In this time of uncertainty when unemployment is at its highest, people are feeling anxious about their job security, prices are rising, sales are depressingly discouraging, family relations are strained, and all are in some form of "meltdown" - economically, emotionally, psychologically, and morally. And we can't help but feel our resources are drained, energies are stretched, and stamina depleted.It is easy to feel so distant from the local and global news reports of the state of our country and the world. The so-called economic crises hits home when a family, a friend, or you yourself are one of those unemployment statistics.
It becomes real when you are faced with the unknown; when you need to know you no longer are identified with your past employer. Once a mentor, a guide, a friend, a provider. Now an adversary, now an insensitive group of managers.

What do I feel now? What can I do now? Shocked, numbed, seethingly raging with fear, anxiety, and anger; bouts of loneliness and apathy; rambling thoughts and confusing feelings; all these drive one to just process through the first few weeks of letting go the "old" and allowing the "new" the "unknown" to unfold.

The seeming burden of losing a job slowly becomes a blessing of self-realization, finding new resources of strength from within and enhancing one's life with new ideas and experiences that will unfold.

The coming weeks become a mystery and a challenge. There is more to share.

Marlen Forbes
4/21/2009 12:47:56 pm

Change is not easy.
In the process of going through the unemployment stage: of self-acceptance, of letting go, of persevering and of being hopeful for a new beginning. We then decide to walk everyday with steps of calm peace, courage, and firm confidence. And be patient to wait for the right job to come along.
Sometimes we start thinking of the worse and mentally we get so wrapped up with such negatives that we end up depressed and anxious. This leads us to end up emotionally distressed and easily give up and make impulsive decisions. God is there to guide us and even when I had to face battling cancer in the last 6 years I was blessed to put my trust in Him first and never give up by surrendering my all to Him.
Now my job loss is another testimony of how to put my temporal needs in His hands. He alone knows all and can do all. I am open to listen to His directions by being calm and everyday keeping busy. I started making a list of things I always wanted to do if I did not work. First I volunteered for the American Cancer Society working at their thrift shop and enrolled at a writing class once a week. Having a routine schedule "filled my void" and kept me busy from the usual hours that I had when working. This is a sure way to avoid procrastination and depression.
Meeting new people and keeping busy is a healthy sign for the first weeks when one is faced with job loss.

4/22/2009 01:57:01 am

Never Give Up.
This morning I woke up with the feeling of Hope. I refuse to be stuck in the past. My favorite prayer is the serenity prayer: "Lord, help me accept
the things I cannot change, to change the things I can change, and the wisdom
to know the difference."
Hope is powerful. Life is not over knowing we have the resources to think, feel, make decisions, and experience new things in life. It is time we "sing a new song" every day in our lives. I have made the decision in this present state of my unemployment life to "press forward" and see what my future beholds. I know my future is exciting. The doors are open for me to be enriched in a new way. Isaiah 42:9 "the former things a gone and we can now sing a new song. Isaiah 43:19 "Behold, I AM doing a new thing". I have decided to do a new thing in my life NOW and not get stuck in the past. My past employment is over and I will bring all these experiences with me to my new world. This is all a discipline of the mind. Today I remind myself to be strong in the mind and make the effort to get up and move on. Start my to do list I spoke about yesterday and check it out and make it happen.

Enid Sevilla
4/22/2009 03:15:14 am

Way to go Marlen! Yours is a fighting spirit towards hope and courage that infectiously affects others (myself included)even those who are "still" employed. Thank you for the positive and brave face you are holding up to the world. God sees that and He is smiling tenderly at you.


Lily Tamayo-Tanaka
4/22/2009 09:05:56 am

Reading your BLOG caused a flood of thoughts and memories. I remember the first time I got laid off which was 25 years ago. I was single, very young, alone in a foreign land. I was so devastated, hurt, and in shock. I thought “why me?”. This happens to other people and not special little me. I can still remember the look in my boss’s eyes when he was giving me the “speech”. Funny, inspite of it all I felt so sorry for him. He knew I was hurt, confused, and trying to put a brave front but I couldn’t control my tears. He saw a tear slowly drop down my cheek and another one behind it. Through my blurred vision I saw him tear up and his voice crack. While he was escorting me out of the building I could no longer make out what he was saying but I did remember him trying so hard to convince me that if there was an opening he would rehire me, he kept on repeating this over and over. This lay off - I discovered many things that I had family, friends, and former co-workers who cared. I was set on cancelling my first trip to Las Vegas which was scheduled for that weekend but my former co-workers convinced me that I needed this time off and that I needed to move on and have fun. So I did go to Vegas with a best friend and while there I remembered myself crying and thinking while pulling down the handlebar of the nickel slot machines “This would have been more fun if I had a job!”. I also learned that things do work out. A week after my layoff I received a call from my former boss. He said he was ready to hire me back. It turns out an employee turned in his resignation ! I got hired back ! The feelings I went through for that one week ran the gamut BUT I learned that things do work out. Funny, I got laid off twice in that same company. That company eventually went bankrupt and I was one of the last employees who closed the doors a year later. My friends and family always get a chuckle over this tidbit.
Today, 25 years later I may be a litte beat-up, a little worse for wear, but alive, sane, happy, and very supportive of friends, acquaintances, co-workers who have been laid off or going through challenges in life. Get this, I’ve been laid off a total of 6 times and am still out there looking for work and with the right attitude one comes out stronger and better for it. Love your BLOG Marlen ! Keep on blogging!

