In case you missed it…

college-graduation

Start of something new…

I wrote this piece for Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s online site brewyourbestyear.com just recently.  It’s something I wrote especially for this year’s graduating students. I thought of posting it here in my blog for the benefit of those who missed it. 

Read on and ponder… 

❤ ❤

Nuggets of Wisdom

Ahh, graduation.  It’s that time of year once again. A time to close another chapter of one’s life… a season ending.

It is during this time when parents listlessly ask, Where have the days gone? How did my child grow up so fast? Is he ready for the real world? While the students probably think to themselves, What is in store for me? What will life offer? Am I ready?

Don’t we sometimes wish that life comes with a guide book where we can find solutions to our problems or directions to follow so we can avoid getting into trouble or sticky and hurtful situations? Unfortunately, there’s no “Manual for an Easy and Perfect Life” available.

We learn from our own experiences.  We also learn from our peers. More so, we learn from our elders. We gain wisdom from the ones who went before us, simply because they have “been there” and yes, they have “done that.”

To the graduating students who are just about to go out into the real world, allow me to share some insights on life.  These are learnings that I have gathered through my years of having been there and having done that.  

Hopefully, these nuggets of wisdom can help guide you in this journey called real life…

Girlfriends

#Girlfriendsgoals

On Friendship

Friendships do not happen overnight. We all know that. It took days, maybe even months and years, for you to form a bond with your childhood, high school and college friends. I believe the same thing goes with people you will meet in the work place – or in the great ‘out there.’  Remember: Trust is earned.

Hold on to your old friends. You will meet new people. You will have new and exciting relationships. You may even not see your old friends for years.  Yet neither time nor distance can erase real friendships. Value the ones who were there when you were young, pure and innocent. They will remind you of who you really are, no pretensions needed, and they will love you just the same.

True friends are those who stick by you through thick or thin.

Not everyone can be your friend. So, you are Mr. or Ms. Congeniality… and yet there is someone who rubs you the wrong way. Or maybe you rub them the wrong way. It’s okay. You don’t have to be friends with everybody. But be nice.

brokenheart

People can sometimes break your heart…

On Dealing with People

People are not always appreciative so don’t expect them to be. You don’t have to please everybody.

You cannot expect everybody to always agree with you or think the way you do.  You don’t always have to agree with someone else’s opinion, but you can learn from the differences.  Besides, life will be boring if we all think the same way.

There will always be people who have a lot to say. The “know-it-alls.” They have something to say about you, about the government, about other people, about the weather. If you think and feel that what they say doesn’t do you any good, then by all means, shut them out. Constructive criticism is different from just plain criticism. Don’t let the negativity get to you.

Stay away from toxic, negative people.  They will suck the energy out of you. And check yourself, too. 

You cannot please everybody, help everybody, make everybody happy.  But being one person’s hero is enough.  Be that hero.

Happytobeme

I am the best Me

On Being the Best You

A person’s true character is revealed during difficult or trying times… not when things are good. The same applies to yourself, too.

You cannot buy breedingNor can you buy character.

Keep evolving. Is there a skill you want to learn? A hobby you want to begin? Then go for it. One is never too old to learn something new. You’ll be surprised at what you can actually accomplish if you just put your heart and mind to it. Don’t be afraid to surprise yourself.

Respect. Yourself. People. Their Belongings. Don’t be rude and self-absorbed. The amount of respect you expect from others is commensurate to the respect that you give.

It’s all about perspective.  When you feel like the world is closing in on you, step back a little.  Find a better view.  Breathe.  You may not be able to change the situation, but you can change your outlook.

Learn to forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we make small slip-ups, sometimes we do major tumbles and fall hard. When you do, don’t wallow nor condemn yourself. Own up to your faults, dust yourself off, then move on.

Learn to apologize. Know when to say sorry and know when to forgive. Be the bigger person.

Stick to your non-negotiables.  They define who you are.

Be kind.  A little kindness, a heartfelt smile, a generous act, selfless actions go a long way. Some people need to see light shining on them. Be that light.

In everything, give thanks.

Lastly, share yourself, share your wisdom. Share what you know. Allow others to learn from you.

As you get older you will realize that one of the best compliments that you will ever receive is when people say how proud and fortunate they are that you are in their lives and that you are indeed a blessing to them.

So, go and be that blessing. ❤ 

***

 

All photos were grabbed — or borrowed — from google images. Thank you clipart, Sex and the City, and Sesame Street.

Write up originally published at CBTL’s brewyourbestyear.com. You may find the original link here. For more of my write-ups on this site, please click : Betsy Gacutan-Ochosa

 

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Celebrity for a Day

20

Now on sale!!!

