Ganesha under a tree

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Walking through a park yesterday, I noticed this small Ganesha under a random tree off the path, and found it to be quite interesting. In a landscape of all green, it was shockingly colorful, and anything but ordinary. I couldn’t help my mind from wondering who put it there? How long ago? Do they come back and visit?

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Send Out Cards

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http://www.SendOutCards.com … have you heard of it? Well, it’s my new project, and let me tell you about it!

Send Out Cards is a USA based company that I am using as a customer, and also as a client. It’s the fastest growing network marketing companies in the world. It’s a pretty simple concept as an on-line greeting card and gift company, the idea being to send a personalized greeting card, upload your own photo to be printed and included, add a gift, make someones day, make a difference in their lives.

Why did I choose to be part of this company? Because when I moved to Singapore, I found it virtually impossible to find a store that sells cards. I have only seen one store so far, and it had a very small selection of cards. If I am able to find an appropriate card, now I have the stress of finding a post office, buying a stamp, paying for parking.

There are literally thousands of cards to choose from, including birthday, holidays, wedding, new baby, get well, sympathy, special occasions, and many blank cards that you can fill in with your own message. There is a wide range of gifts, from cookies and brownies, flowers, stuffed animals, books, jewelry, I could go on and on!

And the best part is that Send Out Cards is extremely affordable! In fact, it’s cheaper than buying a card at the store and mailing it yourself. I know many people who use other sites to print out their Christmas cards, and I’m telling you, Send Out Cards is much more cost efficient. My friend Julie made this chart that breaks down the costs of several companies.

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Basically, you purchase “points” that you exchange for cards & gifts, and then you have an expense account to cover postage. It’s a straightforward and simple program!

When I learned about http://www.SendOutCards.com, I knew almost immediately that I wanted to be part of this company. Now from the convenience of my home, I can buy a card, or postcard, personalize it, add a gift, plug in the contact information, and the next day it’s printed (in Utah) and in the mail. Cards can be sent from anywhere in the world and delivered to anywhere in the world. Because I joined the company, I am also earning income!

This is the perfect business to be part of, but especially for the expats who are living throughout the world, who have relatives & friends living in every corner of the world. This is the easiest, most affordable way to stay connected with them, and also make money doing it!

If you want to learn more please click on the link below. From there you can sign up to be a customer, or even to be part of this amazing company!

http://www.SendOutCards.com/Blinkman

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The Ion Panda

This iconic panda sits in front of the Ion, the most recognizable and well-known shopping mall in Singapore. I’ve walked through this mall, with it’s eight levels of shopping (four above ground and four below ground), and managed to get so turned around that I had to go outside the building to find my way back into the parking garage.

I have a pretty good sense of direction, but the funky design along with the many escalators, added to my awe of this place, it’s no wonder that was totally confused and mixed up.

This panda sits out front, along famous Orchard Boulevard. It’s pretty cute, don’t ya think?

The Ion is a must-see place here in Singapore. You can click on this link to see a store directory and learn more about this popular mall.

http://www.IonOrchard.com

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Typhoon Haiyan devastates the Philippenes

This past week, the world watched on their televisions the devastation and destruction inflicted by Typhoon Haiyan.  It is difficult and sad to watch, as the survivors struggle to find shelter, food, and water.

My live-in helper and friend, Leny, is a humble Filipina lady who is reeling from this, as she sits helpless in Singapore, glued to the tv and internet, searching for any news that she can find.  Last night, as I was settling down and ready for bed, Leny made herself another pot of coffee.   When I questioned this, she said that she wanted to stay up late to watch the news.  This is what she has done every night since this disaster.

Her Uncle Alberto was declared missing, but has miraculously survived and has managed to contact her family.  Everyone else in her family has survived and is safe.

But her family was one of the lucky ones, as many are still searching and grieving.   Both Leny and I know of other Filipina ladies working here in Singapore who have not heard from their families, their whereabouts completely unknown.    Their children, siblings, and parents are just gone.

It is hard to comprehend, it really is.  In the evenings, Leny and I sit side by side on the couch, watching the Filipino New Channel, with her translating for me.   She cries, prays, wrings her hands, mumbles lot’s of “Oh my gosh”s , and cannot pry her eyes off of the television.

She says that many feel her country is cursed, because every couple of years they suffer from Mother Natures fury.   She herself has survived two typhoons and severe flooding,  the first time when she was only 8 years old.  She and her family survived by escaping onto higher land, but their home was destroyed by the flooding.  She said that there was a dead cow inside their home when they returned, and that the image of that is still crystal clear in her mind.