Marlen Forbes
4/23/2009 02:22:23 am

Thank you Lily and Enid for your replies. It is when not feeling alone that one feels encouraged. I attended my second Career Center Workshop sponsored by EDD and enrolled in the Cover Letter and Resume Class. Among a class of 20 I felt sad; "sad" because I was with a group of men and women in their 50's with many years of experience looking so somber and yet so determined to work at finding a job.
"Finding a job" is a "JOB" in itself.
Then we had to go to the Lab room where more of us where working on their resumes or working online filling applications for jobs. Most were African American men, professional looking and middleaged. And I wondered how stressed they were trying to find a job for their family. God bless them all. I went home feeling heavy. Can I be superwoman or an angel of San Diego and put a wand on each one I saw so they can find a job today?

4/23/2009 03:35:24 am

You are truly talented. Probably not having a defined employment was the only way to reach into your journalistic talent which benefit zillions of people. Thanks for including me in that.

Marlen Forbes
4/24/2009 02:40:02 am

Hi June. Thank you for your vote of confidence. Your comment meant a lot to me. Your credibility is high on my list.
Now you know my one "secret" passion.

4/25/2009 09:33:11 am

God will not give you anything that He knows you will not be able to handle. I have always remembered this saying whenever I feel like I am in a battle. You are a strong person and I know that you will weather this storm as you have done so in the previous tempest that you have borne so bravely. Know that I always have you in my prayers and you will get through this storm with your wonderful spirit and outlook. All my love.

Marlen Forbes
4/27/2009 05:05:08 am

Thanks Binky for your wonderful encouraging words. I belief in the power of family and friend support. It is the one source of healing that we sometimes take forgranted. Our culture is blessed because we are so family oriented and have a large circle of friends we can rely on and most of all we have faith in God and that is our rock when we face any adversities. My present situation is not depressing because it is only a sign that new doors are opening for me to find my new life; and now that Bruce just lost his only brother I have the time to spend with him and give him the support he needs. That is a true blessing. This is not an accident. It has been a providentail plan of which I welcome.
For those who have lost their jobs recently look up the website It is quite inspirational and helpful.
Have a good day now. Thanks Binky again.
Mom is not visiting in May due to the swine flu epidemic. Too bad.
Love, Marlen

4/27/2009 06:49:32 am

You are an inspiration to everyone !!!! I DO remember how we met -- a true miracle and funny too. You are a survivor!!!! I love you, now ----- GO GET THEM GIRL !!!!!! LU, J

Lily Tamayo-Tanaka
4/28/2009 03:29:52 am

Always a Plan.
Marlen, I enjoy reading and re-reading all your blog entries - so inspiring. I agree with your response to Binky about situations being part of a plan and not an accident. I got laid off 2 years ago. When that happened I was in Manila for a family reunion. I wished to stay longer but knew had to get back to work. Turns out I got laid off. My family were so concerned for me. I told them, “Don’t worry. It will work out”. It did. I was able to help out with the family business. I was also able to conduct some personal projects of my own which I would not have done had I been working for an employer. Two months later I got to go to Rome for Mother Marie Eugenie’s canonization and what an experience attending mass at St. Peter’s Square with Pope Benedict officiating! Later that year my mother suffered a stroke and I was able to go back home and spend time helping my mom and family. Marlen, I do agree with you. There’s always a plan.

5/1/2009 03:54:02 am

Sometimes, actually many times, God does not make sense. But eventually you realize his ultimate wisdom. I love you Marlen. Only wish is that you drove down more often. And we can eat yummy food.

Marlen Forbes
5/1/2009 02:56:02 pm

God makes sense. It is us who don't make sense. I will drive down one day.
Been busy lately with career center workshops and also preparing for our trip to Seattle for the memorial service of my brother in law at the end of May. Will keep in touch.

Mary Strobbe
5/4/2009 11:11:19 am

I am not as gifted a writer as you so I do not have the words to express my shock and surprise at your departure from work! I will not dwell on that and someday, much later, we can discuss it and laugh.

Today, I want to encourage you to pursue your dreams: all those things you never had time for because you were attending to so many others. You are a very special person with many talents to offer this world. Perhaps you have been blessed with the opportunity to choose what you want to do not what someone else wants you to do.

Know that you are loved and supported.

PS you knew me as Mary Meiners, but I have reverted to my birth name.

5/5/2009 05:46:06 pm

The world gets smaller and smaller. In this cyberage we find ourselves never alone. The loneliness we feel is due to the dependence and crutches we are made to get used to with cell phones, computers, videos, iphones, twitters, and facebook communication. Without any of these "toys" we have grown to use as necessary we become so empty and alone. Then lose the skill to communicate and learn the real world of social dynamics.
Even we are learning to pray sending praying requests on the website and reading daily meditations through the web.
Thank you for the insight that I now can choose to do what I want to do and not what someone else wants me to do.
That is a big revelation. I will take that as an "aha" moment.
Thank you. I hope to see you some day.
I feel your support and love.

5/8/2009 12:57:53 pm

5/8/2009 02:11:52 pm

Marlen, I'm very grateful for your blog, and for the Internet, that allows us to share our thoughts even though we live hundreds of miles away from each other!

