Hello to “The Sunshine Blogger Award”

The sunshine blogger award

Just received a nomination for an award. Yehey!

Feeling so grateful to S.M. of secondtymblogger for including my blog in the list of nominees for The Sunshine Blogger Award. A big thank you and a warm hug. I am so happy to know that my posts brought a ray of sunshine in someone’s life. I thank all of you for being a part in my purposive journey.


The Rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the questions sent by the person who nominated you.
3. Nominate seven new blogs to receive the award and write them new questions.
4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog.


My answers to the questions:

  1. Is there any character from any book or movie that you relate to. If so, then who and why?

The character I relate to fully well is that of Jo March in the book Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. We had certain common characteristics: in the book Josephine or Jo was fifteen years old, which was my age at the time I read the book; Jo was the second daughter which I also am; Jo was kind of boyish, I also was at that time; Jo was a “hot”-tempered young lass, this was one of my struggles too;  Jo loves writing and reading, which are my favorite activities too. Jo was the heroine of the story, I also am the heroine of my story too. (*_^)

2. How do you like to spend your weekends?

Bonding with family! Walking, beach, or just simply at home enjoying the time of togetherness.

3. Name at least one of your pet peeves?

My pet peeve? When someone speaks in contrary to what he does. This for me is complicating an otherwise simple life.

4. What kind of weather do you like?

A cool and windy weather. A kind that has no sun, a little stormy and lots of winds but not the strong one that damages properties. I love to be outdoors when the weather is like this because I love the wind blowing upon my hair.

5.Are you an outdoor person or do you prefer to stay indoors?

I grew up to be an indoor person. My mom was strict and did not like her kids to be staying outside. I come to love it since I am an introverted type too. However, now that my love for photography has developed I am loving it outside to capture everything beautiful.


My nominees:


My questions for the nominees

  1. What is your favorite quotation/s and why?
  2.  How do you see your blog five years from now?
  3. How do you spend quality time with your family?
  4. Do you have any morning rituals? If so, what are they?
  5. What is your life’s biggest goal?

 

A big thank you to all for the good feedback and for dropping by. You all have brought a ray of sunshine in my life too.

Lotsa love!

~Nezel

 

 

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Summary And Finale of My Participation In Caroline’s 30 Days Sunrise Photo And Health Challenge

Finale! At last I am on my thirtieth day. Wahoo!

Caroline's 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge

So how does it feel to be here? I will answer this question lastly. Let me relate again, how I started. I have read Caroline’s challenge from my reader feed. It was just random browsing. Upon reading all about it, I said to myself, oh, this is just easy because the sun always shine in our country summer or not. With the health part, I have been doing yoga, though I consider myself still a beginner. At least I am doing something that is good for my health. I was just hesitant because Caroline was already on her fourth day. However, she emphasized that the period covered would be from July 14 to September 1. That makes more or less forty-five days to do. Since the required number of days is only 30, there would be lot of allowances for unexpected events whereby one could not perform the challenge in a day. Then and there, I was on it.

Later did I realize, the sunrise is not visible from my home. Moreover, I need to get up earlier than my wake up time if I were to catch the sunrise. I then slowly begin to doubt myself: could I really do this? I already have started. Should I stop? If I stop a heavier toll is on me. I have tried doing certain projects in the past without finishing most of them. This time I must never ever stop. What if I just do this one day at a time without overthinking about it? I did moved on, anyway the rules of the challenge are wide open. Besides, it only takes a five minute walk from my house to get a view of the sunrise.

My first two days in the challenge I used old photos. I was already days behind so  I tried to catch up. The third day was my first experienced of having a view of the sunrise. It was a bit cloudy but the clouds gave more dramatic effect on the sunrise. I then slowly noticed the freshness of the air and the bits and pieces of nature around. Caroline started to comment. That gave me much motivation to go on. I was inspired by her photos too.

Day four was so cloudy. Day five was still cloudy but I loved that photo so much. The clouds looked like an eruption of a volcano with the sun’s rays scattered behind. Day six is my most loved of all. I had been in another island. From there the sun rose from the sea. With the sea giving a reflection of the sunrise, it was all perfect for me. Day seven is my second most loved. The sunbeams passed through the mango trees that grow at our neighbor’s yard. The effect was made complete by the morning fog.

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On day eight it rained because there was a typhoon looming at the other part of the country. I just used an old photo. On day nine I started to notice grasses and butterflies. That was the first time I included their photos in my post. On day ten it rained again. Good that the sun showed up at 7:00 A.M. I then took photos of the things where the sunlight fell.

