“Two things define you:
1. Your patience when you have nothing.
2. Your attitude when you have everything.”

—Imam Ali

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My Medinilla Magnifica / Rose Lantern one week later

Some months ago I wrote about Miracle Mornings, and Miracle Mornings for Writers, both books by Hal Elrod. Since then, I have been structuring my mornings more efficiently. Several people are horrified at the fact that I rise at 04:45 and still manage to go to bed at 22:30. I agree, sometimes I am horrified at my own choices, but 24 hours in a day just isn’t enough, so I do what I do best – adapt.

In the evenings, when I come home from work, I am far too drained to cook and usually have no appetite left anymore. So I have taken to cooking more elaborately in the mornings. My family can attest that I was never much of a morning person, and you still won’t get me to carry on a deep conversation over breakfast (well, eventually over brunch maybe), but I don’t mind cooking, and this I attribute again to my mother, who never ceased to amaze me by pottering around at ungodly hours. If she were alive now she would laughing her head off at my behaviour, as would my grandmother (Lola Floring).

It has been over a month since I stopped buying my lunch from the assorted bakeries or fast food places close to the office. Instead, I have three cats frowning patiently at me while I cook my breakfast and lunch, and this at 05:30. Then I sit down in the conservatory to have my breakfast while watching the dawn conquer the night. It is better than any meditation session or mass I could ever attend, especially now that I have my Medinilla Magnifica to contemplate – which, by the way, has exploded with blossoms since coming home (see photo above). The spiritual strength that I draw from this moment is beyond words, and deeply comforting.

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The Autumn table arrangement

Now that the nights are longer, I get to enjoy the darkness with candlelight a bit longer. The entire hotel and restaurant industry keeps trying to sell us candlelight dinners, but I much prefer candlelit breakfasts! It is charming, soothing and romantic, until one of the klutzy cats drapes a tail over the candles…

Some years ago, friends moved from Manila to an undisclosed location in Arizona and had difficulties finding a Catholic church nearby to attend Sunday mass. They did, however, find Eucharistic services on the radio and became what she called radio-active Catholics. I laughed my head off at the time, but now I find myself being an online Catholic. Germany is not like the Philippines where you have a plethora of masses to choose from on Saturday evenings or Sundays. If you miss one, you can attend another service in 60-90 minutes or less. Not here, and especially not in the part of Berlin where I am. So I started attending mass online, in particular the services televised from Toronto! It was deja vu on so many levels.

Daddy used to drive to the TV studio one Sunday a month to serve as a Eucharistic Minister at the televised mass. Some years later, he lay in bed attending the very same mass he used to serve, and my mom joined him when she became too scared to walk to church alone. I always found it endearing to watch them hold hands as they attended the TV mass, offer each other the sign of peace, and an hour later the local Eucharistic Minister would come around to bring communion to both of them.

Patience and attitude are what get me through the darkness, and sustain me during the storms.