I can relate to your feelings. I didn't get laid off, no, I QUIT my well-paying job in disgust and moved to Portland! At first it was fun. I bought a couple of houses (cheap in those days) and enjoyed fixing them up, one to rent and the other for myself. I figured I could easily find a job later (wrong!). After a few months my money was running out but I couldn't find a job to save my life. I went to those classes for unemployed people like you did, I tried to upgrade my computer skills. I did volunteer work, hoping to get some contacts and just to have a reason to get up in the morning. Suddenly my anxiety grew by leaps and bounds, what if I got sick or injured? No insurance, no friends or relatives. My brain going crazy with fears. And so painfully alone for the first time in my life. It was during this time that I turned inward and sought that "inner strength" we always heard about. Surely I had some of that stuff,somewhere! I took up yoga (great for anxiety), meditately at least daily and sought inner guidance. Now I'm sure I shared what happened during one of those sessions with you before, but it bears repeating at this moment. In fact it gives me great comfort even now, years later:

I found myself looking up and admiring the endless beauty of the sky above and around me. It was really quite spectacular, every hue of blue, with blazing pink and orange clouds, just like those incomparable sunsets over Manila Bay when I was a child. It was truly the most beautiful sky I'd ever seen. Then for some reason, I looked down. OMG!! There they were, my two big, bare feet planted on this minuscule white pedestal set atop a thin column that went down for what seemed like miles. I couldn't even see the bottom of it because it disappeared into some clouds. Terrified, I forgot all about the sky and fell to my knees, desperately clinging to that tiny, wavering pedestal for dear life. How would I ever get out of such a predicament? It was hopeless! There was no help to be found, no solution to be reasoned out, only sure death. Then suddenly, out of nowhere, I heard someone laughing at me: Ha,ha,ha!! I looked down at my hands and saw that instead of grasping that miserable little pedestal, my fingers were dug into the medallion on an Oriental rug. I was perfectly safe all long! You said it, Marlen, it's all in our perspective.

As I look back on those times in Portland, I understand now God's purpose for those hard times: to find my inner strength and to learn compassion. I know what it feels like to be poor, to have $10 left for food for the whole month, to worry and feel unsupported, to feel anonymous and alone, because I have lived it. And to be an instrument of God's love by being there for those people I helped as a volunteer.

My book club at church is reading a great 2 part book, "Quadratos" by Alexander Shaia. He coined the word to represent the tranformative power of the gospels when studied in a distinct order...not just as the biograpghy of Jesus, as we currently do in church. He's got a web site, too, if you'd like to check it out.

So enjoy that beautiful sky, grab your purse and listen for opportunity knocking at your door!

Marlen Forbes
5/12/2009 04:04:00 pm

Thank you Marcia for your wonderful nuggets of wisdom coming from personal experience when you yourself had no job. I feel the same peace, then ensuing anxiety and restlessness when one's resources start dwindling. The challenge our alumnae has is that we are interdependent; that we are here to share each other's stories; touch each other's lives; in the hope of strengthening and affirming and reassuring the weak and the lonely and the challenged to stand firm again. This all in the spirit of "Assumption courage and humility and compassion".
Each trial speaks to others about God reaching out to others to help us out and likewise to learn to help others when they too are in need.
The Assumption spirit of caring for the less fortunate has always been ingrained in us that we are blessed to take it upon ourselves to take projects for communities that need help. This is Mother Eugenie's vision of a making a difference. Each day that I am not working I see all the reasons to rest. Like you I am volunteering to meet new people, and I am spendiing time with my husband who is retired of which I could not do so since my job was so intensely sales driven. Now we are enjoying so many trips together, even more time in the patio entertaining guests. It's the ordinary things we miss like the awareness of the sky and the flower to admire. Our senses are now intensified.
More than anything else I spend less time being jodgmental and more excited to learn about new things, new books, new places, new places. What an exciting new life. Back to basics.
Thanks Marcia for your sharing. I spend time going to church to find time to meditate too. Then I will figure out what God will want me to do job wise.'
No worries. No fears. Because I have made the decision to just give my all to Our Lord. He knows more than anyone what is best for me. On that note how can I be anxious about anything?

Marlen Forbes
5/21/2009 07:06:38 pm

Sharing this poem I particularly love and is so appropriate for all of us:
When the disappointments come, when you've been knocked down and tossed around, get back up and move on ahead. After all, you've paid a heavy price to get this far, so the best option is to really make it count by moving forward from where you are.
When everything has happily gone your way, and you're sitting on top of the world, get back up and move on ahead. Make your accomplishments truly count by putting them to positive, productive use.
Whatever comes your way, whether good or bad, whether joyous or disappointing get back up and move on ahead. It is aloways the best response. Feeling smug and arrogant after a victory will drain the value out of what you have just accomplished.
Whatever has happened, don't spend too long looking backward. Look forward, step positively, confidently forward, and move on ahead.

Marlen Forbes
6/6/2009 04:57:12 pm

Just arrived from our trip to Seattle to attend my brother in law's memorial service. It went so smoothly. Event the weather cooperated with us, considering how Seattle can be known for their gloomy, drizzly, partly cloudy days.
Each time I attend a wake or a memorial service I convinced that "the way we die and the way we are remembered is a measure of how we lived". My brother in law lived 71 years on earth and had 1 1/2 hours of time for his family and friends to share about the highlights of his character, accomplishments, and personality. That's it. 1 1/2 hours! to end the chapter of his life. While it ended with the french horn tap music and hearts warmed with affection and laughter for the person he was. How blessed I was to have known my brother in law Dave.
Now back home I want to continue to feel the love I felt that day and remember life is worth living. Why worry over household chores, an irritating person or incident, a failure, being laid off, getting sick, losing a loved one, etc. Everything has its own place and time. God gives us the grace to handle them and thank God for this amazing grace. I always remind myself not to "sweat the small stuff".
It's not how people will remember us but how God will remember us when we meet Him.