It was two weeks ago when I introduced in my blog my newly published book, Twenty Years in Between

After about a day and a half of all the hype (thanks to Facebook) things started going back to normal — meaning, the things I usually do/take care of/ get busy with, took the center stage once more. 

I almost forgot about the book… which wasn’t really so bad since I’m still summoning the nerve to advertise it.  

I have simple joys, really.  I am happy enough that I wrote and published a book (girly goal checked), and I am even happier that the people I love most have already seen and read it. 

I am so easy to please. 🙂

***

Since I have been quite busy these past couple of weeks, I never got the chance to write anything, or make a follow-up blog about my book.  

But then, of course, my biggest fan Up There knew I would be needing some assistance… so this happened:

brewyourbest

Brew Your Best Year 2016

I got featured in Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s web magazine, Brew Your Best Year, as one of their contributing writers.  

The site talked about me as a writer, my favorite works, and yes, it made mention of my new book! How cool is that?!

I am a shy writer, I really am… But it does feel good being featured every once in a while. It made me feel legit! Haha. Plus I enjoyed doing the photo shoot.  Loved it!

I felt like a celebrity for a day…or two. 😉

To my friends at Brew Your Best Year, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You guys rock! ❤

***

I promise to blog more about Twenty Years in Between soon. In the meantime, sharing this write up with you, my blog friends, so you’ll get to know me more: 

http://brewyourbestyear.com/community/betsy-gacutan-ochosa/

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,” – James 1:17 NKJV

*****

photos via author’s iPhone and brewph IG account. #writerswrite #cbtl #lovestory

Twenty Years in Between… the Love Story of Lizzie and Joseph by Betsy Gacutan-Ochosa ; Now available at CentralBooks Mega Mall and Lyceum Makati. Also available at http://www.central.com.ph online bookstore. Grab a copy now!

Storytelling time

north and south

I was a fan!!

Once upon a time…

The year was 1986. I was a sophomore in high school. There was a TV mini-series entitled North and South that I religiously followed.  It was based on a trilogy of novels written by author John Jakes.  I liked the mini-series so much that I “attempted” to write my own version of North and South (which I entitled, uhm, North and South…)

Using my dad’s typewriter, I would spend my nights typing away on blue typewriting paper (don’t ask why it’s blue… it just was blue!).  My version was a love story. It was about an heiress named Elizabeth who fell in love with stable boy Joseph. Okay, I am cringing now…

But hey, I think I was only 14 years old then — so what did I know about love stories?!

Only one friend of mine ever read that story.  Every time I would finish a “Chapter,” I would pass it on to her… and she would beg me to write some more. She was my best fan and worst critic. Well, she was my sole reader, so what did I expect. But she gave me the first push. She gave me reason to believe that my writing was good enough.

I don’t think I got past 5 chapters, though.  I think I ran out of ideas… and most likely I got busy being a teenager that I forgot about the story altogether. But one thing remained, though. I knew then that I loved writing and I loved telling stories.

I also knew that I would want to write – and publish – a book someday. A love story… Maybe a sappy one like my North and South… 🙂

It was a dream. It was a girly goal. 

***

Dreams don’t really die… some are just forgotten.  But they are still there with you, inside you.

When the right time comes and you realize that you still want to go after a long-forgotten dream, even the universe will conspire to help you achieve it.

journey 2

My inspiration

2014. I received handwritten letters from my best friend/cousin from the US.

For some reason, these gave me a storyline to start with and work on.

I told myself I was ready to take on the challenge. Told myself I would write that love story I have long been wishing/dreaming to write. 

And so the journey began…

So, what do writers need when they are to create a masterpiece? Of course I armed myself with the “tools.”

journey 1

i’m more hi-tech now!

My laptop came very handy especially since I preferred to ‘work’ at my office space outside my home…

journey 3

view from my office

And surely, I needed my energy drink…

journey 4

this kept me awake

I was ready. I was excited. I was writing my first book!  I wrote several chapters. I almost felt like a real writer.

Almost.

And then I hit a blank. I didn’t know where the story was going. It didn’t help, too, that my laptop kind of crashed.

***

Angels all around us.

2015. After shelving the project for about a year, I saw the saved drafts of the first several chapters that I wrote… and I found myself smiling while reading. I felt bad for not finishing the story.

journey 5

my bestie from LA

I emailed the finished chapters to my best friend/cousin in the US for her birthday last July.

All she said was — Finish it. Finish the story. Just keep writing.

That gave me the drive to continue. At least I knew I had one loyal reader.

And so I started writing again.  But since my laptop crashed, I had to contend with good old pen and paper this time around. So much for being hi-tech. 

When I hit another moment of anxiety and insecurity — when I started asking myself what the point was in all these, and I was starting to tell myself that I don’t write well enough and surely I don’t think I can actually finish writing a book — another angel intervened…

journey 6

my bestie from here

She read the first part of the draft and demanded that I share with her the rest. 

