I really enjoy the work of Japanese animator Hayao Miyzaki. One of his most famous and iconic works is My Neighbor Totoro (となりのトトロ Hepburn: Tonari no Totoro). I got this stained glass (plastic) puzzle piece when I visited Japan last October. Good times and memories. Miyazaki’s and Studio Ghibli’s stories are full of imagination and wonder, which I think is why they’re enjoyed by both children and adults.
Do you ever just want to get up and travel? Leave everything behind for a moment in time and just explore? Just get away from where you are and see new things, experience new places, meet new people, and discover wonderful new places? We don’t always remember a good meal or a night out with friends, but we always remember the trips we take and the experiences we had on them, the friends we made, or loves kindled. For some, the desire for travel and exploration offers a temporary escape from their current situation or mundane life. For others, it brings to reality their dreams and things they imagined about other places as they set out to explore them. It brings to life images we’ve seen on TV and places we’ve read about in books. It’s exciting and mysterious. Wanderlust is very real to each of us and we all suffer from it. The question is why?Continue reading
I picked up some French cookies from World Market the other day called Le Petit Normand. They’re a basic biscuit with a milk chocolate back. They were Ok, nothing to write home about, though. I do like World Market and all the variety of foods from different countries they have. Great place to find new snacks to go with your morning or evening coffee.
Sometimes focusing on the little things causes us to forget the beauty in the whole picture.
There is little doubt that the night sky is one the most beautiful backdrops of creation. Filled with tiny points of light forming patterns and a beauty in its seemingly random design, the stars are breathtaking on a clear night far from the pollution of city lights that try to drown out their beauty. Their brilliance is only surpassed by the light of the moon, which is beautiful in its own way with its phases and the visible craters on its surface. The moon is lonely, but unique to our sky and one of a kind, however, it’s solitude is not depressing, it’s peaceful. Indeed, the moon is the most magnificent object in the night sky, easily outshining the stars in all their own glory, but no matter how bright it is, it is easily missed if our attention is focused on the stars. Continue reading
There’s something to the quietness of the late night and early morning when the world is sleeping and I’m the only one awake.
I typically stay up fairly late in the night, which definitely has its benefits and drawbacks. A few drawbacks being that I tend to wake up later in the day or feel tired if I have to wake up early. Still, though, as much as I try, I can’t get to bed earlier than I normally do, which is usually around 1:30am – 2am. I’m not sure exactly when this habit started, but I imagine it happened sometime during college when I chose classes later in the day so I could sleep in more. But looking back, I think it may also have begun when I first became an “adult” in that I got my first “real” job and started to bear real responsibilities like paying bills, work, etc. My life went from being care-free as a young adult to being stressful as the years passed and the responsibility grew. Everything seemed to grow louder and busier. There was too much noise. I needed peace and I would find it late at night while the world was sleeping. Continue reading
Often times, life can get busy. It can feel like our time is consumed by our schedules set by some force beyond our control. We become consumed with life and not the parts we’d prefer like work, chores, and other obligations. In those times, we might feel overwhelmed and say to ourselves, “If only I had more time” or “I wish I weren’t so busy”. Continue reading
The New Year is here. 2017 is gone and 2018 has arrived. The New Year causes each of to reflect on the past 365 days as the clock ticks closer to midnight. For some, the past year was filled with sadness, for others with joy. While out experiences are personal to each of us, one thing is true regarding all of us: The New Year brings opportunity for change and a fresh start. Continue reading
Where did you story begin and where is it heading?
Every living thing has a story to tell. From the giant oaks that have seen ages go by to that of a puppy who ended up at a dog pound and then adopted by a loving family and to you reading this post. Everyone has a story of their journey that has led them to the place in their lives they are currently at and in many cases, to where their story goes and ends. The story of our lives, like a good book, has a beginning, a middle, and an end. The beginning is written for us by God and our parents, but the middle and end is largely written by our own actions and decisions. While our parents are our principal story creators, we are ultimately the sole author of our biography. Our decisions is the pen that guides the invisible hand to write down our story from our experiences. Continue reading
Fall is my favorite season. Everything seems to slow down. People seem less frustrated. The world seems less busy. Maybe it’s the picturesque colors of the falling leaves. Maybe it’s the crunching sound they make as you walk on them on a crisp autumn day. Maybe it’s the fall spices and scents, the pumpkins, cinnamon, the apples, or the clean air. Or perhaps its the ability to sit outside on your porch or park bench and enjoy the cool breeze and the rustling of the dry leaves while drinking your favorite cup of coffee or tea as the cup warms your hands.