Mary Strobbe (Meiners)
6/10/2009 02:35:34 pm

I have been thinking about you lately and desirous of learning how you are doing.

Sister Loretto
6/12/2009 04:49:15 am

My dear Marilen - thanks to Lily T. T.
I have access to your blog... what a beautiful page/s in life ... yours is being written now... I will go over all that you have written so far... God bless you for your rich faith and spirituality! love and prayers,
Mother Loretto. Am so happy to see you all last Feb. for my jubilee celebration.

6/25/2009 07:37:17 am

Here are a few links that I'd like to share with those who are currently unemployed: actually is an excellent job search engine site as it pulls jobs from all other jobsearch sites including: monster,dice,careerbuilder etc...

Also here is a site that provides free WEB Developer tutorials.

Looking forward to more blogs Marlen.

6/25/2009 08:20:55 am

I'd like to share a great job search engine link. It pulls jobs from many other engines. Makes it very easy.

Looking forward to reading your BLOG.

Marlen forbes
6/26/2009 10:41:38 am

Michael Jackson's death is another confirmation that life is fragile.
Continue to live well and live full.
Farrah Fawcett's fearless, relentless battle with cancer was representative of many cancer patients I know of. When you are a cancer patient you have no time to be fearful.
Life is beautiful. Live full!

Marlen Forbes
7/2/2009 06:24:22 pm

Today is an ordinary day turned extraordinary. Without any expectations but full of hope I went through a series of interview sessions with a prospective employer. The interviews went very well. It was wise I had no hidden agenda or preconcieved ideas coming into the sessions. Neither did the interviewers. The job offer was a total surprise. The process of going through the interviews was enough for me to know my self esteem was lifted. I can relate to all those who have lost their jobs. Just one interview session is encouraging enough to motivate us not to lose hope. To think I got another offer for an interview when I got home from another company. "When it rains, it pours." I prefer to say "Let go and let God."

Marlen Forbes
7/5/2009 06:19:13 pm

My sister told me her co worker who had also been laid off called feeling low and it reminded me how many unemployed people are also feeling anxious, depressed, hopeless most of all. The chance to have an interview like I did last week was very uplifting.It makes one feel worthwhile again. It may not be our fault to have been laid off but psychologically it does way heavily on many of those I have met who are looking for jobs. They look sad, are depressed and feel isolated. God bless them all!
I keep saying to myself...Faith, Hope, Trust. So when you meet someone who just got laid off give them a hug, invite them for coffee, listen to them, ask them what they need. You will be surprised what ministry you can start these days. It is the sign of the times!

Marlen Forbes
7/16/2009 03:34:15 am

Every day I find out someone has lost a job. My sister says when things do not seem to be in sync then a "correction" has to be made. Almost like an alignment. Our society needs some kind of an alignment of values, change of lifestyle and priorities. The economic crises we are in is the sign of our overindulgence.
As I continue to search for a new way of livelihood I am in the fortunate stage of soul-searching and time to spend time for myself and my family.
I hope those you have a job will find the balance they need in their lives and those who are unemployed to find peace and hope for a new and better life.

7/18/2009 01:42:05 am

Thank you for your Blog. I survived a second layoff at my company. I thought for sure I was going to get cut because we were called in a week before and was informed that there will be cuts. No additional information was provided to us. The waiting was excruciating. I needed to move to a different city for my kids so that they can go to a better school district and I had to put that on-hold. My friends supported me during this time. Luckily my job was not eliminated and I was able to make the move for the sake of my children's education. I felt real bad for those who were cut.

Thank you again for your Blog. It's really tough right now.

Leni Shinn
7/26/2009 07:34:27 am

Dear Marlen,

What a "beacon of light!" You're truly and inspiration to everyone.

Thanks for the "sunshine."

Leni Barretto Shinn

Vangie David - Leow
7/26/2009 09:57:09 pm

Vangie David - Leow
7/26/2009 10:12:09 pm

Good morning , Marlen - it's been many years , but I have a feeling I know who you are .

I could not resist looking into something I got in my email - about your blog. I've never been to or done anything with a blog - but yours is different.

Burden or blessings - it's matter of perspective .

I have to agree with you on this one. It basically encapsules the secret to happiness, contentment and serenity.
And it not only applies to those who have lost jobs.

It has to do with all that happens to us in this life time.

God sends us those opportunities to better ourselves with.

With those opportunities He gives us the gift of 'choice.'
When we surrender our self to Him and all He has planned for us - we make that choice.
The road to follow Him is not always easy - but based on my own experiences , on hind sight - it yielded the most satisfying results.

Every single experience that I can think of in the past; that I have , without hesitation asked God " why me ? why now ? why not someone else ? "

Today I remember the same experiences, and I say "Thank you. "

Because with prayer I exercised my choice.

And today I think to myself - thank God for giving me what I asked for OR Thank God He , in His wisdom did NOT grant my request ......... or I would have been in trouble.

What I am trying to say is that: when we find ourselves in the sea of trouble , call on God. He's always there.

It's easy to fall into feeling like a victim. But we are not. Not if we choose NOT to be victims.

