Friday, February 27, 2009

One Decision: 12th Story for the Inspirational Book


Everyone has a story to tell, and listening to some of these recordings is fascinating. You can even buy a book of interviews (see last paragraph below for details).

The interviews result in a three to four minute verbal story. To give myself some structure in preparation for telling my story, I wrote this, which I have titled "ONE DECISION." It is factual, and I have taken out close to forty years of emotion in order to capsulize what I want to say in this message. Here is my NPR story:

one of Nancy's oil paintings

This is about a decision made after the birth of my physically handicapped daughter in 1970. The doctors attending to her in her first hours of life gave her father and me the decision of either doing no medical intervention with her death imminent within a few painful months, or to immediately begin intensive medical treatment. The physicians left the room with this question to be answered by us, young people in college, working, never having planned on being parents, much less to a child with grave problems.

We were advised there was no guarantee of success in any way relating to her quality of life. My husband’s inclination was to let nature take its course and not intervene medically: we were young and we were not through with our formal education, and since she probably never walk, her life would be very difficult for all of us. (I was a sophomore in college, and we were both taking as many classes and working as many hours as we could to help defray student loans and living expenses.)

But the path we chose, and the decision made, was to start trying to save her life immediately. We decided to let the doctors do what they could for her.

And she lived. And she grew up, although most of her adolescent and adult years were spent hospitalized due to shunt malfunctions and systemic infections.

There are more than a few ironies in this story. One was that Julie’s father and I both DID finish our educations (he got a PhD and I have a Master’s degree). So her life did not hamper that goal. And another irony is that Julie’s father died of cancer over twenty years ago, while Julie is still living today.

Which is not to say that over the years, her life has been extremely happy or in any way carefree. She has had over one hundred surgeries relating to complications brought on by her birth defect. She has been depressed to the point of trying to end her own life; she had virtually no childhood friends her own age.

In a few weeks, Juliet is facing another very serious operation. She has been in bed the better part of three years with skin ulcerations and infections. But in spite of the heartache, there have been positive, bittersweet successes…

1: She has worked for as a receptionist and lived alone, using public transportation to get her to and from work while in a wheelchair;

2: Julie completed high school and then college with a four year degree -- this in spite of many long months of hospitalization;

3 : Julie has resided independently both as a single and married woman;

4: Julie has maintained an eleven year long, loving marriage to a man having the same handicap of spina bifida;

5: She moved across country from her native state, and then she and her husband built their handicap accessible home five years ago on land which her husband purchased many years ago as an investment;

6: She (and her husband) are members of a strong faith-based Christian community. I’m told they are of spiritual importance in that church group;

7: Julie aspired to be a journalist, worked at a local newspaper as a college intern and had several sequential articles published. She currently writes to the editor of her local newspaper in South Carolina, expresses her opinions (especially about the problems that handicapped people encounter), and has had her letters published in the Charlotte Observer;

8: She and her husband are the loving owners of an eight year old frisky Yorkshire terrier;

9: Julie is a loving, generous, stubborn, sweet person with an amazing coping mechanism of denial.

She has become the person she is, in part, because of caring adults coming into her life by way of a loving family, excellent medical care, good surrogate fathers, a decent education, mental health assistance, the religious community, paid caregivers, and adult friends. And her own will to live and thrive are, of course, part of her essence.

And so all this has happened, at great financial and emotional expense. Her determinism and desire to keep living came out of ONE DECISION years ago to proceed with medical intervention. Julie's life has played out in far reaching ways that I cannot fathom. But it MUST have been the right decision to try and stave off hydrocephalous and infection in those first hours after her birth, because all of the lives she has touched have been significantly, and I believe positively, changed by knowing Juliet.
In a nutshell, this story is about perseverance and love, and how each person's life is important and part of the structure behind the doors where we live. Maybe more than a few will find it a valuable listen.

A compilation of NPR Story Corps stories can be purchased here.


