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

Saturday, July 14, 2018


As much as a fresh fruit salad will do for desert, there are times when you just can't resist the puddings, the cakes and sweets, but as is said, everything in balance.   This is a  recipe that was made for a shoe distribution event held January, 2017 and provided by Nutritionists and Friends In Action(NAFIA) member,Leoniza.


2 packages(4cups) grated cassava
1 can coconut milk
1 can condensed milk
1 bottle of macapuno(coconut strips)(use 3/4 only)
2 eggs
2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter, melted for baking tray
1/4 cup sugar (optional)

Toppings Mixture for Cassava Cake
1/2 can condensed milk
1 egg
1/4  remaining sweetened (macapuno/coconut strips)

Procedure & Baking Instructions

  1. Mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl, except butter
  2. Add sugar as needed(your preferred taste)
  3. Spread the melted butter evenly in a baking pan
  4. Pour in cassava mixture
  5. Bake in 350F degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour
  6. After 45 minutes when the cassava is dried on top, pour the topping mixture
  7. Return to oven and broil for another 10-15 minutes, until the topping becomes brown
  8. Remove from oven and top with grated cheese

Happy Cooking                                                                                              Happy Eating


CHOOSE TO CARE(CTC) strives to provide a new pair of shoes for the child in need.  We have made it our business.  But this is not the only thing we are drawn to.  At each of our local shoe distribution even, we invite the families of the youth we serve to join us in healthy eating.  These are delicious dishes with nutritious ingredients, prepared with the hands of our resident chef, Maricela.  She whips up amazing dishes, using a medley of fruits and vegetables, herbs and any edible thing on hand. Nothing is wasted!  The NAFIA team gives a nod to cooking with scraps, "From stalks to roots" is our motto, as we do our part to save this crumbling earth; passing the baton to bring awareness to the families of our communities, so they can hop on the bandwagon and be guided to become part of this passion.

You don't always need a recipe to take you to mouth-watering dishes, with practice it becomes easier to build your plate, swapping one vegetable for another, sprinkling a new herb to give it a kick, pour in some roasted nuts for that extra crunch, throw in some chickpeas or other beans of your choice, for protein goodness, top with a dollop of yogurt, some chives and scallion could only make it better.  Oh my, you are eating good and healthy.

Those who join us when Maricela is in the kitchen, leave with a nicely secured package containing:

  • nutritious plant-based dishes, lingering in your mouth
  • guideposts on how to prepare healthy meals
  •  ideas for ingredients that stimulate the imagination and reinforce our humanity

Maricela says: "I love to cook because when I am cooking I am in control of the flavor and seasoning of my own meals.  I enjoy cooking because through a colorful and delicious plate I can express how much I care for the ones I love.  Cooking is not only an innate skill but a gift from God, for which I enjoy and am thankful for."

"CHOOSE TO CARE has given me the confidence to share my talents with the families we have brought together, Along with making memories and sharing happiness, I genuinely believe that sharing is caring and cooking for a good cause is worthy."

Thanks Maricela for helping to build the foundation for a lovely world.

"Love and compassion are necessities,not luxuries.Without them humanity
cannot survive."
Dalai Lama

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Meet Denisse the Pied Piper!  We at CHOOSE TO CARE have made a commitment to do our part to save the earth.  Denise has taken up the banner to share with the youth and their families, tips to meet the challenges.  She engages them in ways to think differently about our environment and communities and draws their attention to destruction around the world; ocean strewn with garbage, dead fishes, trees that are cut down, causing erosion.  All of this so that the youth and their families can begin to think more seriously about their communities, how they can make changes that will have a positive impact on their health and surroundings.

There are clever ways to reduce waste, she tells them and shares some of CHOOSE TO CARE's  game plan for going green:

  • Don't keep the pipe running while brushing your teeth, water wasted
  • Lay off using straws for drinks, the plastic goes to the landfill
  • Serve smaller portions to avoid food waste
  • Ditch the plastic bag for a cloth bag at the grocery
  • Use the garbage bins to discard of rubbish

Anyone who has joined our shoe distribution event will come away with a package that:

  • Pleads with people of the earth to be aware of their surroundings
  • Makes you aware that caring for the earth transforms both materials and lives
  • Says it is possible to make treasure from trash
  • Lets us know that we are responsible to spread the word to others about saving the earth
  • Wants you to increase your vocabulary with RECYCLE, REPURPOSE and RENEW

Denisse says, "When I think of the Machu Picchu's fresh air that caresses your face while giving you a peaceful state of mind, I know how important it is to save the earth. There are things that are priceless  that only mother nature can provide us with. We must take care to maintain the beauty of the wonders of the world so our future generation can enjoy what we have now."

I enjoy being part of CHOOSE TO CARE because it is important to give back to our community and no matter how big or small your gift is, you should give it with love.

Yes, Denisse, you have hit it on the head, if each of us do our part, small or big, our stewardship will make a difference in our communities.