The Birthday Blog

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First of December 2016 selfie

Dear Diary,

So, I am turning 27 again in a couple of days.

I can imagine my friends shaking their heads no… but hey, it is my birthday. Indulge me.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been complaining that my back has been hurting and my neck and shoulder muscles have been pretty tight and stiff. I think it’s stress related. Now I am realizing that this normally happens to me whenever December comes and my birthday is nearing. Getting another year older stresses me out somewhat.

Getting older means having wrinkles, eyebags with baby bags and skin that won’t defy gravity. It is also about that extra five pounds that just won’t go away but easily manages to double after a drink of mocha or a bite of brownie. It’s about the body aches that you suddenly feel even after not really doing anything strenuous. Sometimes I am just sitting in the car and my neck will start hurting — and it’s not as if I craned it to take a selfie or something.  

Of course I don’t want to die young… but it’s the looking old, getting wrinkled and all part that bothers me. Maybe this is neurotic, but you know how vain I am, so the pain — and fear — are genuine.  

True beauty emanates from within. Maybe I should make that my mantra.

Excuse me as I get more expensive moisturizers and eye gels… Brb.

Love, Shallow Betsy ❤

❤ ❤ ❤

The Real Thing

So, I am celebrating my birthday in a couple of days. I think this is the perfect time to look back on the year that passed before I let it go and start another year…

As with the other years, this year I met new people, formed new friendships… only to see some friendships fizzle out even before the relationship can take off.

People really come and go. Some stay longer than others. Some stay as long as it’s convenient or you have something in common. Still there are others who just stay, regardless.  These are the ones you can call your real friends. 

I am thankful for my friends — whether old or new. They make life interesting and fun. The old ones keep me sane and grounded, while the new ones inspire me to be the best version of myself always (lest they change their minds and think that I am a flake, after all!). 

The past year was not devoid of challenges, frustrations and disappointments. And yet my God has always been faithful and He always came through for me.

I may not have had all the things that I wanted, but this year He gave me a desire of my heart. (Insert shameless plug of the book here: Twenty Years in Between, now available at Central Books AND Fully Booked!! Grab a copy now! 🙂 ) A childhood wish turned real. 

This year I learned that one is never too old to dream — or to go after a dream. Truly, the only one who can limit you is yourself. 

Indeed, I have so much to be thankful for. 

I thank God for my family and friends and for the love that they provide. I am thankful for good health — especially that of my parents’ and I pray that they will have many more years of being active and happy.

I am thankful for the opportunities thrown my way that allow me to grow as a person. I am thankful for the skills and talents that I possess (Here’s to more write ups, blogs and selfies…).

I am thankful that I look the way I do (Gorgeous, according to my brainwashed besties) … Though if God will make me miraculously lose several more pounds, I will be more thankful. 😉

I am thankful that every day I am protected and I have angels all around me.

I am thankful that God guards my heart and that though it sometimes breaks, experiences hurts and pains, it doesn’t remain broken and bitter because Someone up there keeps it whole and happy. 

Surely the blessings far outweigh the bad times. And I can’t help but be expectant of more good things in the year to come. 

Joy — like true beauty –emanates from within

Here’s to another joyous and beautiful year ahead. Happy 27th birthday to me… 🙂  

❤ ❤ ❤

photo credit: Selfie belongs to me!!

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No.Internet.Connection

The first thing I do when I wake up on a normal weekday morning is to go to my corner in the living room, play worship songs on YouTube using my iPad, then open my Bible app and read verses. 

After quiet time, I go and check my FB messenger to see if there were messages that came in middle of the night. After which I go and check my Yahoo mail for more messages. Then I go to my WordPress account to look at my blog stats. On some mornings I do online banking.

My best friend normally messages me early morning and on days when we are not rushing to go somewhere, we end up chatting online. Some mornings I chat with my person from LA, too. 

Eventually I will check my Facebook notifications and news feed and I will find out what’s happening in the world. I see pictures and get updated on previous day’s happenings… I will see sunrise photos from various places… I will find out what certain people had for breakfast… I will know the traffic situation.

I haven’t stepped out of the house — have not finished my first cup of coffee even — yet I will already know so much about what has transpired, and what is currently transpiring, in the outside world.

I am just so connected.

***

My plan for today was to stay home and write. I planned to blog. I also planned to write another article for an online publication.  

I have been out a lot lately, thanks to all the Christmas shopping and get-togethers, that I haven’t had the chance to write much. So last night, I promised myself that today, I will just stay home and write.

I will drink lots of coffee and I will blog. I will blog about my upcoming birthday and how the thought of getting another year older stresses me out.

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Writer Me

I had it all planned. It will be a quiet “writer’s day” for me.  Even my YouTube playlist is all planned and ready.

***

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was to check my mails. Couldn’t connect. Hmm. Something must be wrong with the network. I tried to access YouTube. Nothing. Facebook Messenger. No internet connection. Hmm. That’s weird. I was online ’til before midnight last night…

I checked my cellphone. No signal. Goodness, what is happening?? I can’t send messages online, nor can I send text messages using my cellphone.

I felt so cut-off from the outside world and I was getting destabilized. How will I upload my blog? How will I message my friends?? How will I listen to my worship songs?? I CAN’T even access my iPad Bible!! 😦

As I felt the panic starting to rise from within, it then dawned on me that — uhm, I forgot to pay for our phone and internet bill which was due last Friday.  Because of the hustle and bustle of the season — and yes, with all the shopping and lunches that I have been doing, I completely forgot to pay my bills. Ergo, my internet got cut.

My cellphone signal is another issue altogether. I think it was really just weak. In my case, dead. 