Nancy McCarroll is a woman of many talents. She is a Master's Degree holder in Health Administration and had also earned her Baccalaureate Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. She's an artist, and a generous woman who volunteers a lot of her time to local community services, like the NPR Corps, from which this article was derived.

WOW! Isn't she amazing?

Her blog, "Arts, Crafts and Favorites," features some of her works of art. Yes, she dabs in watercolor and oil, and you know what? she also plays in National Scrabble Tournaments abroad.
Read her complete profile in this link.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

ENTRECARD MARKET : My Call for Articles for an Upcoming Inspirational Book

This is a call for articles , short stories, poems, essays, drawings for a book. I am still in the process of gathering Inspirational Stories from Bloggers all over the World. I will be compiling them in August into one self - published book.

If your contribution is accepted, your article will be published in my blog and in the book, and you'll be given one complimentary copy of the book where your article appears(for free). You'll still own the copyright to your written material.

I will be awarding 5,000 EC credits to contributors.

I still need 9 articles, so folks I'm eagerly waiting for your contributions.
Here's my Market listing at Entrecard. To know more, watch the video below.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I'm Joining Big Mak's Blog Contest -" What Something Big Are You Expecting This 2009?"

To join the contest, I have to answer this interesting question from Makoy .

I always try to be an optimist. I have some big plans this 2009; and these are the following I'm expecting to accomplish:

1. On August, I should be able to publish the book entitled "Inspirational Stories From Bloggers all Over the World". There would be at least 20 authors from different parts of the globe; so I'll have to come up with 21 copies. Additional copies will printed as they are ordered.

2. On September, I will also publish a magazine type collection of poems from three authors: me, Dr. Lorenzo Bernardino a.k.a -Zorlone and Roy dela Cruz. The tentative title is "Trilogy of Poems". This will be a dream come true for the three of us. We had always wanted to see our poems in print.

I did have some of my creative works publish in some local mags and in our school journals, but I see this as something different from the rest because it will feature a collection from each of us. Wouldn't that be exciting?

3. I also plan to have all my online articles categorized and book bound, even if it's soft bound first. Then eventually , I'll have them hard bound -complete with pictures.

These are big things for me because for the first time, I would be venturing into publishing my creative work in volumes. I'm keeping my spirits high. I know I can do it. It just takes determination and optimism to be able to achieve them.

Wish me luck guys! and thanks Makoy for giving me the chance to express my plans.

And of course, I hope I would win in your contest!

if you want to join Makoy's BIG contest visit his blog - The Certified Pinoy Blogger . It is a unique contest you should not miss! And it is very simple to join.

Friday, February 20, 2009



The Waiter - A Shorty Short

"What do you recommend?"

"Our cotoletta alla petroniana is the best in this region, sir."

"Okay, give me that and one lasagna."

"And hurry up."


"You can't just leave sir," Andy pleaded.

"Well, I can't spend my time waiting for food that takes so long to prepare. "

"But sir, the food will be served shortly."

"You didn't tell me it takes that long to prepare this...whatever you call it,"
the man was sputtering in indignation.

"Sir, we can't withdraw the orders, they're cooked already."


"You will have to pay for the food," the head waiter scowled at him. "They were your customers."

"Can't I have it deducted next month?"

"It is already in-voiced; you'll have to pay for the entire amount today." The voice was stern, almost unfeeling.


"That's the rule, take it or leave it!"


He had to borrow money to pay the $ 240.00 for the lasagna and cotoletta alla petroniana. He brought the food home and gave some to his vagrant friends and ate some himself. His back was aching like hell but he still got one more job to go to.

"Good evening sir, welcome to Giogatto's," he led the group to a nearby table.

"Honey, I don't know what to eat, " the woman crooned to the man.

"Let's see the menu."

He kept his peace. He learned a lesson well.

"What about this, two Pezzetti di cavallo and one Baccala alla vicentina. "

"Wine, sir?"

"Yes, 2 Vino Nobile Montepulciano."

"Would that be all sir?"

