Saturday, December 22, 2018

WINNER OF THE BEAUTIFUL black & white checkered shawl

Hi Folks,

Thanks to all who participated in the raffle to help CHOOSE TO CARE provide a brand new pair of shoes for the child in need.  Your support will help to brighten their holiday celebration.

This beautiful black and white checkered shawl was won by Aisha Cayetano.

With Gratitude!

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Saturday, December 8, 2018


All throughout the year we are faced with so much grumble and gripe.  We will meet bad days, after all it is not easy to navigate through this place we call earth.  And so, as I began to think what message I would send in my last blog for the year, I decided to repeat one that I wrote in 2012.
So here we go:

Dear Kindred Spirit,

I try all year to pay attention to those I hold dear to me.  And I hope I did just that! The end of the year is in sight and I am grabbing yet another chance during this season of merriment to stop and take the time to focus on our blessings, to make amends and truly show my appreciation for the people who have meant so much to me.

Thanks for your support, your friendship, your kind words. We have teased each other, have belly laughs, bounced back from adversaries and continued to embrace this ever changing life.

And my hope is that even when the thread(spirit) that keeps us tightly woven seem to be coming apart(life's upheaval), we will still find the time to pull out our sewing kit(to find strength, courage,faith, hope) and mend(stay intact) as best as we can.

My wish my friends, is that each time we are tested, we will think of gratifying moments and rise above our woes.  So let's make a pledge to ourselves that when we think of life's difficult journey, we will also think of our blessings, no matter how small.  This balancing act you may discover will give you time to determine that life is not so bad after all.  It will give you a sense of security that will help you face life's challenges.  You will not tarry too long in the 'pity department' anymore; instead you will find yourself expressing gratitude and appreciation, over and over for life's experiences.

I am thankful for your presence, for life, family and good health.  As you celebrate and connect with your love ones, keep the holidays fun, safe and nutritious;work to maintain your weight and leave some wiggle room to enjoy your favorite food

"The optimist sees the rose and not its thorns; the pessimist stares at the thorns, oblivious to the rose."
Kahlil Gibran


Have a joy-filled holiday and new year!

Sunday, October 28, 2018


I was surprised upon landing, at the distance between the airport and where I would spend the next four days with thousands of enthusiastic people, preparing to listen to innovative ideas about dietary concerns, environmental woes and the politics that come with all of this. There would be enterprising colleagues to keep us spellbound with new discoveries that would leave us hungry for more and immediately set us in motion to begin planning to attend the next event in the upcoming year; even if only in our minds.

I have diverted a bit. This far away place meant a change in plans, I would not be able to attend the closing session and that meant missing out on hearing from an inspirational speaker.  This last session is just as important as any other I would attend because it wraps up all that will unfold during our time at the conference and sends us packing with a reminder of how important and necessary the work we do is.  The words of wisdom imparted usually gives us hope not to give up on our inspirations.  And I would miss this!  Even a short time is better than none I told myself and for my short stay, I realized that the flavor of his advice was heading down BRILLIANCE road.  The speaker wanted us to look into the eyes of the person sitting next to us and say"You are so brilliant"
I left after that eye gazing exercise for the trip back home.

The opening session brought us Bonnie St John, a world renowned skier, who only has one leg.  I read about her years ago in  the Essence magazine, and was in awe of her and all her achievements then and even more so when I heard her speak.  Her message was RESILIENCE.
Rushed and unsure of the directions inside the airport, I kept asking until I reached my destination, that is when I realized I had left my coat in the security area.  It would mean going back.  As confused as I was getting to where I needed to be, I was not looking forward to starting over again. I asked a worker for help, explaining what had happened, he directed me how to return and ASSURED me I would make it on time to board the plane.  I took a few steps toward starting over and thought this was risky.  I asked another worker, who ASSURED me there was no need to take that trek, the airline staff would be willing to help me retrieve my coat.

As I explained my plight, I was met with a stern "impossible"  "we cannot do anything" "security does not want us to bring anything to passengers" "we could lose our job"  I was taken aback by the disengagement. It did not matter that I was traveling to a cold place, not a hint of an attempt was made to help me, all I received was a mouthful of why they could do nothing for me.

Desperation sets in and I approached the flight attendant who was standing nearby, thinking she might be a bit more sympathetic. "You heard what she said! And we will not hold the plane for you."
I tried one more time and approached another random airport worker and repeated my predicament.  He pointed me to the same people who had dismissed me and I let him on to my experience.  He heard me out but did not have a solution and we parted company.