She also pretty much told me to stop being a drama queen and just continue what I have started. 

Real friends push you when you are just too tired, scared and unsure of yourself. They will not give up on you even when you are ready to give up on yourself. 

***

Divine connections

I continued with my project and finished the manuscript late September of last year. 

A manuscript is not a book until it is printed and published. At least to me, it’s not. Since it was truly just a personal project, I decided to explore the self-publishing option. I researched and inquired…

And then I met this super cool guy (a writer and an artist) who answered all my two hundred questions about self-publishing and who was more than willing to work with me in making a book. He eventually became my book coordinator, my proofreader and editor, as well as my lay out artist. He was my best friend for several months. It didn’t hurt as bad when he edited away (which translates to him chopping off some parts, fixing some lines, etc. etc). The editing took time, we added and changed stuff here and there, yet he was very patient all throughout. I was truly flattered when he said he really liked my work (despite it being chick lit). 

God then sent another angel my way in the form of a really talented artist. I found samples of her work online and they were truly divine! I reached out to ask if she would be ever so nice to design a book cover from me… and she agreed!! I was overjoyed.

I cannot thank these two artists enough. Though I was a total stranger, they entertained my queries — and helped me create something.  

When the time is right, God leads us to the right people… or He leads the right people to us.

***

And so, after two years of creating… and about thirty years of dreaming, here it is…

20 yrs book - copy

realization of a dream

Because it doesn’t hurt to read a sappy love story every once in a while. ❤

***

Available this July at Central Books in SM Megamall, Central Books Lyceum Makati and Central Books Cebu. Also available soon at their online bookstore: http://www.central.com.ph.

Limited copies only 🙂

Twenty Years in Between… the Love Story of Lizzie and Joseph; copyright 2016 Betsy Gacutan- Ochosa.
Work of fiction. All names, characters, places and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Heartfelt thanks to Clarissa Ines for the cover design and Adam David for the edits & layout.

 

 “Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.” Prov. 16:3

*****

photo of North and South via google images; all other photos are the author’s.

First of June

And just like that, it’s the first of June.  Five months have already passed… we are almost at the halfway mark of 2016.  Where has time gone??

I can still distinctly remember celebrating New Year’s Eve with my family and friends. Then came a series of post-Christmas reunions.  Then came Valentine’s day — which I honestly have no recollection of… Then Holy Week which we spent here at home. Then the national elections which happened first week of May.

And now it’s June 1.

Did I spend the first 150 days of the year well? Or did the days just pass? I wonder.

***

In the beginning of the year, I embarked on a personal project.  Amid the usual day to day tasks required of me, I challenged myself to do something I have long wanted to do… Something for, basically, myself. And no, it’s not a fitness challenge… and I’m not 5 lbs lighter or anything like that. This project has something to do with one of my first loves– writing.

Like what I said in one of my essays, when God puts a seed of a dream in your heart, He also gives you the tools to help you make it grow.  He will give you the inspiration, He will connect you to the right people — people who can help you fulfill your dream, and I believe He will also give you the courage and the strength to finish what you have started, despite the fear, the insecurities and all the uncertainties you have in your head.

And then there’s time. Time to work, time to pray… and time to wait.

This — where I am right now — is waiting time.

It can get so tiring to wait. I get impatient. I get antsy. I get all the more insecure.   But then I hear this Bible verse in my head telling me to just Be still...and to know Who my God is. 

My God who provides the seeds of my dreams.  My God who connects me with people.  My God where I derive my strength from… Who tells me to just press on.

***

It’s the first of June.  This morning after running my usual errands, I passed by my favorite coffee shop for a few minutes of alone time.

I looked back at the past 5 months. I thought about the progress of my personal project.  I drank my favorite drink. I said a little prayer.

I thanked God for the days, months that have passed, the provisions and the favors, and I thanked Him in advance for the bountiful blessings to come.

I also thanked Him for the Now.

***

Of course, I had to do this before leaving the coffee place…

June 1

But first, let me take a selfie…

the view

view from my favorite seat / work place

photo 2

June 1 breakfast

All’s well. 🙂

***

…being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…” – Philippians 1:6

Friendship, South of France

Today was errands day.

My agenda for the day included: Picking up Les Miserables tickets (done! so excited!); Do the groceries, buy food for the family (bought more than necessary… but then, what else is new?!); Get son’s picture from the photo shop; Pay some bills (some?!); Buy salad for lunch (perpetual diet but keeps cheating with dessert)…  And the list went on.

Walking at the mall, on my way to the supermarket, I bumped into an old friend, Elle — someone I haven’t seen in a long time. Continue reading