On day eleven I was chasing butterflies. It was a cloudy morning and the sun did not show any trace. Later when it showed up I took photos of it peeking through the branches of trees. Day twelve was an interesting one. My youngest son accompanied me in my early morning walk. We walked for forty minutes then. On day thirteen I meditated with nature. I was too tired to take my morning walk because my son got sick the previous night and I had minimal sleep. It was a perfect moment for meditation for me because the weather was windy and the smell of the grasses was so refreshing. I just missed Caroline’s comment and wondered why she had not posted anything on her blog. However, I still went on with my goals.

On day fourteen it was me who got sick. I felt I had overworked myself and over-eaten foods that are not good for my body. Again I used an old photo. It rained on day fifteen. When the rain shower stopped and the sun finally showed up I took photos of it through thick leaves. I was surprised, the effect was awesome. On day sixteen my morning activity finally sank in. I slowly noticed that I began to fell in love with the sunrise. I even wondered why had I not started this activity early on when I was surrounded with nature. Despite that, I began to get worried why hadn’t Caroline commented on my posts. She had not even updated her blog. I then questioned myself if I should continue with the challenge. I just thanked myself for being resolute enough to go on.

On day seventeen my son was with me again. We climbed up a hill. I then felt in myself the good effects of walking. So I wrote the benefits of it in my post. On day eighteen I was so immersed in nature. I did not take a walk farther, but took notice of everything around me: from flowers, to butterflies, to spiderwebs. I started to appreciate these things. I felt I was seeing things with new eyes.

We were a team on day nineteen. My two kids and my mom joined with me. I included in my post the benefits of bonding with family. I was alone on day twenty. I shared the benefits of “me time” in my post. Day twenty-one was supposedly a good time for sunrise photo taking. However, I woke up a little later. The sun was so bright when I took a ten-minute brisk-walk. In my post I shared how I re-aligned my health goals. Day twenty-two was a rare one for me since I started this morning routine. I was surprised to see the moon still out in the sky. The previous night I took a photo of it. And in the morning it was still there! I was just amused.

Day twenty-three was a breakthrough. I and my youngest son almost reached the top of the hill. For the first time we walked for one hour. On day twenty-four the clouds covered the sun again and occasional rain showers fell. I again used old photos and shared the beautiful things I learned in this journey in my post. Day twenty-five was still a rainy one. I used an old photo and shared the eight benefits of sunlight on us. I was flattered Caroline reblogged my post. Yes, she was back a few days ago. She got sick that was why she was offline for a longer time. But she is catching on with the challenge.

On day twenty-six it rained very early. By 6:45 A.M. the rain stopped. I managed to take a photo of the sun’s light that fell on the branches of a huge tree outside of our yard. It was an amazing sight! On this day I shared in my post the eleven benefits of rising early. On my twenty-seventh day I was still awed by the sunrise. The sky was still reddish-orange and tiny clouds spotted the sky. That was a “wow’ moment again. It were the seven things to do to rise up early that I shared for today.

On day twenty-eight we took on a different route. My youngest son and my mom were with me again. This day I was inspired to share my thoughts on living life one day at a time. On day twenty-nine I took photos of flowers in our yard. My son got sick the previous night and so I had a sleepless night. I went outside to refresh myself and just inspired to take photos of everything beautiful where the sunlight fell. And I shared some meanings of the number twenty-nine.

Thirtieth day: finale!

Do you know that I have a very beautiful plan for this day? I plan to take a sunrise photo at the beach with me doing yoga in front of the sun. However, my son got sick. There was no way I could do this since I plan to end this challenge on the last day of the specified period. I proceeded to option 2: walk up the hill and catch sunrise there.

The next day I executed my plan. I woke up so early, past 3:00 A.M. I was just excited. Well, two of my loved ones woke up too and asked to join me – my mom and my youngest son. It was still dark when we started. We were off at 5:06. Minutes later a reddish sky greeted us. Wow! I thought to myself:  a promising sunrise awaits us.

But when we started climbing up the hill, I was slowly disheartened. Clouds started to cover the sky. Just a pale light from the sunrise was visible. I then decided that we must see where the sunrise was more visible. It means we have to follow a driveway to a friend’s house that curved a little around the hill. We did just that. When we reached at the end of the way, Oh, we were greeted by an open field with a cow grazing, a sunrise over the mountain with thick clouds on top of it, wildflowers sprawling and a view of the sea. It was such a beautiful sight for me. All the photos on this post were taken on this day. Please say with me: Amazing! Little things just make me happy. My spirit just danced. The view was enough an award for me for having arrived this far and able to complete the challenge. Cheers!

