A Whole New World

If you are wondering why I have been awfully quiet these past few weeks (and you don’t follow my Instagram and Facebook accounts) — well, the time has come. No, my Game of Thrones friends, I didn’t mean winter…

I was referring to my son’s College Move In Weekend… Though now that I think about it, the experience felt very much like a GoT episode — exciting, yet dreadful at the same time. Minus the gore, of course.

I digress. Anyway, so two weeks ago we brought the unico hijo to Singapore for College. After all the planning and the preparation and the psyching of one’s self (I am talking about myself here), when the actual day comes that you have to let go of your child’s hand and leave him to fend for himself… well, you are never really sure if you are ready or if your heart will not cave in when you see your child walking away from you.    

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Our customary “off to school” photo 

But then this is what parents do, right? We raise our children to be the best that they can be and we offer them the greatest opportunities possible. We allow them to experience things on their own, not always under our shadow, so they can grow. 

That Sunday afternoon as we were saying goodbye — he has already moved in to his residential college while his father and I were headed back to our hotel — my son’s last words to us were, Will you be okay?” 

I knew he was merely referring to the commute from the College back to the hotel, us being ‘tourists’ and all.  My head asked my heart the same question, though… Will I be okay? 

I know I will miss his presence in the house. I know I will have to get used to an empty bedroom across mine. I will miss our nightly chats over dinner. The house will seem bigger, quieter…

But when I think of the whole new exciting world that he is entering… When I think of the vast opportunities and meaningful experiences ahead of him, all the learnings that will make his life richer and will make him a much better person still, I am assured that there is no reason not to be okay. Everything will be well.

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No goodbyes, just see you later!

So yes, I will be okay. And so will he. 🙂 

❤ ❤ ❤

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His home for four years 

 

*****

photos are all mine 🙂 

 

 

 

Slow down, take time, breathe in…

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This book just turned 1!! 

Over the weekend we were at this popular bookstore near our place to look for my son’s assigned books/textbooks for college. I knew that the said bookstore carries my book (uhm, my published novella) —   I personally delivered their copies sometime in January of this year. Out of curiosity, I tried to check where my book was displayed and yes, I wanted to know how many copies were left on the rack.

I walked around the store but couldn’t find one copy, so I went and asked Customer Service. So the staff checked their computer, then asked me to follow her… and led me to a pushcart, not so far from the counter. When I asked where they were supposed to move or display the books, I was told, “Oh, these are for pull out.”

Okay, so my eyes opened wide, my jaw dropped (and yeah, my heart pretty much broke). Casually I asked the salesgirl, Who ordered the books to be pulled out – and why? Basically she couldn’t answer. She looked at the other clerks who at that time were all listening in and staring at us. Nobody could offer an explanation. They just said the books are to be returned to the supplier. When I told them I am the supplier and I was not told about the pullout, they just all gave me a blank stare.

Calmly I told the salesgirl that I will just get in touch with Purchasing department. Hopefully they have the answers. I turned to leave before I ended up saying something mean – or throw a fit, or have a meltdown.

A LOT of things ran in my mind… Only a few people bought my book… Maybe it was too expensive?… My fault for not really marketing it…  Maybe I suck as a writer?!… Why do I even write when no one reads me anyway?! … What a loser… And so on, and so forth.

On my way out of the bookstore, I told my son, “Now I feel bad.”

At that time, I pretty much allowed eight unsold books to define me… and to ruin my evening.

Don’t we all experience those days?

Nothing seems to be going your way… Expectations are not met… Prayers are left unanswered… People disappoint… You feel lost… You don’t know your purpose… People do or say things that mess up your psyche… Circumstances strip you of your confidence, make you question your worth… People are hurtful and insensitive… We don’t know the answer to our many why’s.

The world can be cruel. It can weigh you down.

That is if you will allow it to.

For the past several weekends, our Worship Team in Church had been singing the song “Take Courage” by Bethel Music.  Over and over.

It’s about taking courage, holding steadfast, holding on to hope. It’s about waiting and watching for your triumph to unfold.

I kept hearing the song in Church. Over and over.

It was when I started having those days — Those seemingly bad days… Those I feel like such a loser kind of days… It was then that I realized that the song was being played for me. Over and over.

My God’s reminder that something good is about to come. Just wait.

When I got home from the bookstore that evening, I found a message waiting in my social media account. From halfway around the world, someone was telling me how excited she was that she finally got hold of a copy of my book. I believe God sent this angel to cheer me up. I hope she knows she was my angel that evening.

And to further make me feel better, a few minutes later, I received another message from another time zone — from someone I hardly talked to — telling me how much my blogs inspire her and that she enjoyed reading them. Totally unexpected.

Right when my self confidence was starting to spiral down, it was like I was reminded to just chill.

It happens. We get tired and weary. The world can be mean. 