I took my seat, waiting for my zone to be called, knowing that I should just make the best of a bad situation.  After all I had heard about resilience, now let me put it into practice.  Just as I was about to get on board, I heard someone, trying to get my attention; lo and behold, the young man came to deliver my coat and disappeared just as quickly.  I was shock and ran after him, after all he deserved a better thank you, one that came from the heart for an unexpected act of kindness. But he wanted nothing for his kindness.
The package that I took with me from this journey where BRILLIANT things happened, contained RESILIENCE,KINDNESS,BLESSED ASSURANCE.

One Love!


                                           EASING ON DOWN TO KINDNESS  ROAD

                                             She cried out to no one in particular
                                             Hoping anyone and everyone
                                             Would hear her plea
                                             "This is not a hard road to travel" she said
                                             "Come let me show you how
                                              Get ready for a journey down Kindness Road"

                                             Fret not if you come across a bump
                                             Here and there
                                             First timers may feel a bit sore
                                             But on your next round
                                             You will make it without a moan

                                             Just point to the way to Kindness Road
                                             She shows him, he shows another
                                             To the left, to the right, around the bend
                                             You can't miss it.
                                             Any turn will lead to Kindness Road

                                             "What if I have a change of heart?" you ask
                                              Too late, says the Genie
                                              That's the wish granted to your fellowmen
                                              And it has spread like wildfire
                                              Any Street, Any Lane, The Alley, The Avenue
                                              Will take you down Kindness Road
                                               There you will find them
                                               Joyfully banding together
                                               For a kinder world

psw(Jump for joy series)

Sunday, September 2, 2018


Choose To Care's(CTC) invitation to the Nutritionists and Friends In Action {NAFIA} team read:

                                       The NAFIA Summer Outing
                              Let's meet for a stroll to the High Line
                                        Bring your thoughts
                              Enjoy words of Inspirations, poetry and music
                              Spend some fun time with nature
                              Food taste oh so good in the open air

The threatening rain did not alter our plans.  We did not even have an alternate date. Grit and guts is how I describe our attitude.   So we met and began our stroll and there were a lot of nip and tuck on properties, along the way, passageways were blocked,we took a few detours but we made our way to our destination.

We joined others who were taking in the sights, walking aimlessly. Our group stopped to look at the flora and  marvel at nature's beautiful house, all manner of plants taking position along the path.  We came upon a tree loaded with fruit and someone in our group wondered out loud if this was really the anonna fruit also known as custard apple because of  flesh that looks like custard.  There were buildings rising from the streets on both sides of the park, beckoning to us to look at their unique structures; some were getting face lifts, while others had occupants, sometimes visible on their terraces.  We let out sighs and let our imagination run wild, knowing that owning one of these buildings was out of our reach, but let me take that back, all things are possible.

The growling stomachs and bags that were weighing us down, let us knew that it was time to scope out a spot to share our meal. We staked our claim on what we thought was the ideal spot; benches to rest our tired feet, a place to lay our spread and under a few trees that offered a tiny bit of protection from the raindrops that had become a little more than a drizzle.

We ate, listened to music and heard poems that eloquently described life's pathway.  Mother Teresa persuaded us to "Do It Anyway" the "it" referring to acts of kindness, practicing forgiveness, building, doing good, finding happiness, serenity, regardless of the backlash from naysayers.
"When Giving Is All We have" by Alberto Rios, an American Poet, resonates what we at CTC and NAFIA are about. He tells the story of giving, its many faces, he goes on to say, "You gave me what you did not have and I gave you what I had to give - together, we made something greater from the difference."  The Bridge Builder by Will Allen Dromgoole tells the story of the old man who had passed on a bridge that posed danger but he stopped to build a safer path for the youth whose feet must pass this way. Aboud Ben Ahem by Leigh Hunt, placed his name on the angel's list as one who loves his fellow men.

Our discussions after such inspiring words led to how else we can walk the good talk.  We know that we are something bigger than just us and promised to continue to use our platforms, health, nutrition and fitness and saving the earth, to help the youth in need.  We are thankful for CTC and NAFIA hard work and bright ideas.

The splendor in the High Line Park had to end with a photo session and selfies, the help of a stranger snapped us together. Lo and behold as we climbed on the benches for more snapshots, there was an artistic photo of Mother Theresa, staring back at us.  I stared back, bewildered. "Was there a message in that photo?" I whispered. I had reset my button out here with nature, feeling relaxed and the image of Mother Teresa will certainly help me to tackle the plans floating in my mind as I took the long trek home. I am sure the artist has a story why Mother Teresa's painting was placed there in the first place but I will call this my miracle on the High Line, and this sighting has found its way from my eyes to my heart. "Yes, I will give it my best shot" and "I Will Do It Anyway" accepting  Mother Teresa's invitation.

