The Touched by Grace Blog


On Genes

My youngest son has a habit of leaving one or two tablespoons of food on his plate after he finishes a meal. Paul and I would always wonder why. A few days ago, my mother-in law was fretting about my father-in-law. “He leaves one to two tablespoons of food after he eats. Every time. I can’t understand why.” Wow! A bulb was lit inside my head! Alex got that habit from his grandfather! Really… a gene for leaving morsels behind? How else can I explain such behavior? And it’

A Prayer Answered

There's an appointed time for us to meet our Creator. This is a certainty for me. Dad was in his seventies and physically fit as can be when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. I felt so sad and distant, being here in Los Angeles, as he was in Manila. I prayed in my heart to Jesus that I may be given the opportunity to be with Dad when his time comes to meet our Lord. We visited the Philippines the following summer with plans to go to China. The trip to China didn’t push th

Man In the Mirror

We have an inside family joke that I'll share. It's that one side of our family takes a while to get the punch lines of jokes. If at all they get it! Our "Slowjoke Gene Award" goes to a relative who finally got the joke after several days. And I make fun of other relatives who seem to have the "Slowjoke Gene". (It’s okay to joke around if it’s one’s family, right?) I like the song "Man In The Mirror". All these years (until a few years back), I thought the "Man in the Mirro

In-and-Out and Going the Extra Mile

Sorry, In-and-Out, but this blog is not about burgers. It’s about getting out what we put in. (In some way, it also is.) Usually... We get the grades consistent with the time and effort we put into studying. We get the family with the time and love we put into it. We get the promotion in line with the effort and dedication we put at work. How about putting in the extra mile and see what we get out? How about leaving no stone unturned with studying? How about giving the extra

Be Careful What You Ask For

I was getting my blood drawn at the lab when I asked the technician if she heard the news that someone won the $400-something million dollar lottery. I also mentioned that my cousin knew a lottery winner whose life turned for the worst because of the winning. The technician blurted, “I’ll take the money, curses and all!” “Wow!” I thought, “Does she really know what she is saying?” It reminded me of “The Monkey’s Paw” by W. W. Jacobs. In the story, the main character gets a h

On Nourishing Ourselves

Do you remember what you had for breakfast yesterday? How about breakfast same day last week? (Don’t worry, I don’t even recall what I had for breakfast today!) No, this isn't a memory test. What I know is that whatever I ate this morning, yesterday or a week ago, it gave me energy. It nourished me. That'is exactly how I feel about hearing Sunday’s gospel. Soon after mass is over, I usually forget what the gospel was about. Nevertheless, even if I don’t remember what it was,

On Head or Heart

When I was in college, a friend told me, “People should use their head when making decisions, not the heart. That is why the head is on top.” For decades, I’ve been reflecting on her advice. I’ve now come to the conclusion that it’s not really one over the other. The head and the heart complement each other. If the heart tugs at something, or someone, we should also ask the head for its thoughts. If the head thinks something, then the heart should share its feelings. And if

On Health and Happiness

Do you know of anyone who wants to be unhappy, to live an unhealthy and short life… intentionally? I don’t, and I hope you don’t too because I don’t think it's healthy. Everyone aims to live a sensibly long, happy and healthy life. Berkeley Wellness states that it'is “Our ability to connect with others, to have meaningful relationships, to have a community” that brings happiness. Experiences, more than purchases, bring lasting happiness. And the good part is that we have con

Glass Half Full

Half the year is over! Can you believe that? Just remember that the days will continue. Whether we're ready or not, another year's coming soon. July 4th is Wednesday! Time to celebrate, and more importantly, it’s time to give thanks to our Lord for this very blessed country. Let's all pray that peace will reign in our hearts and in the whole world. Don’t forget that prayers create miracles. July seems a foodie month with these national treat days: Ice Cream Day (July 15),

Mid-Life Crisis

I've been wrangling with some anxiety issues the past couple of weeks. Paul and I have three sons. The oldest is working, our second is in college and our youngest is a senior in high school. Empty nest looms over my head but my whole being wants to escape from it. I told him it might be mid-life crisis. He retorted, “Do you mean you’re living til you’re 120?” I was turning 60. He was so right. It’s not mid-life crisis. It’s down-the-hill crisis. In her late 70s, my mom