"Yes, for God's sake, stop hovering over us! "


"Andiyan na ang pasalubong!" (The packages have arrived!) Tina was shouting with so much joy in her tiny frame.

"Ang daming padala ni kuya Andy!" (Andy has sent us so many gifts)

"This is for you Tina," a big, talking and walking doll.

"This one's for you Joy." It was the latest cell phone model.

"And these are for me and your papa." Celia was excitedly displaying her new, dark blue coat.

Dozens of grocery and household items were closely packed in the remaining space of the balikbayan's package. (packages coming from relatives abroad) And an airmail envelope was on the table top with a thick bundle of cash in it.

"Kuya Andy has made it big in Italy! " Celia was brimming all over with motherly pride and joy. "He works as a nurse in one of the big hospitals." She intoned to the neighbors who were watching curiously from the dilapidated windows.


Andy finally laid down his fatigued body on the hard mattress. He has to work three jobs in a day to be able to send money home. He did not want to disappoint his parents. They had spent so much in his nursing education that he wanted them to be comfortable now that he can work. There were immigration procedures that he had to accomplish first, though before he could work as a nurse.

He lied to them about his job. It was the first time he had lied. It would be embarrassing to let them know the truth. He turned and stared at the ceiling.

Come to think of it, what was embarrassing about working honestly for a living? He should be proud of it! He has to tell the truth to his family in his next letter: that in the three diners he was working for, he was "The Waiter".

This has been published at

Photo by: gapysphoto

Friday, February 13, 2009

My Jeepney Ride to Church: 11'th Story for the Inspirational Book


It was a Sunday afternoon, when I took a jeepney ride to church. I have always been used to driving my own car wherever I went, but that day, I was too lazy to look for a parking space and my temper with jeepney drivers on the street was short, so I opted to commute; told myself that this was just an uneventful ten minute ride.

I walked hurriedly towards the waiting shed as I glanced at my watch, “Great! Fifteen minutes. There was more than ample time for me to go to church and choose a good spot next to a wall fan.”

I hated sweating at church. Going to a crowded place was enough, having to sweat it out while listening to the sermon was another, so I had better be there before everyone else did.

Saw this old rusted jeepney with an equally old driver who had a smirk on his face waving at me. I nodded my head to indicate that I was going to take a ride. I noticed a middle aged lady with tattered clothes, who was seated beside him. She appeared to be his wife. She was holding a baby, apparently their own. An old man and a middle aged woman with a baby? What were they thinking?

She was bottle feeding while shouting “Sangandaan! Sangandaan! Tatlo pa, dalawa sa kanan at isa sa kaliwa.” (Three more, two on the right and one on the left.)

I seated myself on the right side and as usual, my space was constricted, even when I had positioned myself in a space for two. But there were three more passengers who wanted to get in.

A young man in his early twenties, right about my age with a body of a mason, left his seat and told the three ladies to get inside. One sat on my right side and the other two sat opposite us near the entrance of the jeepney.

As soon as the ladies were seated, he stepped at the foot of the entrance and held onto the handle bar above his head to maintain his balance.

The lady nearest him said, “Thanks!” in a sweet way. He said, “You’re welcome,” and smiled.

I figured it was just a macho display and I could have done the same too, but I wasn’t expecting them to get in since it was already crowded.

Seated opposite me was a lady with a child on her lap. She looked like in her early thirties, but old for her age. They were both sweating profusely. Probably because of the heat inside the jeepney or because she was carrying a child on her lap in a crowded jeepney. I could see the trickle of sweat on their cheeks and necks. There was air moving inside, but barely, because it was full.

The lady seated the farthest brought out a folded Php100 bill. The lady with a child on her lap reached for it with some discomfort and gave the money to the child.

“Anak, sabihin mo sa driver ito ang bayad nung ale,” (My child, tell the driver, this is the lady’s payment) she said softly to the child.

The child, obediently stretched out her thin arm to reach as far as she could to the driver. “Bayad po!” (Here’s the payment) she said gingerly as another person reached for the money to give the driver.

