Gratitude and Paying it Forward

I’m giving away a SIGNED Hardcover of Jessica Spotswood’s BORN WICKED. The contest will run until November 30th. To find out how you can win a copy click on this link.


Supertyphoon Haiyan hit the Philippines two and a half weeks ago, but news about the devastation wrought by the storm of the century continues to pour in. Every time I read a new article, or see new pictures of Tacloban City and the surrounding areas, I feel a fresh stab of pain for the survivors.

My martial arts school, Doce Pares was born in Cebu, one of the areas devastated by the storm. The roof of the Doce Pares Temple was blown away by 195 mph winds, but thankfully, most of the members back home were unharmed.


One of the many houses destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan in Guba, Cebu

Even while the temple is being repaired, Supreme Grandmaster Dionisio Canete has opened its doors to refugees who have fled from the ravaged city of Tacloban. The Eskrima temple, the Doce Pares headquarters and other facilities have been turned into makeshift relief centers.


Relief goods being packed at the Doce Pares Headquarters in Cebu

Doce Pares members from all over the world have each come up with their own fundraising events to help out. Here in Los Angeles, we’ve started Operation Payong (“umbrella”). We’re selling shirts to raise funds and gathering relief goods to send back home.

Doce pares la payong drive

In Cebu, members like Grandmaster Val use their own vehicles to deliver and distribute relief goods to villages who have yet to receive government help.

Grandmaster Val’s truck has turned into a mobile relief distribution center

Supreme Grandmaster Diony Canete, with the help of WEKAF (World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation) continues to help typhoon victims out using their own resources.


Supreme Grandmaster Diony Canete heading the relief operations

Aside from joining in the Doce Pares LA Fundraising operation here, and donating money to the typhoon relief operations via; I’m also trying to raise funds via my own nonprofit .

Story Sprouts Phillipine Ad-01 modified

We have decided to donate 50% of our sales from STORY SPROUTS: CBW-LA WRITING DAY EXERCISES & ANTHOLOGY, from November to January to help the typhoon victims back home.

Despite the fact that I am helping out in my own way, I still feel as if I haven’t done enough. The guilt is always going to be there, I suppose. It comes from knowing that I am living a good life while people back home are barely surviving.

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, I reflect on how lucky I am to be living the kind of life I have.  My job doesn’t pay well and has no benefits, but there are people out there who are unemployed and homeless. I have no health insurance, but that’s nothing compared to people who can’t even worry about they’re health because they’re too busy trying to survive.

Tragedy puts things into clear perspective.

It makes us more grateful for the things we have, and the life we lead. It strips away all our wants and desires, and makes us realize what’s really important.

And while it doesn’t make my problems go away, the tragedy back home has made my problems seem smaller.

As I worry about what to make for Thanksgiving lunch, I think about the people in Tacloban, Leyte, and Cebu who worry about where to get their next meal every day.  As I revel in the triumph of getting all my Christmas shopping done early, I think about the people back home who have triumphed over death in the face of a storm that has swept away half their loved ones.


Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. – John Milton

In light of this Thanksgiving season, I have vowed to maintain an “attitude of gratitude” every day of my life.  I will focus on all the good in my life, rejoice in every happy moment, and face each moment of despair with courage and hope.

I will strive to live my life to the fullest, and pass on this gratitude by living it in service of others however way I can.

Because the only way to truly be grateful, is to pay it forward.



*Special thanks to ladocepares for the pictures.

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10 Responses to “Gratitude and Paying it Forward”

  1. Nutschell, that’s a generous gift! I’ll help you spread the word about it. What t-shirts are you selling?

  2. Shelly says:

    Hi, Nut:

    Nice post today. I’ll spread this news as well.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  3. mooderino says:

    Smething like this certainly puts things in perspective. At the same time, the way people react at a time like this is a cause for hope.

  4. Nutschell,
    Thanks for sharing these pictures, Hard to imagine what the survivors are facing. I think organizing a fund raising counts as every little bit helps.

  5. Tonja says:

    I am surprised how little this has been on the news over the last couple of days. I love the idea of having an attitude of gratitude.

  6. This is a wonderful effort Nutschell. Hearing first hand experiences really brings it home.

  7. Akoss says:

    I agree with you and will try to help out anyway I can.
    Happy Thanksgiving.

  8. What a beautiful post! I agree that paying it forward is so important. It makes others feel better, and it makes us feel better too.

    Great job with your efforts! My heart goes out to those who are struggling each day to pick up the pieces of their lives after the massive destructive storms hit their area. So sad! I am looking for ways to help and this post was helpful. Thanks!

  9. Nicki Elson says:

    You can’t go wrong when you live a life of gratitude. Thanks for the inspiring words and for what you’re doing for the Philippines.

    The danger of being a giving person is the guilt because there is always more need out there, but DON’T feel guilty for the blessing you have. Enjoy them, you deserve them, and as you say, pay it forward, like you’re doing so generously with these efforts.

  10. Ella says:

    I can mention you on my next blog post! What a generous act-I know it seems never enough-but it does add up. I usually donate to the military who goes in with aid. I will have to check my local community to see what is being done…

    Your pay it forward is lovely!

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