Whatever it may be, Fall is a time of calm and peace for the soul. It is a time of inspiration. Take advantage of it. It’s only here for a few months and it’s over quicker than you may realize. Continue reading
Unlocking another world through the pages of a book and your imagination.
The pages of a book hold so many things. They hold history, imagination, knowledge. They hold wisdom passed down from ancients and hold the key to exploring new things and imagining new heights and adventures. They have the power to increase our understanding of the world as well as take us to new places using the power of our hopes, dreams, desires, and imagination. They can feed our curiosity and cause us to grow as individuals, reaching new heights that we’ll never return from. But most importantly, they can act as an escape as we let our minds drift off into the pages of the book where the story comes to life and for a moment we are lost in another world of our choosing. Continue reading
I like coffee. I like frothing milk. I like coffee with frothed milk. Several months ago I bought my first frother from Daiso. It was cheap, but it did the trick and ever since I’ve been hooked on using one whenever I brew some coffee. Something about frothing the milk is oddly satisfying. Continue reading
As I’ve written before, finding new music is a fun experience. There’s something about listening to a song for the first time on TV, a movie, or on the radio, and having it connect with you immediately for some reason. Several years ago, my then girlfriend (now wife) gave me my first touchscreen MP3 player, the Mach Speed Trio before a mission trip to Guayaquil, Ecuador. It was a cheap device, but I loved it. It came with some free music and one artist in particular stuck out to me. His name was David Hayes and his song, Beautiful Girl, quickly found itself on repeat. I likely enjoyed it so much because it made me think of my then girlfriend while listening to it, but apart from that, the melody flowed smoothly and well with the acoustic guitar. But I think what I particularly liked the most even to this day years later was the lyrics of the song. Falling in love is a unique experience that we all can hopefully experience once in our lifetime and is one of the strongest and life changing emotional experiences any of us will ever have. Falling in love is fun. It’s why we like romantic movies like Before Sunrise.
When I was younger, I couldn’t wait for my birthday. My family didn’t have much, so I never received many gifts, I don’t even remember ever having a party, but I looked forward to being a year older. It was exciting. Each candle indicated I was becoming a man with new adventures on the horizon as I became independent. No dream was too big because I had youth on my side. I had all the time in the world to accomplish it. But not that I’ve grown older and have matured, each birthday candle makes me reflect on my life and I can’t help but think of how I’ve wasted my life in those years. The sad truth is most of us will waste our lives and not live it to the fullest, some not even remotely close. But what does it actually mean to waste your life and why does it haunt us? Continue reading
One of the most painful experiences we all experience in this life is losing someone we love. Even though we know it’s coming, nothing can prepare us for the flood of emotions that hit us like a wave on rocks when it occurs. It leaves an emotional and spiritual scar in each of us. A unique scar each time someone we love leaves us as they enter into eternity. The great C. S. Lewis described this hurt when he stated,
Sometimes, I just want to travel. I want to escape. I want to clear my mind and renew my spirit. There are times where I don’t just want it, but need it. I usually want it to celebrate something good happening in my life. Other times, I need it because I’m depressed, anxious, or frustrated for whatever reason (work, relationships, bad luck, life, etc.). Other times, I’m simply bored and want to see new things. And still, other times, my heart just feels like it’s missing something and that it hasn’t found home, yet. We live in a big world with many mysterious and exciting things to see and explore and it would be a shame if we didn’t take advantage of it. Continue reading
The heart and the mind seem to work in harmony to give us clues as to what we want in our lives. We often hear the adage “Follow your heart“, but what exactly does it mean and how do we know for certain what it is that our hearts desire? This is a question that every person has to answer for themselves and often times requires deep reflection to find the true answer instead of hanging on a whim that leads to nowhere and benefits little. Continue reading
There are times in our lives when we seem to come to a fork in the road. We need to make a decision. Go left, or go right. In some cases, there’s no difference and our choice is of little consequence. They either lead to the same place or even if they don’t, nothing notable happens on the chosen path. No new cherished memories are made. No personal growth is created. However, sometimes it can really make all the difference and can have a real impact on our lives.
When you look into infinity, what do you think of?