We have the gift of choice: to see our current predicament as a burden, or wait to see why it is a blessing

I am still one of the lucky ones ( for now ) who are still employed.
Still , I thought that if you can take the time to set up your blog and share good positive thoughts , I can at least share some with you as well.

I include you in my daily prayers - so that every day, you will find the love of God always enfolding you .

Marlen Forbes
7/28/2009 06:07:57 am

Vangie...I know you of course. You are the friend of Marilu Dimson and Chel katigbak? Hope I am right.
You sound just like them.
Thank you for your words of encouragement.
The saying goies for every adversity we learn to be sympathetic and open to the needs of others who are also hurting. And the cycle continues. So adversity becomes a blessing in disguise. Thus, the title : Burdens or Blessings. I think it is Burdens and Blessings.

You are right that this blog applies to any circumstance and that we all share the same universal experiences. What is exciting is to see how we react to them. And that makes the difference. Some are limited by circumstances or needs or by choice. Others are just driven to rise above their adversities.

When Leni and Lily expressed in the blog that I am a "beacon of light" I was drawn to a passage of "being salt and light of the earth". This I know is a gift God has given me to share with everyone. I know I could not do it without His grace, His light.

On a lighter note: For all those who have lots of downtime while job hunting or are recuperating from an illness, both of which I have the "honor" to experience ....I have been learning to cook better while watching more foodnetwork shows, decluttering my closet (of shoes and clothes!! and handbags), volunteering for a favorite nonprofit organization, lunching out with old and new friends, learning to knit again, making knitted hats for chemo patients, spending time with family, more prayer and exercise time, and most of all sleeping in when i feel like it! Am I making all you hardworking friends envious? (chuckle)

Have a great day now. God loves you with burdens or blessings. Just as you are.

7/29/2009 08:25:34 am

Marlen - I just found out from Marivic you were laid off. Reading all these blogs from you & your friends - what a blessing. You sound so upbeat & very good spirit because of your deep faith & trust. I'm continually praying for you, friends & other souls in my dept. who had been laid off.

Marlen Forbes
7/31/2009 12:19:55 pm

Elma- thanks for your prayers. My friends and I need spiritual support. I keep thinking our society not only need ministry for the sick but now ministry for the laid off. I am thinking of asking my parish priest to see how many are laid off in our parish. We are the displaced. People seem to feel uncomfortable getting in touch with those who are laid off not knowing what to say or offer. It is like one who is sick. I have experienced now both trials. Burdens can be blessings. It all depends on the perspective.
When I feel insecure, despondent, confused for the next step in my journey to find my next career I just say "take it one day at a time".
That's all I can control, right?
Thanks for the prayers again.

Marlen Forbes
8/6/2009 08:55:55 am

Well, I just had the gene testing for cancer. Results won't be in for about a week. It is good to find out if I carry the cancer gene for future reference. Have been referred to others suffering from cancer and having battled cancer I can empathize with these new friends. The bright side is a friend gave me a referral of a salon that is offering free facial for cancer patients. There are generous people that lift those who are needy after all. I feel so blessed today. Burdens or blessings anyone?

Lourdes Odette Aquitania Ricasa
8/9/2009 04:48:02 am

My daughter who is 41 years old was recently diagnosed with breast cancer on the left side on July 17, 2009.
The mastectomy was operated surgically sucesfuly, it was in the early stages of cancer. The lymph nodes were clear. The long battle is the chemotherapy that will follow so that the chances of cancer will not spread. Let us all pray that she will be cancer free. We appreciate all your prayers. Odette Ricasa class '65

Marlen Forbes
8/9/2009 04:39:20 pm

Dear Lourdes,

I too had my breast cancer on the left side. I am glad your daughter had chosen to have the mastectomy surgery. And more promising is that her lymph nodes were clear! Mine were 2 our of 19 positive. But now in 6 1/2 years the battle was worth fighting for.
The chemotherapy is not as devastating as everyone thinks. It is first of all the sure way to "KILL the ABNORMAL, ANGRY cancer cells" that are in the body. When you look at it that way it becomes like "botox". What you need to prepare for your daughter is this:
a) drink lots of ginger tea (salabat) starting now(even before the treatment)...It is for the digestive system to be clear of toxins and to be calm and when chemo drugs are in the system the ginger will be calming to the system. THIS HELPS A LOT. Also ginger snaps. Also, good for nausea.
b)go to the dentist to be checked for gums, teeth decay and ask for a rinse. That way there is no infections. The dentist will guide her. The saliva will be dry and the rinse my dentist gave me helped my mouth not get sores.
c)I had a personal spiritual director.
Fr. Corcoran heard my confession before every chemo session. He blessed me and also I had bottles of water blessed. This was the only water I drank when I had my chemo sessions. (This was a secret then but I think it is worth sharing now). The spiritual support was so important in my healing.
d) Make sure your daughter and your family surround yourself ONLY with positive people. PERIOD. I personally avoided negative comments and was more happy to be best friends with my doctor and nurses. The latter will be her best friends for life. My nurses to this day are my source of strength and angels of hope. Your daughter will know what I mean.
e) Do not serve salads or food that are not cooked while having chemo. And avoid crowds (even in churches). Contact with people is not helpful since one's immune system is not as strong. I heard mass at home on tv and had a eucharistic minister bring communion for me everyday.
Well, this is all for now. This is my email address:
Feel free to have your daughter write me. I hope I meet you at the retreat.
I will call the Carmelites to pray for you all.
Six years ago I was devastated and cried for nights knowing I had to undergo surgery and chemo yet now I have the grace to be a cancer health advocate. God's ways are not our ways. He sure knew I could "cross that bridge of pain and suffering" so I could "share my love and empathy" to others like me too. So help me God.
Love and Hope, Marlen

Lourdes Odette Aquitania Ricasa
8/10/2009 12:20:49 am

Thank you, thank you and thank you, Marlen for all the tips. God has chosen
you to be an Advocate of cancer. With all prayers, we will all have positive thoughts that God has an answer to our prayers. Indeed there is hope, there
is a candle that blows at the end of the tunnel. God bless and peace be with you. I will look for you on Sat.
Aug. 15.