But as the song goes, Slow down, take time, breathe in… He’d reveal what’s to come.  

In the meantime, God sends angels to comfort us, remind us that everything will be well.

Sharing with you the link to the song ‘Take Courage’… Because someone might be needing it right now.

 

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.

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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

 

Meet me at the bookstore…

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Oh, the places you’ll go…

The book – Twenty Years in Between – is out!!

Those who have been following my blog, Facebook and Instagram accounts would know that I have been doing the rounds, distributing to various bookstores.

Lately I have been receiving a number of inquiries on where they can get the book. Truth be told, right now there are limited number of printed copies available, so I had to choose strategically where best to place them.

Below is a list of the bookstores that already carry Twenty Years in Between:

National Bookstore: 

* Alabang Town Center (ATC) * Festival Supermall * SM Southmall* SM Center Molino, Bacoor* Glorietta* Greenbelt 1* Market Market* SM Aura Premier* SM Mall of Asia (MOA)* Robinsons Place Manila* Harrison Plaza* Taft Madison 

Powerbooks: 

*Alabang Town Center* Evia North* Festival Supermall

Fully Booked:

*The Fort, BGC* Mall of Asia (MOA)* Katipunan* Eastwood* Alabang Town Center 

Central Bookstore: 

*SM Megamall* Lyceum Branch, Makati* Also available online at http://www.central.com.ph

For delivery this week in the following National Bookstore branches:

Trinoma* SM City North* Quezon Ave.* Loyola Heights Katipunan* SM City Fairview* SM City Marikina* SM Megamall

Copies are limited, so GRAB ONE NOW!! ❤

***

This time last year, I was still in the process of getting to know my publisher. Truly I am still amazed at the many things that can — or better yet, that had happened within a year’s time! 

I am grateful to the people who have supported this dream of mine. Indeed, I am so very blessed. 

Sharing with you some photos of this wonderful journey…

From the Book Signing last September

With Ms. Clarissa Ines, my uber talented book cover artist!

 Dear family and friends… What to write, what to write… 🙂

More Friends Enjoying the Book…

How to write heartfelt dedications… ❤ 

My Bookstore Visits…

It is fun, it is tiring… it is exhilarating! Best part is– I know this journey has just begun.

All glory goes to the One Who made all these possible. All for You, Lord. 🙂 

Leaving you with this… 

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Because this is truly, definitely how you will feel after reading the book…

Twenty Years in Between… The Love Story of Lizzie and Joseph

Grab a copy now!!

❤ ❤

photo credits: BuzzFeed Books post grabbed from Facebook ; all other photos are mine 🙂

Like us on FB: Twenty Years in Between 

Notes from mommy

So, this is what happens when your only son goes to a party on a Saturday evening and decides to sleep over at a friend’s house instead of coming home in the wee hours…

Mom is left at home on a Sunday morning, finding time to rummage through old stuff — mainly old albums… and realize once again that time does fly so very fast

I can’t believe he is now 17 years old and will be off to college in several months. I know that he is still quite uncertain of what he really wants to become in the future. As parents, don’t we sometimes wish we can just make the decisions for our children to make things easier for them?

But surely, that shouldn’t be so. Our children still have to make their own choices and decisions. They have to live their lives. We are here to just guide and direct, provide pep talk when needed, and maybe an occasional push. 

Sometimes the most we can do is to put some fun in their lives… 

Because son isn’t home, mom is free to blog about him yet again– and unabashedly so…

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“Oh no mommy… NOT again?! “

Yes, sweetie. Sorry there’s just one of you that I can pick on. But I promise I will be nice. 🙂

So, this is Miguel. My unico hijo. 

We have always known that he is scholarly. He has enjoyed studying and learning even as a very young child…

If you’re going to be a nerd, be a cool one…

… and choose the right role models…

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… and yes, you have to pursue your passions, too.

We have always known that Miguel likes to perform…

I think he already knew then that he will one day try to emulate this guy named…

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Bruno Mars

Oh, wait, I think Miguel has something to say…

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“Seriously? You had to drag Bruno Mars into this?! Stop mom, you are embarrassing me…”

Thought balloon: “Wait, the sign said Dress Up Like Pooh, WHY am I dressed like a bumblebee??”

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“This is for dressing me up like a bee…”

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“… and for posting my pictures!”

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“I am sooo embarrassed I’ll just hide…”  

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“…or I’ll just eat sushi and give you a deadly stare!!”

Seriously, my child, you can be anything you want… You can be a genius and a charmer, and you can be a great performer like Bruno. 

You can be anything you set your mind to be. Just always strive to be the best YOU. That’s all we ask.

Remember, the world is your oyster. Explore and enjoy!

And just like what good old Leonardo di Caprio’s Jack in Titanic said…

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“I’m the king of the world!”

Own it.

photos from the treasure chest of memories are all mine 🙂