Amusingly enough, we can learn much from even the most unlikely places. Sometimes we can learn life lessons about love and friendship from a child’s story like Winnie The Pooh or in this case, from a comic strip about a boy and his best friend, his “living” stuffed animal Tiger, Hobbes, in Calvin and Hobbes, created by Bill Watterson. The best friends share a strong bond with each other as they explore new things and seek adventure. But even in the comic’s novel presentation, it not only reminds us of the good things of childhood – exploration brought forth by curiosity and imagination – but also occasionally sees the pair pause long enough to ponder the deeper things of life and offer its readers a bit of wholesome and thought-provoking wisdom brought about only the way the innocence of a child can. Continue reading
The desire for adventure and to explore the unknown is a feeling that is part of the human identity and something each of us have yearned for at some point in our lives. Moreover, I’d venture to say most of us want some adventure in our lives. It breaks up the monotony of everyday life and makes us feel young again. Children are great adventurers. They have imagination and that imagination is the fuel the heart needs to seek adventure. And as we grow older and are bogged down by the worries and cares of life, we lose our imagination, the magic dwindles, and while our desire for adventure diminishes as well, it never fully escapes our thoughts because it is a part of who were are as people. Adventure, simply put, is exploring the unknowing, chasing the mysterious, and offers an escape from our ordinary lives. Continue reading
We hope you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Merry Christmas from the Vazquez’s.
This holiday is about Jesus, when God became a man to take our sins upon Him if we choose to let him. In that way, we are made new and clean again, our sins forgiven and can spend eternity in heaven. If not, eternity in hell. I hope people will come back to the true meaning of Christmas.
With that said, I hope you enjoy your Christmas and New Year.
As adults, I think we tend to dismiss children’s shows / books as merely that: shows for the naive physically and in spirit, the young in mind and heart. What we often forget is that these shows and books are written by adults and at times can offer a wealth of wisdom from people we would normally never have a chance to interact with on a personal level. TakeWinnie The Pooh for example, created by English author A. A. Milne for his son, Christopher Robin Milne. Milne created Winnie The Pooh as bed time stories for his son, whose stuffed animals were the inspiration for the characters in Winnie The Pooh. Continue reading
When we say something is “Written in Stone”, we mean that an action, event, decision, feeling, etc. is permanent. It’s impossible to erase what was carved into the stone, therefore, it’s everlasting. It’s there forever, unless the stone itself is broken and replaced with another. When something is carved into stone, it cannot be erased with an eraser nor washed away with water without destroying the stone in someway. Have you ever considered how your actions or emotions can be written in stone without or without your knowledge and if it is possible to wipe it away and start with a fresh, smooth surface? Continue reading
I think most of us have those times where we feel the need to go outside on a starry night and look up at the heavens in wonder or awe of the greatness before us. During this time, I believe most of us share common thoughts on life, God, our troubles, our needs, or our desires. It’s a shame that most people have never truly had the opportunity to see the night sky in all its glory due to most of us living in the city where the city lights drown out the stars. I think if more people would be able to see the night sky as God intended, there would be much more reflection by everyone and much less hate, worries, and misunderstandings. Continue reading
Have you ever found yourself sitting quietly when past memory comes to mind followed by a tear running down your cheek? Sometimes the tear could have be brought forth by a happy memory, like a wonderful time you spent with someone you love or the pride you took in someone like your child. But for most, I believe those times when a tear slowly leaves its home and crawls down our cheeks, it is brought out by a memory which hurts us. The loss of a loved one, the hurt of a broken relationship, the thought of being separated from your child or spouse. There are many reasons why we might weep and it varies from person to person because our memories are unique, but it is an experience that is shared by everyone who has ever lived. We can all empathize with it and the emotions that cause that tear to leave our eyes, typically sadness, connects us all. Continue reading
Each of us have our own idea of what is beautiful and aesthetic. For most of us, it’s not necessary a set of rules that defines what makes something beautiful to or not, but rather how it touches our heart or moves our soul or the feeling it brings to our mind, like peace. Continue reading
Have you ever looked at a painting and wished you were there? Wished that you were living in the painted scene because of the peace that it brings or the motions it stirs in your heart? Have you ever wondered if the painter dreams as if you dream and if such places and scenes actually exist in real life?
The above painting is called Evening Journey by Russian painter Evgeny Lushpin. He is quite talented and his works reflect serene scenes, typically in a European setting either in the country, city, or small villas. I absolutely adore the painting. For me, it paints a picture of a calm, peaceful evening after a light rain. The people in their homes are settling down after a long day and those in the trolley speak amongst themselves as they head to their destination, maybe to meet some friends or wake a lonely walk by the pear. The weather seems cool, perhaps with a slight breeze. For some reason, in me it feels like the beginning of a love story. The painting is soothing. It is beautiful. And it is romantic. Continue reading
Have your ever felt you’re living life in the clouds or had a desire to? For some people, dreaming is a way to escape the realities of their life. For others, it is a way to let their imagination explore new things. And for some, it’s about a person simply being out of touch with reality.
