Life is a Dash of Spice & Herbs from the Garden

Life is a dash of spice and herbs, so if I could grow a kind of food and be successful, I’d love to grow a spice-and-herbal garden….

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I love food with spices and herbs; a simple everyday dish, sandwich or soup becomes a gourmet adventure, not to mention their medicinal benefits.

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I fancy growing a spice-and-herbal garden, fragrant, vibrant and blooming – a feast for the senses, a feast for the soul, and a feast for the tummy with the yummy soups, dishes, and salads I can prepare for my family and friends, with freshly picked spices and herbs from my own home garden: basil, parsley, mint, rosemary, thyme, oregano, ginger, spring onions, red and green chili, to name just a few…

I also imagine my lovely spice-and-herbal garden to turn into a cozy nook where I can read or write in solitude while inhaling the mix of aromatic, tangy, sweet, lemony, spicy, peppery scents wafting from my plants…

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Or a snack corner for my family and guests, so preparing tea would be fun and delectable with the many choice herb leaves to add to our cups…

Or into a perfect outdoor dining area, right in its midst, with white-painted trellis in the perimeters, skylight, old style iron-wrought chairs, some soft settee and a long heavy wooden table. Hmmmm…

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Spices and herbs are a delight indeed to have to perk up our meals and moments with loved ones, add zest to everyday rituals, and give a bit more life to our surroundings!


My Simple Garden

I’m just glad I have this small, unassuming place where some green plants grow alongside one wall. They were just sparse the first time I moved in, yet now they have grown and their thick foliage partly shield my porch from the gate.

Just a simple home greenery

It delights me each morning as I look through my front window, which faces the morning sun, to see the varying shades, shapes and sizes of my home greenery and my sole yellow hibiscus.

My Garden Collage

I love gardens, and how I wish I had one as lovely as this one I photographed on an out of town trip…

In a highland resort south of Manila

Yet the simple garden I keep, including the few potted plants I have at the back of the house, just gives me as much pleasure.  Tending my plants – watering, pruning, propagating and watching them grow, seeing little brown maya birds, even a few butterflies fly about, uplifts my spirit because this affords me a space to commune with nature right in the middle of the city, and a welcome respite from my work-at-home-job and house chores.

For me, gardening is my special form of praying, so I feel one with God’s creation.

Even with such a small garden as mine, gardening is almost like taking care of a child, or a pet….and I realize a creative project as well. It isn’t as simple as it seems, as it takes time, diligence, and love to keep a garden, nurturing it to growth.

Yet the joy it gives is so much more than the sensual pleasure you derive from it – for when you nurture a garden, you also nourish your soul.

My Garden Collage 2

In My Garden Collage 2 are a picture of my citrus plant, in the bigger box above, and of a young “lanzones” fruit tree, as well as the other green plants in my simple yet refreshing garden.


*Note: If you notice, my images here no longer appear — since I changed my theme, I lost them and still need to go over my files to recover them. But I’m keeping my post as is — nice to see what I wrote at the time.

Once Upon a Moonlit Night

Tonight, I caught sight of the passing MOON seemingly growing on my “Silver” plant at the backyard…

Peeking through the leaves of my plant…

O moon, you cast your glow brighter, as the hours go deeper into the night…

’til only you oh moon reign supreme over the hushed, slumbering earth…


Midlife’s Birthing Pain

Last evening I took enough time to ponder — about my blogging, and other aspects of my current life situation:

  • It upsets me to see I’m lagging behind my daily goals for my blog, (to write each day, follow the prompts…) for one. 
  • Another thing – my blog isn’t attracting enough readers or supporters as I want, even from friends and family to assure me I’m doing just fine – even after all the tweaking I’ve done, for the umpteenth time – and this frustrates me…a lot.
  • And yes, a little angry because no one even dares to tell me how bad my writing is or my topics are…something like this.
  • Lately, I’ve been feeling somehow vulnerable, helpless and weepy – feeling like I’m no longer my usual bubbly, capable self.
  • Times when I feel more like a woman conceiving for the first time…

Well — it’s not just me alone. If you’re a mid-lifer like me, at one point, you may have undergone your own midlife crisis..we all do. Midlife is like this – as in any phase of life, you may stumble and fall; you may make a wrong decision or turn; you may feel bad about yourself, and so on.

It’s all part of self-growth…you only need to be able to see the gem of insight behind each mistake you make, then use it to your advantage.

But the term midlife crisis has a negative ring to it, so I’d rather call it midlife’s birthing pain. As in my case, like a woman conceiving, I am about to give birth to my new self, to actualize my new goals and visions in life, that may seem too big for me to handle, but it’s okay. It’s part of my life’s adventure.

Because my new dreams, my new goals are BIG DREAMS, BIG GOALS, so my midlife’s birthing pain is just as big – the anxiety of the unknown borne of an eagerness to see my dreams coming true.

