

The preparation could have come in the form of lessons in life and work. Steve Jobs mentioned that work is going to fill a large part of our life. So doesn’t it make sense to do work that we love, work that bring out our best potential, work that we are naturally good? It certainly makes a lot of sense. As the saying goes, “When we love the work we do, then we don’t have to work anymore for another day because we will be playing everyday.

That happiness found in work will surely overflow to the other parts in life; affecting first and foremost the relationships with our family and friends. Don’t we all know of someone who is everyday complaining about work? It is rather sad actually to see someone we care about going through the unhappiness. Yet I think Randy Pausch put it best when he said, “Too many people go through life complaining about their problems. I’ve always believed that if you took one tenth the energy you put into complaining and applied it to solving the problem, you’d be surprised by how well things can work out.” Are we also falling into such a cycle? A gentle reminder to myself, “Acknowledge the challenges and then to focus on the solutions.”

Acknowledging the challenges is important as we cannot change that, which we are not aware of and it is for one very good reason that change must come through. Being happy – it’s not only good for the people we loved and cared about, most importantly it is exceptionally good for myself! Are you joining me in this happiness journey?

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