She looked at her mother as if asking if she did okay. Her mother returned a look of approval.

I asked myself, why would you let a child do such a thing when you can already do it yourself. Wasn’t it enough to suffer from the sauna- like heat we are all in? Then again, why didn’t the child mind?

The driver was shaking his head when he saw the money. It was a Php100 bill.

A small voice inside the jeepney piped, “Mama, tatlo po, pakibaba po kami sa simbahan.” (Mister, three please, let us off at the church).

The driver, still shaking his head, honked his horn. I felt the jeepney slowing down. I thought there was no one getting off this place. I didn’t hear any “para.” (stop).

The jeepney driver hailed the oncoming jeepney ahead of us. “Pre, pakibarya naman to,” (Man, can you break this down) he said casually, handing over the Php 100 bill.

As if on cue, the other driver produced four twenties and two five peso coins. “Ayos na ba yan?” (Good enough for you?) The other driver grunted.

“Oo! Salamat!” (Yeah! Thanks!) he replied.

It looked like we slowed down traffic but that worked! He was able to break the money and gave the change to the lady.

As the lady received her change, one of the five peso coins fell on the floor. The man opposite her, who obviously was old with his white hair and wrinkled face, bent down to pick up the coin that was glued at the back of his left shoe. He looked like he was in pain. He calmly handed the money to the lady, who seemed very pleased with what the old man did.

“Thank you very much!” she said sweetly.

I observed the reaction of the old man. There was a hint of satisfaction on his face.

Just then I heard a loud shrieking voice. “Mama, pwede mo ako ibaba sa Pharmacy?” (Mister, can you please drop me off at the pharmacy?) said the lady seated to my left.

She was a middle aged woman with a heavy bag on her lap. Some medicines, syringes and tubes were in the box. She looked like she was going to deliver the bag to the pharmacy and her wandering eyes told me that she was new to this area; she was anxiously looking for familiar landmarks and checking her phone…maybe instructions from her text messages.

“Okay,” said the driver. “Sa kabilang kanto lang yun tapos nito.
Sana sinabi n’yo agad,” (It’s just another block after this one. You should have told me earlier.)

There was a hint of irritation in the driver’s voice. But he looked at his wife, who was just laughing from what he said.

“Kumbinsing ka Pedro!” (You sound convincing Pedro!) she said then laughed again.

I wasn’t able to hear more because the jeepney suddenly halted to a complete stop.

An old man, had suddenly crossed the street! I heard a lot of “Ohs!” and “Ahs!” from the passengers. Sardines have more space in their cans than we did.

The driver, his eyes flaring, leapt out of the car and raced to the old man. I was flabbergasted! I thought he was going to hit the poor fellow, but he held the older man’s arm and assisted him. “Nasaktan ba kayo?” (Are you hurt?) He said in a concerned voice.

“Hindi anak. Nawalan ako ng balans nung nakita ko ang jeep mo.
Di na kaya kumilos ng katawan na ito kagaya noong kabataan ko. Pasensya na kung naabala ka,” (No my boy. I got off balance when I saw your jeepney. This body doesn’t respond like it used to when I was in my youth. I apologize to have inconvenienced you.)

“Nah…” he disagreed. “Ikaw ang muntik nang maabala! Ayoko naman makita ang pirapirasong parte ng katawan n’yo sa kalsada ano ho?” (You are the one who’s almost inconvenienced! Don’t want to see your body in pieces on the street now, do we?)

The old man laughed and let Pedro assist him to the other side of the street.

He went back to his driver’s seat and turned his sweaty head towards us. “Ayos lang ba kayo?” (Is everyone ok?) he asked.

After witnessing the events that just happened, everyone just said, “Okay lang kami,” (We’re ok.)

I looked at my watch and noticed two minutes before the start of the mass.

“I’m never gonna find a good seat now!” I murmured to myself.

The lady going to the pharmacy got out where she wanted to go. The next stop was the church.