The popular idiom, Head in the clouds, typically denotes a negative sentiment defined as, “To be out of touch with the everyday world. Unrealistic. To have impractical ideas or dreams.” However, another definition is, “To be daydreaming and not paying attention to what is happening or being said. To be lost in your private thoughts.” But can having your head in the clouds be a positive thing?
A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions – Oliver Wendell Holmes
The above quote is from Oliver Wendell Holmes, a supreme court justice from 1902 – 1931. There are a couple things I really enjoy about the Gif above which cause me to think on a few points:
The scene is pretty. A person is reading a book, perhaps expanding her imagination if it is fiction, or maybe expanding her knowledge of the world if it is a book on travel, philosophy, or life. The stars by her side reflect a sense of movement, like she is traveling as her mind is expanded from the knowledge she is gaining.
It reflects a sense of calm and peace that can come from reading at night in a softly lit room. This time alone is a good time to reflect on past experiences, new desires, and a time to mediate and reset ourselves.
Reading, the arts, and humanities are important aspects of our daily lives.
The image above is from a bridge in a Chinese park. I’m not sure of the park, but I’ve named this particular bridge Reflection Bridge because of the pretty reflection of the bridge on the stream stream below. I first saw this image several years ago when I was given an MP3 player (remember those?) and it had this a sample image along with music from David Hayes (who unfortunately has stopped making music since).
As I’ve stated many times before, I love coffee time, especially in the autumn, which is coming up! I’m so excited. 🙂
It’s so nice when we find someone or something that just understands us, isn’t it? No need to explain ourselves. No need to justify our thoughts or dreams. No need to be rational about our dreams or goals. Obviously, we need to be rational about anything we do. If we dream a dream that is totally unfathomable or affects other people, then we need to lower our expectations a bit. But for the most part, it’s just nice to imagine ourselves as Super Man or a world traveler with no cares. And that’s the point: to release our mind for a moment of all cares and worries in this crazy world.
Coffee is a great listener. What or who is your great listener? Who or what understands you?
I hope you have a great weekend and can sneak some coffee or tea time with a loved one or by yourself.
A lovely walk alone or with a loved one is a magical feeling . . .
A favorite movie of mine is Midnight in Paris, starring Owen Wilson. It mixes elements that I enjoy like Paris, cobble stone streets, and lonely walks at nights. In the movie, Owen’s character is confused about what direction to take in his life as he is torn over pursuing what he loves and desires, or meeting the expectations of his fiance and her family. He walks the streets of Paris alone at midnight thinking about his situation, when magical events begin to occur.
There is nothing like discovering new music to enjoy.
I love discovering new music. As the meme above states, it is definitely like finding a new world to explore. I get a joyous feeling and puts me in a such a good mood. It also strangely enough helps reduce any stress I have.
The other night while watching YouTube, the autoplay feature jumped to a group called Parable Fifteen from South Africa. I immediately fell in love with the song Rain On The Ocean. It’s a typical love ballad with a good beat and good lyrics. Continue reading
Be with those who encourage you, just as you encourage them.
The dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers, and with those who see greatness within you, even when you don’t see it yourself.
This quote really speaks. Often times, I feel it is difficult to find people who share your dreams and visions, or even find people who will encourage you to pursue your dreams even if they don’t share your vision. Continue reading
It is very important to always respect a person’s (reasonable) coffee time. This means not talking, no making noise, no TV . . . . nothing. But why is this?
The theme of this blog is relaxation, primarily through the gateway of coffee. Typically, I wake up and brew some coffee. I then sit at my desk and open the news or write on my blog, all while listening to some soft music. This helps me gather my thoughts from the previous day and prepare mentally and emotionally for the day ahead. It’s like meditation in a sense. I might read the bible or look at some pictures. Regardless what I choose to do, I definitely enjoy my coffee with some cookies ;). Continue reading
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.
When you come upon a fork in the road, how do you decide which road to take? Each road offers its own benefits and risks. Each is a journey of its own with unique experiences. Each has a different outcome.