By the way, we walked today for a total of one hour and twenty-seven minutes. The first time we did. We climb down the hill excited and happy. And I thanked the clouds for not hiding the sunrise from us completely.

So how was I after the thirty days? I changed a bit. I find myself more joyful, more beautiful inside, more loving, more aware of my surroundings, much healthier, less prone to stress and a certified amateur photographer as well. Moreover, I felt my energy to be slowly coming back.

In 2014, I got sick and soon believed I wouldn’t be healthier and energetic again. I thought my youthful years had been over. I am so thankful I am slowly able to tinker around my garden again. I am so grateful I participated in this challenge. And more grateful to Caroline for coming up a challenge like this.

I may have completed the 30 days challenge, but deep within my heart says my journey to sunrises is not yet over. In fact, it had just begun. It would never be because from here I birthed my morning magic routine.

As for the health challenge, morning walks has been and would be a part of that magic routine, my yoga practice included.

If you love nature and have access to nature, this challenge would work great for you too. May you be the next participant.

You may access Caroline’s 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge here. You may also access each of my post about this challenge in this page.

Thank you for reading this far. Have a great day!

~Nezel

 

Living Life One Day At A Time (Caroline’s 30 Days Sunrise Photo And Health Challenge: Day 28)

live life one day at a time-sunrise photo

Been up at 5:15. My youngest son woke me up and urged me that we may take our morning walk. My mother went with us too. This morning we tried another route. The sunrise was not that visible, but the reflection of it on the clouds was. I loved the photo above. It contained most of the elements I love seeing in the sky: blue sky, white clouds with yellow and orange hues, birds in flight and towering trees.

live life one day at a time

Here the light penetrated at the top of the trees and made a bright background.

live life one day at a time

Here, the clouds seemed to explode the moment it was hit by the sunrise’s light. The sunrise was then a bit covered by clouds. For this morning we completed a thirty minute walk.

Today I am going to share with you how this challenge unexpectedly made me to live life one day at a time.

How to live life one day at a time? I could have answered this question theoretically, intellectually, or better yet, use the journey of my heroes to answer this question. Just recently, I found the answer to my own question matter-of-factly.

I have been an obedient follower of anybody who already found the “right way.” In short, I have designed myself to become like anybody else – a go getter. I already have a list of my dreams, list of goals, plans and strategies to achieving those goals and the short-term, day to day goals, as well as the actions needed to implement those goals on a daily basis. This is perfectly how I see my day to day activities. To break the monotony once in a while I joined certain challenges.

Participating Caroline’s sunrise photo and health challenge was only a part of my daily grind. Until slowly, in my day to day journey, I found out I have unraveled a gold mine very essential to my journey. I began to see each day with differently new eyes. I used to believe all days are the same; it is only our attitude and activities that makes any day special. I was completely and absolutely wrong. As I have witnessed over twenty sunrises, I found out every sunrise is different. Every sunrise brings an unexpected surprise. Everyday is literally different from each other.

Antoine de St. Exupery in his book “The Little Prince” says: What is essential is invisible to the eye. Perhaps, I have not seen the difference or the presence of each day because I only see a day as part of a week, a month, or a year. I only do a certain thing a day in order to become what I could be in the future. In short, I only see what the future looks like. My focus is very much directed in the future. Perhaps, this is the reason why some people have the habit of buying lands, building huge buildings, and taking vacations without noticing the needs of the people who put them at the pedestal they are standing on. Because they are so much focused in the future; on what they could become. For if only one could see the beauty of each day, greediness would be ashamed to come near to that person.

The journey to thirty sunrises lead me back to who I am. Was it due to the sunrise’s light? or the stunning view of every sunrise? or the quietude of the morning? or the freshness of nature? or the amazing morning sky? or the cloud’s changing hues? or the silence in my heart when I am out there bathing the sunrise? or the walk with my kids? or the butterflies, the bees, the spiderwebs I see along the way? or the crowing of the cocks and the chirping of the birds? or the meditation with nature? or just because I woke up earlier? or because I am so much grateful to God for all these blessings? I guess, it is all of the above. I do not know how. I just know I slowly hear the still voice within me, which I missed for so long. It again speaks. And I hear it again.

As I look back on those over twenty sunrises I could not remember if there was any day that was just like the other. Every day was different. And there was no boring one ever. When I would complete this challenge after two more days, I know my journey would not stop there. I wonder who would I be after sixty or one hundred sunrises?