In order to help her feel like she was helping her fellow countrymen, to feel like  she isn’t sitting still , she and I  took action.  This week I took Leny to two different groceries here, a Cold Storage market and also a Hyper Giant, where we proceeded to purchase every container of Ramen noodles they had on the shelf.   She said that they would take the dirty water, clean it somehow, make a fire, and cook the noodles, she insisted that starving people are resourceful and will manage.   I then dropped her off at Lucky Plaza, the mall here in Singapore that has many small businesses run by Filipinos, for a big donation/collection drive that was in process, to drop off our noodles.

Today Leny went back to Lucky Plaza to volunteer with the donation drive, helping to organize and pack up food and clothing.    She is there now, and I am sure she will return home tonight exhausted, physically and emotionally, but content with knowing that she has helped.

The amazing part of this is how I see the people of Singapore coming together to help.  I see expat and native children hosting garage sales, selling their toys, hoping to raise money.  I see bake sales and lemonade stands in condos and apartment buildings.  When I was at my kids school this week, I saw several kids with donation drives in full force.  I see Singaporeans, Chinese, Australians, and Indians all working together to find ways to help.

If you would like to help, here is a link with many different organizations, I’m positive that you can find one here that will work for you.  From the bottom of my heart, and Lenys as well, thank you for your thoughtfulness and prayers!

 

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/11/09/haiyan-how-you-can-help/3484467/

“One of these things”

This picture is of all the 12 year olds who competed for Swimfast Aquatics on Sunday for the 29th Annual Junior Inter-Club Meet.   I LOVE this photo, but when I look at it, I cannot help but start singing that Sesame Street song, you know the one, 

“One of these this is not like the others, One of these things is just not the same”

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Shane competed for Swimfast @ the 29th Annual Junior Inter-Club Meet

Did ya know?  Maria, Shane, and Cale love to swim!  They love to compete in the water!  With our move to Singapore, one of the biggest stressors for our family was swimming.  Would it be a good idea to leave Coach Bob and Coach Jen?  They are the best coaches we’ve ever had, and to be fair, they deserve a blog post of their own.  Look for that soon!!  But for now, Bob and Jen, we love you and miss you!!!!

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Shane and Cale have joined a local swim club, Swimfast Aquatics.  This is a team with a terrific reputation, not only in Singapore, but throughout Asia, because they continually produce high level swimmers.  We are thrilled to be part of this club!  The coaches, swimmers, and parents have welcomed us into their group, and the boys have quickly adjusted to their new team.  

This past weekend, there was a very big meet for the local swim clubs, mostly for bragging rights on who has the fastest kids, age 12 and under,  training at their pool.  For each event, each club could only send their top two qualifiers.  So two months ago Swimfast had time trials, to find out who would represent them.  

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The wonderful thing about competitive swimming is that it’s black and white.  You either make the qualifying time standard, or you don’t.    There is no debating on whether you were first or not, and there is no “eye balling” to gauge this … it’s black and white.  

Shane qualified to swim in the maximum allowed events (unfortunately Cale did not qualify).  Shane was looking forward to representing Swimfast, and the morning of the big meet, he proudly wore his new  “I love Swimfast” tee shirt.

First event of the day:  200 Individual Medley.  One of Shanes favorite events.  He always cleans up on this one, and as his momma, I’m gonna brag a bit here, Shane was the fastest 12 year old in the United States last year to swim this event.     

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So, I was hoping that he would do well, but since we took a week from his training to go on holiday, I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  But true to form, in typical Shane style,  he took first place in this event, setting a meet record, and achieving a personal best time.  Shane then competed in the 50 Freestyle, 50 Breaststroke, and then he was part of two relays teams.  In all Shane took 1st places in every event, had 3 personal best times, and he set 3 Singapore meet records.

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Shane’s girl friend Ally came to watch him, as well as her parents, so the day was even more special for my son.  To top it off, many new friends were made!!

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This is my buddy Ardi, who set a new meet record, shattering the 15 year old record.  It was so exciting, and I really felt like I belonged when he came running over to me, still dripping wet, to get a high five from me.  I love all these kids and how hard they work, and be part of the excitement and share the joy he was feeling was really special.

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Shane came home with some really  nice medals too!  I’ll tell ya, in Singapore, they do them up right, even engraved on the back!!  

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