My now 11-month old nephew is so cute I call him several names–Kung Fu Panda, Garfield, any Japanese-looking cartoon character, Mr. Shooli, Gangnam….

One time, I called him a piggy bank.

I know these are nasty comments but he’s just too adorable to let pass the chance for my mind to think of who else looks like him.

A baby’s day can be so productive:

  1. Wake up at 7am
  2. Eat mashed carrots or potato for breakfast
  3. Nap
  4. Eat snacks
  5. Play on the floor sucking up toys
  6. Eat lunch
  7. Change diaper
  8. Nap
  9. Snack up on bread sticks or rice biscuits
  10. Play
  11. Watch ABCs and eensy wincey spider went up the water spout
  12. Nap again
  13. Eat dinner
  14. Climb up his parents’ or aunties’ arms
  15. Sleep
  16. Repeat.

cute babies

Babies eat without knowing how. Their survival each day is a mystery, living, existing each day without knowing how.

They sleep peacefully and wake up to oxygen and sweet sounds and ground underneath and food cooking up in the kitchen.

They play and toddle and watch nursery rhymes nonchalantly and get dressed regularly, all without knowing how.

It always reminds me of a favorite Bible verse about the birds and the animals and how they’re taken care of; much more shouldn’t human beings worry about their every day provisions because, we’re just like the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees — we get:

  1. Fed
  2. Clothed
  3. Provided for
  4. Taken care of
  5. Presented opportunities
  6. Given choices
  7. Freedom
  8. Speech
  9. Air to breathe
  10. People to talk to and live with

We are given sources of happiness like the:

  • chirping birds and
  • flowers to smell and
  • trees to lie underneath of and
  • solid ground to walk on and
  • smiles that welcome us and
  • love that keeps us healthy and
  • chairs to sit on and
  • radio to sing along with and
  • even a little luxury from time to time like a good friend who listens or
  • officemates who remember to invite you to their Christmas gift-giving even if they’re sure you can’t join them and
  • parents who pray for your safety and
  • girlfriends who ask about your lovelife even if they know they’d get the same reply.

There are always a lot of things to be thankful for, as cliche as it may sound.

Due to the limited space here, let me just generalize it and say,

“Thank You, Universe.”

Credit goes to someone I used to look up to as a mentor, who passed on last year, and whose own reflections were noted down in his blog called my so called mid-life angst. I learned that universal phrase from him.

Today, I am thankful that there is a sub-yaya, in the persona of an aunt, and that I can have a little more me-time here. I should be able to blog a little more and hopefully write a little better.

A friend of mine recently asked me why I don’t write like I used to. I refused to admit it of course, until I re-read the posts in my previous blog and true enough it seemed I was then more romantic, more reflective, or should I just say, an introvert?

Much to my dismay, I succumbed to my friend’s observation and admitted I have changed.

It reminds me of a study pointed out by Creativity expert Ken Robinson on how seemingly our education system is so behind so much so that the classroom set-up of children alone trains them for the jobs in the industrial era, not of the information age.

It’s disturbing to know that the study presents an inverse relationship between children’s schooling and creativity.


The higher they go up the school system, the more diminished their creativity becomes. That doesn’t help me a bit about any future plans I may have of taking further education.

I hope my nephew grows up more creative than logical, more gentle than right, more kind than good-looking.

If I was more creative myself, I’m sure I can think of hundred more names to call him by.


“…we get fed, clothed, provided for, taken care of, presented opportunities, given choices, freedom, speech, air to breathe, people to talk to and live with, sources of happiness like the chirping birds and flowers to smell and trees to lie underneath of, and the solid ground we walk on, and the smiles that welcome us, and love that keeps us healthy, the chairs to sit on, the radio to sing along with…”

*This is part of a 68-Day Travel Diary called Reflections of a Nearly Thirty. Read the full Reflections Series here.

Join the conversation! 8 Comments

  1. We always forget to be grateful fo what we have. Thanks for reminding. Thank you, Universe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful. I love your little names for your nephew. I used to call my son “Beanhead,” and my red haired daughter “Pumpkin head,” and “Cristie bug.” I also called the two chicken and dumpling. My son was the chicken with the skinny legs. LOL Feel free to borrow my names, if you run out of your own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha! I like chicken and dumpling. 🙂 I don’t know why but it’s probably the shape of their head or their cheeks or the faces they make that’s why we call them names. They’re just plain adorable. I’ve noted down those names, might come in handy sometime. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. […] Shut up and thank the universe! (Day 36) […]



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About hellopenville

Writing is my one true north. (The other is eating spaghetti. I make the best pastas in the whole world I swear!) I have been writing since age 10. I remember being in another school a lot because of Campus Journalism contests. I was a grade-school copyreader, headline-writer, and feature writer, who emerged to be a college editorial writer and eventually a TV news writer. However, I have always been an insecure artist. These constant condescending thoughts always stopped me from creating: “No one would read this.” “This has been written before and therefore no one would read this.” “This is not interesting enough and therefore no one would read this.” “This is not relevant, or factual, or trendy enough and therefore no one would read this.” But I learned to risk to write even if no one reads it, than not to have written anything at all. To resist writing is to resist truth itself, to betray that which comes freely to you when you do not allow it to be manifested through you. I didn’t think writing was serious work. But every time I thought about writing, it would make me nervous. It would rattle me and frighten me. I would shake the ground under me. Aren’t dreams like that too? Read more at


Europe, Holland, Travel Reflections Series (3 months in Europe)


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