Ah, this is how I discover living life one day at a time. I just do not know if this works for you my friend. But you can take your chances. Anyway, our journey is ours to take. I am so glad I found mine.

May you have found your way to living life one day at a time.

~Nezel

(You may visit Caroline’s 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge here.)

(WP Daily Prompt: obvious)

7 Simple Things To Do To Become An Early Riser (Caroline’s 30 Days Sunrise Photo And Health Challenge: Day 27)

At five-thirty this morning this was how the sky looked like. Old folks say that if the color of the sky in early morn is red hot, it is going to be a hot day. With much of their experience, it may be true. As for me, I could not say anything about it  because for many a year I have been in an air-conditioned office most of the day. Whichever, I am so much grateful for having gone outside in time to witness this magical hues, for the clouds changed color in just a matter of minutes.

With this photo the golden clouds seemed to be a flying eagle turned upside down from afar. I really was so glad to be under such a magnificent sky at the moment. Marvelous!

To think I am on my twenty-seventh day of the challenge, and I seem not to have had enough of everything that an early morning walk has to offer. And honestly, there are still some mornings when I could not get up to my desired time, especially on chilly ones.

So, what are the things to do in order to get up early? Here are what I get from others’ and my own experience as well:

  1. You don’t have to make drastic changes. Start slowly, by waking just 15-30 minutes earlier than usual. Get used to this for a few days. Then cut back another 15 minutes. Do this gradually until you get to your goal time.
  2. Allow yourself to sleep earlier. I used to write and read late in the evening because it is the time when complete silence settles in the house, when everybody is asleep. But I slowly cut the habit off. I began to sleep thirty to one hour earlier than my usual time just to wake up early. There are just some privileges you have to give up in order to receive one much better privilege. I then do my reading early in the morning. And it worked out just fine.
  3. Put your alarm clock far from your bed. When you get up and hit your alarm clock off, you will probably wake up. As for me, I never use an alarm clock. I don’t want to wake up everybody else so I don’t use that one. I am just used to going to the bathroom at four o’clock or a little later; then there are the cock’s crowing. I just have to look at the time and decide whether to return to bed or not.
  4. Do not rationalize. But then it is better not to listen to your self urging you to return to bed. When you get up that is it.
  5. Have a good reason why you get up in the first place. Focusing on your “why” makes it easier for you to move on and get the thing done. For me, I keep telling myself: I just have to do this.
  6. Make waking up early a reward. Seeing the sunrise down the horizon and being soaked in nature is more than a reward for me. For you, it might be treating yourself with a cup of coffee, or opening a good book.
  7. You have the time to take advantage of all the extra time. You have the chance to plan up your day, check out your goals and do the things that that are on your priority list. Do not make it a time for checking blogs or reading emails. It is the best time for meditation too. For me, I go out in time for the sunrise and my 10 to 30 minutes brisk walking and some photography sessions along the way. I then prepare the kids for school, then do my yoga.

(You may visit Caroline’s 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge here.)

11 Priceless Benefits of Rising Early (Caroline ‘s 30 Days Sunrise Photo And Health Challenge: Day 26)

The weather is still not so fine this morning. But at 6:35 the sun peeked brightly through thin clouds. I quickly went outside and took some shots. I found the sunlight beautiful upon this tree outside of our yard.

As I was about to enter our gate, this butterfly pea flower which climbed over our wire fence and a bug caught the corner of my eye. The sunlight was shining through it and made a dramatic impression. So I took some shots of it. The weather has not been so perfect, but everything that I see seemed perfect. Truly, when you go out to seek beautiful things, beautiful things seem to call on you. I am still grateful though for being able to breathe the freshness of the morning in such short minutes. After around thirty minutes rain-showers start to fall again.

In connection to Caroline’s 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge, let me tackle today the benefits of rising early. Rising early is one requisite in witnessing the sunrise. It is much better to even rise before the sunrise. This post also gets some points from Leo Babauta of Zenhabits.  We happen to share some views on the priceless benefits of rising early:

  1. Greet the day. Rising early gives me ample time to think beautiful thoughts to prepare my day. It is a good time to thank God for waking me up to another day.
  2. Amazing start. I used to wake up late and found myself tired even before getting out of bed. When I started the challenge, oh, there is no better way to start the day early and have much time to get things done.
  3. Quietude. I so love taking my morning walks seeing only very few people. It seems I own the place. Especially, when what I hear are only cocks crowing, birds chirping, and breeze softly whispering. It may not all be silence, but a total quietude settles within me.
  4. Sunrise. I feel much more in love with the sunrise ever since I joined the challenge. You may read here the eight benefits sunrise has given me.
  5. Breakfast. Other people are still good even when they skip breakfast. In our family, breakfast is the most important meal in the day. Rising early gives us much time to prepare for it.
  6. Exercise. The best exercise I discovered other than yoga, is taking a walk in the morning catching the sunrise. I have a friend who also gets up early to jog. He looks fit with his age.
  7. Goal time. Others like Leo, do their goals early in the morning. I do my goals in the evening. Now that I get up early I am learning to make some just for the day.
  8. Commute. For others who live farther than their workplace, rising early is a must, especially when traffic is a problem. In my case, we live in a secluded place. Traffic is never a problem. It takes only ten minutes for me to arrive in my workplace.
  9. Productivity. Most writers spend early mornings in writing. There is even a study conducted that says we are most productive two hours after we wake up. This may sound true because I almost always get better ideas in my shower time.
  10. Nature. I love nature. I live in a place surrounded by nature. It is easier for me to rise early and be with nature, immersed in nature and be one with nature. It is a kind of meditation for me.
  11. Prayer. This is the best ritual to start a day. Nothing beats negativity more than a heartfelt prayer uttered by an uncluttered mind. When the spirit is strong, the body is strong.

Tomorrow I’d be posting on how to rise early.

Have a purposeful day!

~Nezel

(You may check Caroline’s 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge here.)

 

 

8 Surprising Benefits Of Sunrise (Caroline’s 30 Days Sunrise Photo And Health Challenge: Day 25)

The sun again did not show up this morning. Our weather was governed by occasional rain-showers and a windy day due to strong south winds.

So for today I used an old sunrise photo taken a month ago at 6:05 in the morning and limited my physical exercises indoors.  But still this did not hinder me from having a beautiful day.

For today, I love to share with you the benefits of sunrise on our health. Sunrise as we know it, is the source of all energy. Its rising in the morning make all life forms thank the Maker. It is the awakening of every new beginning. The most beautiful thing is, it is free. So if you could, try to wake up early and bathe its light that you may reap all the benefits it has to offer:

Natural Source of Vitamin D.  In humans Vitamin D changes to calcium in the body which encourages the hormone endorphin production. Endorphins give you that feel good feeling which causes happiness and satisfaction which prevents depression. The most notable benefit of exposure to sunlight is its ability to boost your body’s vitamin D supply. The NIH says at least 1,000 different genes that control every tissue in the body are linked to be regulated by vitamin D3. Vitamin D is produced by the skin’s response to UV radiation primarily through sun exposure, which affects 10 percent of the genes in the human body.

Sunlight is good for the nervous system. Lack of sunlight is now linked to PTSD. Exposure to the sun can reduce anxiety. I proved this to be true because I used to depend on my B complex supplements. According to my doctor my nerves needed it. But after I exposed myself in the sunrise regularly, I slowly limit my intake to two to three times a week. And I still feel good and energetic!

Enhances Your Mood. Regular sunlight exposure can naturally increase the serotonin levels in your body, making you more active and alert.

Lowers Blood Pressure. Skin that is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays release a compound, nitric oxide, that lowers blood pressure. In a recent study conducted at Edinburgh University, dermatologists studied the blood pressure of 34 volunteers under UV and heat lamps. In one session, the volunteers were exposed to both light sources and in the other session, the UV rays were blocked so only the heat affected the skin. The results of the study showed a significant drop in blood pressure after exposure to UV rays for an hour but not after the heat-only sessions. It is important to note that the volunteers’ vitamin D levels were unaffected in both sessions.

Awesome Beauty. The most beautiful moment of the sunrise is what they call the golden hour. It is the period shortly after sunrise. I have witnessed such beauty and it is beyond what words can say. Everything around is beautiful and literally golden.

Unadulterated Peace. Being bathe with the sun’s light feels like being one with it. It is so calming. And all sunrises always bring tranquility around.

Enhance Spirituality. It is lifting up the spirits. The light seems to permeate deep within. Maybe because of the beauty and the tranquility that the sunrise brings, you become more aware and in tune with your self. Because you are surrounded by nature, you come to meditate with nature.

Lasting happiness. When you start the day right, the whole day feels right. When you start with good feelings and enhanced mood, negativity seldom beats you.

So, what are you waiting for? Go out early in the morning and greet the sunrise with arms wide open. It only seems difficult at first, but when done regularly, the experience is worth the effort.

Have a sunshiny day!

~Nezel

(Caroline’s 30 days sunrise photo and health challenge is a good start to love the sunrise).