The three ladies got off, even the guy who gave his seat for them was going to church. In the church pews, he sat beside the lady he had offered his jeepney-seat to.

I found a seat next to an electric fan and thought about the events that has transpired. Commuting wasn’t uneventful after all.

The lessons I have learned from a fifteen-minute jeepney ride was equivalent to a sermon at mass; learning from them as they happened.

To love regardless of age and status. Be generous with what you have so others may do the same. Teach a child how to help other people and instill this in her. Provide a helping hand even with the risk of getting hurt. To have patience, to give respect, and to have faith.

There are subtle things in life that go unnoticed until you look for them. The qualities of a good person would surface regardless of his appearance and first impressions. Such, are examples of our human nature that is naturally good.

The ordinary things we do in our lives become extraordinary every time these deeds are done with the proper intentions.

Acting righteous, like true Christians, in each of the above situations is a significant lesson we could learn from. In every predicament, we should make ethical choices not only as a fulfillment of His religious rituals, but also as a manner of rendering service to other people, beyond the boundaries of His Church.

Since that day, I always looked forward to my next commute to church.


Zorlone is the pen name of Dr. Lorenzo Bernardino, a 31 year old, internal medicine consultant who has a passion for writing. He writes poems, short stories and various topics on life, love and almost anything under the sun.

He has joined the writing community of Helium and is looking forward to adding more interesting articles about all topics. There are already 15 poems to his name.

He says: "I love to play badminton, volleyball, ping pong, and jogging. I welcome a healthy competition every once in a while."

He is a promising writer and has his own style but is humble to acknowledge it saying that;

" I admit that I still have a lot to go before I can master this art form. I am willing to learn and to hear your thoughts about the articles that I have written. Hopefully, be able to create a style of my own and gain the enthusiasm of my readers."

He recently started a blog entitled ZORLONE. It's a new blog and he needs all the support we can accord him. If you recall your first experience as a newbie blogger, then I know you would understand his plight. Let's extend our generous hand.

Let's all welcome him into our midst - Zorlone!

Church photo posted with permission from Deyedoctor

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fabulous Places to Visit

Monday, February 2, 2009

Poetry : The Blank Verse and I

I have always been mesmerized by old poems. I like the rhythm and the sound of their undulating meters - especially the blank verse.

According to and I quote:

"Blank Verse is Poetry that is written in unrhymed iambic pentameter. Blank verse is often unobtrusive and the iambic pentameter form often resembles the rhythms of ordinary speech. William Shakespeare wrote most of his plays in blank verse."


An iambic pentameter on the other hand, is composed of penta (five) iambs ( one unstressed followed by a stressed syllable). There are variations too, but I won't get into that as it is a lengthy topic.

This drawing is from Francis Scudellari of Caught in the Stream, a brilliant artist and poet. You should hop over to his site and read his poems on a variety of topics. While you're there, you could also click on a link which sells Zazzle T-shirts with his drawings emblazoned on the t-shirt's front portion.

Here is my input for blank verse. I'll probably edit this every time I re-read it (if I would have time) lol. Francis' poems are of course - superb. I hope my attempt would be passable to

Layered Walls

The sun ablaze in all its shining crown,

has tendered all the love that I have owned.

I looked up to the sky and plead in vain,

but rain poured down and drowned my cries of pain.

I am as sturdy now and cold as ice,

The layered walls I built around abound.

the memories are gone and in there lies,

a gelid heart that only I have found.

But drifting slowly, I now realized.

The loaded wings now have to take the flight,

And flutter 'til the bird has sang and flown,

a final blow to my granite tombstone.

There is another type which I prefer because of its brevity. It is called the "Cinquain". This is composed of five lines only. According to "Poem of Quotes"

"Line 1 has one word (the title). Line 2 has two words that describe the title. Line 3 has three words that tell the action. Line 4 has four words that express the feeling, and line 5 has one word which recalls the title."


The following is my attempt to write a Cinquain.


Thick walls,

atop each other,

Numbness, detachment, hatred, grief