P.s. Thank you to Lily Tanka too. She was very thoughtful and kind and
called my attention to go to our blog.

Marivic Angala-Valdes
8/10/2009 11:43:40 am

Six months after I was given a clear result from my annual mammogram/sonogram, I felt a lump on my right breast. The results of the biopsy took some time because they had to send it for 2nd & 3rd opinions to specialist in Cornell/Weill. In the meantime, the radiologist that did my biopsy, wanted to check on another lump behind the first one. The second lump turned out to be the cancerous one. I was diagnosed with DCIS 2 yrs ago, had my double mastectomy in Nov 2007 and had my reconstruction in May 2008.
I strongly believe that there is a PLAN, not mine, but our Lord's plan. I consider the first lump that I felt to be a blessing. I cannot list all the blessings that I have been given since that important time of my life. But, things do happen for a reason. I do not question things as much now. I just know that God is there to guide me and show me the way. Keep your faith and stay strong and positive....count your blessings.

Marlen Forbes
8/10/2009 03:21:49 pm

Hi Marivic.
How are you sis? Your courage and faith is a gift. We both share the same experiences of pain, suffering, fear, anguish, and hope and love. I am sure you too know the value of family, friendship and humor. We forget to laugh even at ourselves like when I lost my hair and with double mastectomy I had now the choice to be "Dolly Parton or Minnie" "D or AA" anyone?
So funny.
And yes, we do count many blessings. Even those that don't look like it.

Marlen Forbes
8/11/2009 06:48:59 pm

A friend shared a website for those who may want to save on groceries
Check out their website

Am starting a walking program and starting a routine of sleeping before midnight. (Am a nightowl)

Vangie David - Leow
8/22/2009 07:09:07 pm

Hello Marlen,

It's been a while, and I see that interim there has been a wonderful 'sharing' that went on.
How are you feeling today ?
Are you in Manila or in the States?

Anyway, I see that you are a night owl.
I am the opposite. I wake up at the crack of dawn , and I am so ready to get 'going.'

Good thoughts for sharing :
God has planted seeds of abundance in our heart.
He send us people in this lifetime, to carry us through, help us with our burdens, as we move forward with everyone else.
By the same token, he also brings into our lives - those who, in whose lives, we can make a difference.

Through kindness and prayers - we can move each day more powerfully, and keep each other company as we each head towards our God determined destination - which is back to Him.

I join you in prayers every day.


Marlen Forbes
9/21/2009 05:21:23 am

I have been slacking off writing in this blog. Of course I have no excuses other than spending time job hunting, interviewing, job hunting, and more job hunting. And in the meantime spending much time knitting scarves and shawls. This started as a hobby that is now a full blown addiction that easily makes me have many sleepless nights. So if you want a great therapeutic hobby that surpasses meditation and contemplation and centering prayer time (!!!) try knitting.
That's all for today.
Am going to Manila tomorrow night to visit my parents who are still well (feel blessed about that) and attend the birthday of my grandmother's sister who will turn 100 years old. She is Mrs. Villegas who was the dentist in Assumption College.

Marlen Forbes
10/7/2009 06:41:06 pm

Have been in the Philippines in the past 2 weeks. Arrived 2 days before Ondoy hit us. It was a shock to experience the flooding i.e. my family was not personally affected but we know so many people who had to move up to the 2nd floor or climb to the rooftops and be rescued by helicopters or rubber boats. The resilience of the Filipino people is so amazing. People still smiling and normally going through their lifestyle...Bravo for Filipinos!

11/5/2009 02:31:46 pm

I would like to comment. Many Filipinos (fellow Assumptionistas) responded to the cry for help. About 60 balikbayan boxes alone was shipped from S. California c/o AAAA-SC, FOREX (Carino family), Guila Maramba, and Enid Sevilla.

Mabuhay ang mga PILIPINO!!!

Marlen Forbes
11/7/2009 01:56:00 am

It is almost 9 months since I was laid off. I never thought I would survive this "forced change" and yet I am so grateful for this new life. I advice those who have lost their jobs to first:
A) start a daily journal: write your feelings; make a list of things to do for yourself (eg. a facial you could never have when you worked); a list of projects you want to do for your home (eg. organize your closet/garage/ declutter; check areas that need small remodeling jobs; a list of tasks to do when finding a job (eg. reading want ads,going online, networking with old friends).
It is important to set a time each day when finding a job. This helps one feel accomplished and avoid getting frustrated and lead one to be depressed.
B.) Volunteer in a nonprofit organization or a place of interest like a school where your children work. I have heard people find jobs that way as they are interacting with people.
C.) Look for time to spend with your family and make time to cook good meals for your spouse and children because once you are working again you will find less time to cook full meals.
D.) Call old friends; reconnect with old coworkers. Another source of networking.
E.) Join an association in church or civic organization. Another source of networking.
F.) Call your credit card companies. Tell them you are unemployed and make arrangements of paying minimum with no interest b(they call this a hardship program).
G.) If resources available travel to visit family you could not see for some time. Spend good time with them.
Now, happy living. Good job hunting.