Fond Memories

Do you ever look back on fond memories? I do. Quite often. They always make me smile. When I get dragged down by life’s struggles, I get reprieve from filling my mind with wonderful memories, especially during childhood. My energy is renewed, and my heart fills with joy. I'm reminded that I've been blessed. So the next time life throws you a couple of odd balls, try hitting back with wonderful memories. Maybe it’ll get you to a home run. My name's Anna Maria! I publish a new

On Spelling Bee Week

Spelling Bee Week was two weeks ago. At the 91st annual Scripps National Spelling Bee on May 31, Karthik Nemmani of McKinney, Texas, was crowned champion. I've never been good at spelling. Thank heavens for spell check of word processors these days! But there's one special word I think I know how to spell. That word is love. How do I spell it? I spell it T-I-M-E. (I’m sure you’ve spelled it that way too.) I couldn't think of a better way to spell it. Oh... there’s another

Economics of Time

Have you ever calculated how much time you spend on your activities? Let’s estimate. According to Nielsen, an average person spends about an average of eight hours daily watching TV. (WOW!) Eight hours out of 24 hours per day is about 33.33 percent. This 33 percent translates to 2,851 hours per year watching TV or almost 4 months of watching TV 24/7. (Double WOW!) And we often say, “We don’t have time!” How about taking 10 minutes of that TV time to give thanks for being abl

Happy Father's Day

At a Mother’s Day mass in 1909, a young 26-year-old Sonora Smart Dodd felt inspired to recognize fathers for their role in raising families. Her father William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran, raised his family of six when his wife died in childbirth. Dodd worked hard to garner support for her idea and on June 19, 1910, Washington celebrated the first statewide Father's Day. In 1972, President Richard Nixon signed the proclamation to make the holiday nationwide into law. T

On Superheroes

Summer's the time for blockbuster movies. And what more than superheroes to bring throngs of moviegoers to the theaters. Superhero origin stories work out differently. Some superheroes are born with superpowers. Other heroes begin as unassuming characters content with their simple life and, reluctantly or not, are led towards an adventure-filled world like Bilbo Baggins in "The Hobbit" and Harry Potter in, well, "Harry Potter". In the end, they save the world. All in all, th

On Blunder Blogs

I have a terrible habit of pressing buttons by mistake. I just pressed one by mistake yesterday (Saturday) and a blank post got published! Thanks for probably thinking that it was a contemplation blog. (At least one reader did!) That would've been a good one. I’m sorry for the confusion my habit might have caused you. Believe me, I have no intentions of repeating it. But as habits go… Wish me the best! Tomorrow’s blog is one of my faves. I hope it’ll be one of yours too. M

On Wedding Anniversaries

Not many people think about silver and golden anniversaries when they get married. We didn’t. We just got there. When I was in my early 20s, I was invited to an intimate silver anniversary celebration. After an elegant dinner, the couple danced slowly to music. As they were dancing, I noticed subdued tears from the wife’s eyes. I thought that was strange. Fast forward 2017. We celebrated our 25th. During mass, I remembered the couple decades ago where the wife shed tears

On Graduation and Beyond

Graduations are exciting times! Can you imagine that one must have had three graduations before they get to college? If you count pre-school graduation, that makes it four. College graduations are usually huge celebrations because they culminate all the hard work (and hard-earned money) put into the process. And every college graduation has a commencement speech worth our time. So when all the graduation celebrations have died down, find the time this summer to read your com

On Planning

June is a celebratory month. It’s the end of school (YAY!), the start of summer, the month of graduations, weddings and Father’s Day celebrations. (June 1 is also National Donut Day!) With all these festivities, preparations needed for this month come to mind. Are we ready for it? Just about everything in life becomes much easier with preparation. From womb to tomb, and all events in between, people can start anticipating occasions as well as planning early. Isn’t it the sam

Memorial Day

What do you do to celebrate Memorial Weekend? A. Go out of town to visit relatives, B. Have a backyard barbecue, C. Visit a veterans cemetery to pay respects to the members of the military who have died serving the country, or D. Go to the mall for Memorial Day sales? If you chose any of the first three answers, your tradition has a link to the past. Many decades ago, people drove hundreds of miles to gather with family members to decorate the grave sites of soldiers


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