This is a question I’ve recently found myself wrestling over. My wife and I were in the process of settling down and hopefully starting a family this summer. We were ready to close on a dream we’ve had: a home on some land, however, only a few weeks from closing, I was offered a job in California. Continue reading
I sometimes wonder what dreams other people have. Our dreams are quite personal and to share them is to invite mockery in a sense from those we love. Jesus said that a prophet is not accepted is his own hometown, meaning that those close to us (family, friends, etc.) are our biggest deniers. This can be good as they keep is grounded, but when we share our dreams or visions, they can be our biggest detractors. I feel this is we are hesitant to share our dreams with people as it’s like wearing your heart on your sleeve. Of course, however, there are other reasons like ourselves preventing our dreams from becoming reality due to lack of action on our part. This is a major stumbling block as well. Continue reading
I hate having restless nights. Most of the times it’s because I either drank too much coffee before bed (a habit) or went to bed earlier than I normally do. There are some nights, however, that my mind is racing. I can’t turn it off. Usually it’s from anxiety over some issue: a family member’s salvation, work, bills, state of the world, etc. For some, it can be due to a lonely heart, illness, or like me, sometimes just the desire to leave, go on an adventure, and live life as it should be rather than simply working to live. Sometimes, I’m depressed enough to cause me to toss and turn and spend the night on the couch. On these nights, I tend to feel unfulfilled whether it be at work or just life in general. These are the nights that I wish I could just drop everything and leave to somewhere new (But is this just running away from a real problem, or is it just a desire for a sense of adventure?). Life is hard. For many, it is harder. And I’ve noticed that sometimes there isn’t a good reason for feeling depressed and other times, there are more reasons than any man should ever have. Continue reading
I found this interesting gif of Dutch post-impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh’s The Starry Night.
It made me think about how each of us view the world. As you can see in the gif, a depressed looking static Van Gogh sits idly as he looks at his painting, The Starry Night, which moves. This gif has brought the painting to life in a way I’ve never thought about. I’ve always liked The Starry Night and it’s one of my favorite paintings, but I’ve never looked at it this way. The stars flickering, the wind blowing, the trees shifting. How was Van Gogh viewing the world when he painting this masterpiece? What were his emotions? Continue reading
So I’m a dreamer. I create grand illusions of the ideal life I want to live. From what I can tell, each of my brothers is the same and likely my father as well. We like to work, but we absolute hate the idea of having to live to work, rather than work to live. Most people, unfortunately, do the former. I think this is either because they lose site of the purpose of life or simply out of circumstance and necessity, which I think is most people. I believe God wants us to enjoy life, see the world/our countries, and live a life of peace and relaxation in which we focus on Him and doing his work. Continue reading
I’m the kind of guy that listens to the same music in an infinite loop for years to come. Even if I can’t stand the music anymore, I continue listening to it because I’m too lazy to go to the local radio station website or Pandora and just find new music. For example, I’ve been listening to Colbie Caillat’s first two albums for about 6 months now. Continue reading
My dog Winston always seems to happy. He’s always cheerful and wants to play. He loves his mother so much and follows us wherever we in the house. I still remember when we first got him. He was so small and cute. Angela’s’ face was so bright and happy when she first held him. Continue reading
Yesterday, Angela and I were looking for land to place our first home one. It’s quite exciting, but frustrating at the same time. We’re torn between living in the city and close to family, or buying land in the country at the expense of being far away. Continue reading
One thing that hurts me emotionally and spiritually is when I see someone, especially a man, without work. To eat, sleep away from the elements, and enjoy some aspects of life, we need to work. We need money. Of course, this is not all life is about, but this day and age, work and the need for money to simply live a modest life is essential . . . and often times overwhelming. Continue reading
I’ve never been to Europe and would really like to go. In particular, I’d like to visit or have an extended stay in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, and maybe Austria and Denmark (they have delicious cookies). Continue reading
I typically get my coffee from HomeGoods (where I also get my scottie dog cookies). For some reason, Home Goods style really appeals to me. I like the atmosphere and the unique foods, spices, utensils, and furniture they have. One of my favorite coffees is sold there: Unique Coffee Roasters. Continue reading
When drinking my coffee, I find that Walkers Shortbread cookies complement the coffee well. I usually only eat a few, but they’re delicious. The Scottie dog version is also quite cute. Continue reading
I’ve never learned to play an instrument, which is something I regret. When I was in my teens and early college years, I had a guitar and thought I was the greatest . . . . of course everything sounds better in your imagination, lol. Continue reading
Today I’m going camping for the first time in several years. Since I live in Florida, it’s generally accepted to only go camping in the fall or winter because of the cool weather and little to no mosquitos. Needless to say, I’m a bit excited. Continue reading