I still am finding that perfect job (for my lifestyle and medical status and meanwhile I am enjoying the present!

Marlen Forbes
1/4/2010 12:22:27 pm

Happy New Year

Let's all be present to the moment and embrace all the goodness life has to offer for us: love, beauty, peace, joy and blessings.

In this new year it is good to start simplifying one's life by decluttering one' possessions, prioritizing one's goals, making wise lifestyle decisions to live simpler i.e. choose right friends, less conflicting activities.

Marlen Forbes
6/22/2010 03:24:19 am

Well, 7 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer and time went by so fast.
Since I have not been working for the last 16 months I decided to spend my free time volunteering for the American Cancer Society at their Discovery Shop. It has been one of the best decisions I have made yet. To give back is the best feeling for anyone who has been receiving so much healing, blessings, graces from God, family, and medical staff. I love my oncology nurses Pam and Vicky. They are my personal heroes.
To those who are undergoing medical issues: take time to take care of yourself: napping, eating your favorite food without guilt, spending time with your best girlfriend on the phone or watching a movie, reading a thriller book, calling your parents to just say you love them....and on and on.....pray, eat, and laugh!
Have a great day!

6/24/2010 04:20:18 pm

Hi Marlen,
Am glad you are enjoying your stint at the American Cancer Society. That's awesome. I hope you don't mind but I've been spreading your BLOG link around. Your strength and attitude is amazing.

Keep writing!


Marlen Forbes
6/25/2010 10:18:54 am

Hi Lily.
Want to check about Candy your schoolmate?
Maybe she wants to be a prayer angel.

Thanks for being my promo agent.

8/24/2010 05:57:35 pm

Hi Marlen,
Just returned from Manila. I did get in touch with Candy through FACEBOOK.
Thank you for the suggestion. Prayer Angel Candy is now part of the Assumption Prayer Brigade/Group.

All the glory and honor is God's!


Mary Strobbe
12/1/2010 04:17:21 pm

No posts since June concerns me as to your status. I hope it means you are busy at work and all the other wonderful things you do for others.

I had the shock of my life on Dec 7 this past year. Life is so precious and so special. Embrace every minute of joy you have.

1/2/2011 08:42:33 am


I am the webmaster of this AAAASC website. Marlen would like prayers from everyone. She is undergoing a month long treatment program at St. John's hospital in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California BUT that did not stop her from being thankful to God for providing for her. She also attended the annual Christmas party of AAAASC. Check out the Photo Gallery on this site. You will find Marlen in photos of the 2010 Christmas Party of 2010.


Mary Strobbe
7/29/2011 12:38:05 pm

I have neglected looking at this site for some time and I see such a lot of missing time, I am concerned. How did the treatment go for Marlen?
How is she doing now?
Please let her know I think about her and send the most positive of vibes her way

12/18/2011 05:44:01 am

Marlen is requesting prayers. There is a recent development and is undergoing chemotherapy. As always she is our hero. She continues to work and inspire all of us.

6/16/2013 03:19:03 am

Hello Marlen's friends,
It's been sometime per Marlen. It's June 2013
Marlen is so grateful for all the prayerful and healing thoughts. She will be undergoing 3 weeks of radiation therapy after a successful MRI 2 weeks ago. She beams with gratitude. She appeals for more prayers and thanks the Lord for His blessings and graces.

Marlen Meer Forbes
6/16/2013 02:12:13 pm

It has been since 2009 that I have opened this blog. Too many things have happened. I had radiation in Dec. 2009 in the neck and it was successful. It was a month in Sta. Monicas St. John Health Center. My husband Bruce and cousin Binky Garcia were with me all the way. My cousin even flew in from Wash. DC to give me support. I can say always that God gives you the right resources each time we go through a trial. The challenges become opportunities for others to reach out and help His children. It is so awesome to witness God's love each trial I have gone through.
I am happy to say the radiation was successful.
I shall stop here till the next time. I think this is a new beginning blog message. You shall hear from me again very soon.

Marlen Forbes
6/16/2013 02:20:39 pm

Thanks Lily for your wonderful announcement for the Assumption community to pray for me.
I have been amiss not writing in this blog since 2009. Time flies.
In 2009 I had to have radiation in the neck and after a month in Sta. Monica I have to say that the treatment was successful,
My husband and cousin Binky Garcia (another Assumptionista) was with me all along to give me support. So was Ching Hocson.
I stayed at a nice cottage and found time to heal with family and friends in such a beautiful city like Sta. Monica. God even knows how to provide resources when we are challenged: support, nice place to stay, great doctors and nurses care.
Then I travelled to the PI to visit my parents and siblings. Had 3 months of rest and fun with family and friends. Nothing better than good Filipino food and help all around you.In 2010 I was hired by my old boss to work at Bloomingdales and this is where I still am in 2013. God just knew when I could start working again and what I needed for my financial, social, emotional needs too. If we just listen to the messages and signs He sends all the challenges and trials we experiences will be opportunities to find His presence in our lives. I have so much to share but this is for starters. I am still blessed to be an Assumptionista and have so many prayer angels praying for me and my family.
I shall continue my blog in the next day. Please pray for me since I am starting 3 weeks of radiation in another part of my body. It is a serious setback but none God cannot help and support me with His graces. See you again in my blog.