Sunday, August 19, 2018


What a cunning title, I thought, they are using the concept of a library, where books are taken out and returned.  But it saddened me when later as I scrolled through the shoe projects from classrooms that needed shoes for their students and realized what this really meant.  Teachers Ask/Donor Choose(, is the organization that seeks funding for teachers' classrooms, in impoverished areas all over the USA.  As the say,"an organization that connects the public to public schools."

In this particular project that I dubbed the cunning name,  the teacher found this as the answer to the students who came to school wearing ill-fitted shoes for sports. They borrow to play the game and at the end of the game they must return the pair of shoes to the shoes library. Needless to say,Choose To Care(CTC) along with other donors, fully funded this project.

Each time someone asks, why shoes, I only wish they would read some of these stories, the teachers tell of the way the kids come to school, some wearing shoes with holes in them or a size too small, wearing flip-flops in the winter months, duck taped shoes without laces.

Because of these inadequate footwear, that cause pain and soreness of their feet, the kids cannot focus in school.  These concerned teachers, use compelling titles to tell their stories of despair and anxiety.
Titles such as:

  • Shoes Blues - which conjures a sad note
  • Kids Needs Shoes - getting right to the point
  • Desperately Needing Shoes - a cry for immediate help
  • Get Every Kid Active & Moving During Physical Education - we certainly want to see energized kids

The Teachers would like us to know that donating to their projects will help the kids in poverty escape from some harsh realities for a little while and make playing safe and easier. CTC will do their best to put a brand new pair of shoes on the feet of as many children as possible.

"Yes we will, it is in our hands." psw


Tuesday, July 31, 2018


         Look at my feet
         They are swelling in the heat.
         But even when it is cold
         these feet of mine, still show big bulges
         I know for sure this is a result of  wearing
         Shoes that don't fit right.

          The only pair I own is so worn out
           My poor feet are left to the mercy
           Of where I tread.
           The sun beats on them.
            The cold makes them change color.

            But the shoes on my feet are truly making a statement,
             He chuckled.
            Only the sole is left standing, with the back attached.
            That's where I place my tired feet.
             I am using the brittle laces, to tie my feet in securely.
             But of course they keep popping out,
             And I quickly pop them right back in.
             I don't want anyone to see me, for it will put me to shame.

             I could have just as well go barefooted
             But the splinters, broken glasses, stones
             And even parasites, spell more damage.

            I need a pair of good shoes, any shoes will do.
            It doesn't have to be the latest style!
            What I need is a pair that will carry me
            So I can move a little faster
            To get to where I need to be.

            Give me that pair of shoes
            And I will leave my footprints, where it matters.
            I will move in the right direction
            When I get that pair of shoes.
            I will keep walking, until I get where I want to be
            Just give me that pair of shoes and you will see.

          And he awoke to a brand new pair of shoes, laying by his side
          And when he finally put his tired feet in that pair of shoes,
          He knew this was the opportunity he was seeking.
          With his new shoes on, he was about to conquer the world
          And on his way he did not forget to leave a pair of shoes,
          For anyone in need, who comes along.


psw/(Spread Joy In The World) series

Sunday, July 15, 2018


We at CHOOSE TO CARE (CTC) along with the Nutritionists and Friends In Action (NAFIA) Team have the inside scoop of where to find the best tasting nutritious dishes and snacks. Here is another of our mouth-watering recipe that was served at one of our shoe distribution event for the youth in Corona; not only did the children leave with a brand new pair of shoes, fulfilling the mission of CTC to provide a brand new pair of shoes for the youth in need but they and their families enjoyed this tasty delight.  We want to thank our NAFIA member Monica for this brilliant idea and Maricela, the resident chef for putting it all together.

 Fresh  Fruit and Yogurt Cones


2 oz. plain yogurt

1 tsp. honey

4 T. mixed fresh fruit

1 ice cream waffle cone


Mix yogurt with honey. Fill a waffle cone with a layer of mixed fruit
Top it with one spoonful of yogurt

FRESH FRUIT SUGGESTIONS: Sliced strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, sliced bananas, pineapple, mandarin oranges,kiwi grapes and any of your favorite fruit in season.

Happy preparation
Happy Eating