Just like giving birth to a new purpose for my blog and making it grow, I’m hoping *Summer’s Third Wind will finally gain readers as I share my stories, insights and thoughts, hoping these can somehow help other mid-lifers out there.


*Note: Summer’s Third Wind was one of my blog’s former title — Now, it’s English All You Can:A Teacher’s Journal of Inspiration

Sticking to My Game

Today, in prayer, I revisited my life purpose and core gifts which I wrote in my heart, and on paper a few years back (My Soul Dreams) – and lo! The assurance I was seeking came in the form of today’s message from my favorite Filipino best-selling author, entrepreneur, preacher and lay minister Bo Sanchez — whom I’ve been following all these years –

Part of his Truly Rich Bronze letter for the week:

Friend, do you want to build a business?
Here’s my most important word for you: Stay in your core gift. God has given you a gift. Paul said in 1 Timothy 4:14, Do not neglect your gift. Use it and you will prosper.
Richard Carlson said, When you love what you do, it’s difficult not to succeed. And I love what Bestselling Author Zig Ziglar said: I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there, you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.
Stick to your game.
May your dreams come true,
Bo Sanchez

Thus, I stick to my game, as I believe what I have been doing – with much passion – are all part of my Life Purpose and my Core Gifts.

Teaching is my core gift…

I believe God prepared me when I was younger to be a teacher, and that is what He wants me to be – and now that’s what I am.

And the road to my becoming a teacher, was not the conventional path, and I started late – in my 40s. Indeed, my Core Gift is to teach, to communicate.

But I believe God wants me to not only teach, but to also mentor others to become a good teacher. He wants me to be a teacher of other fields as well, not only of English.

Based on my experience, being a mid-lifer has helped enrich my teaching methods, while at the same time, I like that I’m still able to learn, to acquire new knowledge and skills.

To write is also my CORE GIFT, and God wants me to share this talent of mine to others, and to let others be inspired by my writings – not only my students.

With that, I vow to continue growing my skills as a teacher, as a writer, and where these core gifts lead me, God will give me the wisdom to know.

I wrote something related to this in an earlier post: Me and My Soul Dreams


How about you my dear fellow mid-lifers – have you discovered what your life purpose is, what your core core gifts are?

Do share them with me by leaving a reply below. Thanks for being in the journey with me.

I Wish I Were…A Nun!

One fine school day, during recess time, when I was a Kinder pupil at a Catholic school run by nuns, I hurried up to the chapel.

All alone in the silence, I tiptoed along the middle aisle until I reached the communion rail (pre-Vatican II days). Then gently I knelt, looked up at the big crucifix lording over the altar, and whispered with all my childlike fervor my simple prayer, “Dear Jesus, please make me a nun!”

In those days, nuns almost everywhere wore their white habits long, until their ankles, their neck and forehead also covered with their white and black starched headdress. So did those nuns in my school, and what often caught my attention was the big, heavy, rosary chain hanging from the waistline down to the hemline of each nun.

Because every evening, we would have our family rosary time at home, and each of us had our rosaries, the nuns’ huge black rosary beads fascinated me a lot. I do not recall any longer what else made my 5-year old self wished to be like them, but it was my ardent dream, my 1st ever.

Later back at home that day, I confided to my parents about my prayer in the chapel. Hearing that, my parents only smiled, then my Mom asked me if I were ready then to sleep all by myself in my own room because that is what nuns do. You see, as a child, I was always afraid of the dark.

Soon after, my childhood dream seemed to have gone beyond the glorious sunset.

A glorious sunset by Holger Link/Unsplash



You Can Age with Grace Without Ever Growing Old

Is it possible to age without growing? Why or why not?

Thus, goes the prompt for the day – and this question can have answers from different perspectives.

For most, “to age” means simply adding years to one’s life, and growing may either be the natural process of growing old – with the accompanying signs of physical, emotional, psychological aging. Or it can also mean self-development, self-improvement, gaining maturity. The term old  can be taken literally or figuratively; positively or negatively.

Depending on our unique life experiences and how we look at life itself, it is possible to age without necessarily feeling old‘ — because one is at peace with his/her life, and may at the same time be growing fuller in wisdom…

Or one can age and grow old as when one has lost the idealism, fervor of his/her youth…

As well as some other forms of aging and growing in between…

As for me, I’d like to believe that as I age, I am getting better as a person, aging gracefully  like fine wine. No need to feel old.

So I embrace my years with grace and gratefulness, learning new things as much as I can, recognizing life lessons from my experiences, and digesting nuggets of wisdom along the way…

Like vine, I do my best to cling to the good values that have formed me… — photo by Boudewijn Huysmans on Unsplash

When I ripen to my diamond years ahead, my spirit shall still be as sweet and bubbly as in my days of youth.

Though my years will be fading, my heart shall remain sparkling with Hope!