Marlen Forbes
6/18/2013 12:24:02 pm

It is the 2nd day of treatment and I feel better. I have to say each day I receive a gift from an acquaintance, reminding me I am not alone in my journey of healing. The first day I found out I was going to have radiation a co worker commented that I was a blessing to her and that God had told her "Marlen is going through the wringer but see she is still smiling at Me" Smiling at the Lord inspite of the circumstances. I was so touched by her message and we just hugged. Then another co worker gave me a cuff bracelet that I was admiring from her and was surprised to receive it since she and I were just buddies but not that close. I "heard" a voice inside me say "the bracelet is a reminder God will hold on to you when you are going through this trial. Wow. What a beautiful way to be uplifted. God is so wise and knows exactly what we need to be comforted and consoled. Then another day a lady in church just handed me a medal of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal. My favorite Lady. How did she know? God only knew. And today I received from another co worker who happens to eat lunch with me once in a while at the nook and she handed me a medal of the Divine Mercy! What a gift. What gifts to receive as signs God is with me.
This is just how God works in our lives whether it is a trial or joy we are facing. I can only say sharing this gives me so much faith and strength knowing I am not alone in all this.
I pray for each one of them who gave these gifts because in some way they really did not know my real situatiion since they were just acquaintances. But God is no stranger to us. At least I can count on Him in all this. Good night now. Today is a better day then yesterday's first treatment. Thanks for your daily prayers.

Marlen Forbes
6/18/2013 12:25:32 pm

It is the 2nd day of treatment and I feel better. I have to say each day I receive a gift from an acquaintance, reminding me I am not alone in my journey of healing. The first day I found out I was going to have radiation a co worker commented that I was a blessing to her and that God had told her "Marlen is going through the wringer but see she is still smiling at Me" Smiling at the Lord inspite of the circumstances. I was so touched by her message and we just hugged. Then another co worker gave me a cuff bracelet that I was admiring from her and was surprised to receive it since she and I were just buddies but not that close. I "heard" a voice inside me say "the bracelet is a reminder God will hold on to you when you are going through this trial. Wow. What a beautiful way to be uplifted. God is so wise and knows exactly what we need to be comforted and consoled. Then another day a lady in church just handed me a medal of Our Lady of Miraculous Medal. My favorite Lady. How did she know? God only knew. And today I received from another co worker who happens to eat lunch with me once in a while at the nook and she handed me a medal of the Divine Mercy! What a gift. What gifts to receive as signs God is with me.
This is just how God works in our lives whether it is a trial or joy we are facing. I can only say sharing this gives me so much faith and strength knowing I am not alone in all this.
I pray for each one of them who gave these gifts because in some way they really did not know my real situatiion since they were just acquaintances. But God is no stranger to us. At least I can count on Him in all this. Good night now. Today is a better day then yesterday's first treatment. Thanks for your daily prayers.

6/19/2013 12:43:53 pm

OH Marlin,
YOU are really my hero ---- especially when I think back to your call to ACS. It was G-Ds way of having us meet !!!
You will get through this too.
I'm SO proud of you :)
You are in my thoughts and prayers daily !!
I love you my dear friend !!!

6/18/2013 02:47:45 pm

Hi, Marlen;

Glad to hear you are feeling better after two days of radiation treatment. And what a beautiful, inspirational account of special gifts appearing from unexpected places!! I agree with you, these gifts are God's gentle way of confirming for you (if you ever doubted it) His loving presence during these challenges. Thank you for sharing it with us. I continue to keep you in my prayers every day and look forward to your speedy recovery.

Marlen Forbes
6/19/2013 02:03:21 am

You are so wise dear friend. I always love hearing your words of wisdom. I am so in tune with the universe, with my body, mind, and spirit, with God that I see so much beauty and awed by its mysteries. I am on my 3rd round of treatments and I look forward to the zapping of those dreaded cancer cells,. Dead they are now.
I am so full of Gods love through everyone.
Have a great day and find love in all. In all.

Marlen Forbes
6/19/2013 02:05:44 am

Thanks Marcia for your kind words of love and wisdom most of all. You are a wise friend. I am embracing every pain and every encouragement as a sign of my love for God and everyone.
It sounds big but it is a simple lesson on true and pure love.

6/28/2013 05:57:46 pm

Hello, Marlen! I've been thinking of you and wondering how you are doing.

The weather here has turned incredibly hot and is forecast to stay hot for the next week. I hope it's nicer where you are. All I want to do is stay in the house and eat mangoes!

6/29/2013 01:10:23 am

Mangoes sounds good and a fresh cool coconut juice.
Are you going to the retreat? By the way check out the 2013 blog ....Lily made a new one for me.
I am fine just fatigued sometimes. I work short hours and nap when I can on days off. So I can't complain. I see better now and the treatments are working. Thanks to the technology, to doctors, and prayers.

6/29/2013 02:35:12 pm

I'm just fatigued sometimes, too, and really appreciate being able to nap. When I was working I never did that but some of my coworkers would nap in their cars during lunch break. In retrospect I probably should have done that instead of going to a restaurant and having a big lunch!

Glad the treatments are working for you! I'll look for that new blog.


joanne young
4/27/2015 02:01:58 pm

Where are you ? I miss you so !!! Are you doing ok? You are my inspiration, my dear friend !!
Love to you and to Bruce
You're in our thoughts and prayers ---- always !!!

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