It wasn’t even 6:30am, yet I was already frazzled. Not exactly a pleasing sight on an early Monday morning.

***

I was on the verge of a tantrum. I wanted to kick myself for being forgetful and I wanted to curse the cellphone network to high heavens for having weak signal. I was seriously contemplating throwing my cellphone away. 

And then I caught myself… and I stopped.

A voice in me asked, How difficult would it be to last a morning without gadgets… without the internet… without wi-fi?  Is it really that bad?

Gadgets vs Old-school

Sure, I said I’ll write… But I can write the draft first on a pad paper. I have always liked writing my thoughts long hand before transferring them to the computer, anyway. I enjoy seeing my erasures.

I don’t really need my Bible app since I have my old reliable Bible that I can open and read. Plus, I don’t think the earth will stop spinning if I don’t get to text or chat with my friends in the morning… Nor will I miss out on a lot of things if I don’t get to check Facebook.

And I can always sing worship songs a capella…

Perhaps a few hours of disconnect will do me good. 

Maybe a few hours gadget-free and without social media will give me the peace that I need. 

It is quite liberating when you think about it.

***

shopping

Favorite past time…

I ended up spending the rest of the morning doing more Christmas shopping with my mom (yey!) while I asked someone to settle my phone bills. My mom and I even met up with my sister for lunch. My day of recluse was instead spent with family, with actual conversations happening face to face. 

When I got home mid-afternoon, I noticed that my internet has been reconnected. I did not rush to check anything online, though. Instead I fixed the gifts that I bought, and I talked to my best friend on the phone. 

The online world probably did not miss me… which was okay since I was busy living life in the real world.

The day was light and easy, gadget-free. It was a good day after all.

Tomorrow, I will write my birthday blog. 🙂 

barbie-bday

the Betsy cake 🙂

***

photo credits: Writer, shopping and Barbie cake photos via google images

Countdown to the big XL

this has NOTHING to do with my figure.

In case you are wondering what’s that Countdown to the Big Day widget that I placed there at the bottom right part of this site, well, basically I am counting the days ’til I turn XL years old  (I hope you know your Roman Numerals…)

Why I am doing the countdown… I really don’t know!  If you read a previous post  (Life begins at —) then you would know how paranoid I am about getting old(er).  But then, since it’s inevitable — unless I want to die young, which I have NO intention of doing — then I decided that I might as well embrace the fact that I am about to get another year older, and I am entering a new decade age-wise.

***

The days just go by so very fast.  Can’t believe that in a few months time, it will be December once again.  I have been hearing Christmas songs being played in the mall.  Soon it will be my birthday… then Christmas… then we’ll be welcoming the new year.  Where has 2012 gone?

The other day I asked myself, if there was no baseball to keep me busy, what would I be doing?  What is it that I would want to spend my time on?  Something that will make me grow as a person… as an individual?

Much as I have grown to love baseball, baseball is not about me.  It’s about my son — and maybe my husband even.  But not me.  I am only there as a mother, a cheerleader and an avid supporter.  In the movie of our baseball life, I play but a supporting role.  Basically, it’s not MY movie.

MY Movie

A lot of times I have kept myself so busy playing hero-support that I lose track of the things I want to accomplish for myself, by myself.  I forget to give myself the chance to play heroine in my own movie.

But then again, what do I want to do?

Offhand, these are the things I can think of:

I promise I will write more…

1)  Write more.  Not just blog more, but contribute regularly to various magazines.  Though I have lost touch with my editors from before — most of them have switched jobs, anyway — I am probably pestering other editors to assign topics for me to write about if I were still in the loop.

2)  Charity work.  For the past five or so years, I have been sponsoring a small community up north.  I send  children’s books and school supplies to their daycare center before the schoolyear starts, Christmas gifts and grocery items in December, and sometimes financial help during the in-between months. But I feel there’s so much more I can do for them.  Maybe I should start with visiting them so we can all meet each other in person. Maybe I should step out of my comfort zone and BE with people, share my time and presence with them.

childhood dream

3)  Travel.  Travel to see new places… to shop… to relax. My last several trips were all baseball related.  I miss going places without all the baseball-tournament-related-stress.  I want to go back to France and maybe go to Italy, as well.  I have always, always wanted to ride a gondola in Venice…

4)  Fix the guest room. Fix my files. Fix my bookshelvesDiscard the things I don’t need.  We’ve been in  our house for only two and a half years, but my guest room already looks like a storage room,  my files/papers/bills are everywhere but in the filing cabinet and my bookshelves are in a total state of chaos.  I know I need to MAKE time to fix all those.  I have to start somewhere.  The spirit is willing… but the patience isn’t quite there…

my dream bookshelf

5)  REALLY make an effort to lose that 5lbs I have so wanted to get rid of.  Wishing for it to go away won’t work.  I know because I have wished hard enough… and long enough.  Didn’t work.

wishing away…

6)  Still look XXX when I turn XL.  Okay, so this is so lame!  Indulge me.  A girl can dream.

7)   Make a difference in someone’s life.  I don’t know who nor do I know how.  If you ask why, the answer is, “Just because.” 

Making a difference.
Just because.

***

Perhaps I should keep in mind all the things I mentioned above as I do my countdown. Rather than just waiting for the “big day” with me being no different from how I was when the countdown began, maybe I should at least attempt to work on ticking off something from that list.  There are only 7 items written anyway, so how difficult is that?

It will be very difficult if I won’t move my butt and step out of my comfort zone.  Yet it will also be very fulfilling if for the next three months I will make a conscious effort to at least do something for myself.

Challenge accepted.   Wish me luck!

**********

photos via google images. photo of gondola taken in Venice, Italy, borrowed from an old friend’s album…