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.

 

New Chapters

It has been almost a month since my last blog entry.

A lot of things can happen in a month. Indeed, a lot of things have happened these past four weeks.

Milestone moments.

So, my unico hijo graduated from high school last May 30. He graduated with highest honors. He was one of the recipients of the Citizenship (Leadership) award, and he was also given the Scholastic and Academic Award. 

I was one proud mommy. I still am. 

I listened in awe as he delivered his Valedictory speech. That speech which he didn’t want to show us prior to graduation — mainly because he wanted it to be his own. I respected his decision because I knew that the writer in me would have ended up editing the speech here and there… And the mother in me would have added stuff that I thought was important. 

And so he held his own. He wrote his speech without any inputs from his parents… And he delivered it to the graduating class and the whole community with such grace and confidence. He talked about superheroes and about how one need not be a superhero to leave a mark in the world. He talked about his classmates and friends who in their own ways are mighty enough. He talked about the school and the community that shaped him to become the person the he is today.

As I observed the teachers, other parents, and the rest of the school community listening to his every word, I couldn’t help but think that yes, I must have done something good. Although I knew that the day was not about me… still, I couldn’t help but take pride in the fact that I helped raise this young man up. I had a hand in molding him into what and who he is now.

I also said a silent prayer of thanks to the Creator — for entrusting this child to me. I thanked Him for allowing me to experience this precious thing called Motherhood.

the graduate

With the Cup and the Cap that kept falling off — much to my dismay!!

❤ ❤ ❤

June 4 — the unico hijo turned 18.

Wow. 18 years. Time just flew by. He is now 18… I can no longer claim to be just 27 years old. Gosh.

I tried to think about how 18 years of being a mother has changed me. Aside from the additional 18lbs (or maybe even 20?) that I have gained through the years, surely there were other changes that took place.

For one I am no longer the clueless young mother that I was years back… I am now a clueless old mother. Haha, kidding. 

Motherhood doesn’t come with a handbook. One learns about parenting from other people — like your elders, or your peers. You also learn given the situations or circumstances that you face. You learn from your child. You learn from your mistakes, too. 

Ultimately you learn to trust your instincts and you make decisions based on what your heart tells you… because your heart will always opt for the good, wherever your child is concerned. 

Motherhood changed me. I learned things about myself, did things that I never thought I was capable of doing. I found that kind of strength that I never thought I had. I learned to make wise decisions. And more importantly, I learned to put someone else’s needs before mine.

Years back, when I decided to be a full-time, hand-on mom, I heard remarks that were enough to make one feel inferior. To some people, I became “just a mother.” Like my value as a person diminished somehow.

Now 18 years later, I’d still say that I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  

almon

Our first date after he turned 18 ❤ 

❤ ❤ ❤

The coming months will be pretty interesting because once my son is already in college, I will only be mothering from afar. So basically, I am starting a new chapter in my life, as well.

Whenever I read a book, I always look forward to starting new chapters. Each new chapter holds promise. If the previous one was bad, I look forward to the next one being good. If the previous chapter was good, I look forward to the next one being better.

As my son begins his new chapter, so will I begin mine.

Here’s to living God’s purpose, one life chapter at a time.

photo credits: pictures are all mine 🙂

Blessings abound

Life is not perfect. We don’t always get what we want… And when we do get it, it’s not when we want it. Sometimes God has other plans, His timing different from ours. But once He gives, He gives BIG… much bigger than what we asked for or expected.

Let me tell you how my past Wednesday went…

For several months I have been working on having my book displayed and sold at major local bookstores. It had been a tedious process. I had to talk to various people, I had to “sell” my book to convince them that it was worth having in their stores. 

I wasn’t really asking for much. Having five to ten copies in one branch would have been okay with me. I even told my contacts that I was fine with having the book available even just in the National Capital Region. I just wanted it to be out there

I have been truly blessed to have met some really nice people who approved the book right away, but the paper work and legal documentation that the whole transaction entailed took time. And it really took time. I had no choice but to wait.

And so I waited. I prayed and waited.

I received a phone call Tuesday morning from my contact from the country’s biggest bookstore chain (let’s hide it under the name National Bookstore). She said my Purchase Orders were ready for pick up anytime. I had a feeling they made it a point to release my POs before Christmas so the books can be delivered at least to some of their branches before Christmas.

I scheduled a trip to their head office for the following day. 

When I got to the office, the Purchasing Officer handed me the POs — which were almost half a ream thick. Good for 195 branches. Meaning they decided to order even for their provincial outlets. 

I was over the moon. 

Over lunch while I was waiting for the IT Department to open so I can get the bar codes.

When I got to the department where I was supposed to get the bar codes for the books, I was told I had to give them the exact quantity of books ordered… NOT just the number of purchase orders / branches.

And so I had to count. One by one. Per PO. Per branch. 

It took a while. I was getting flustered, afraid I might make a mistake.  I was also quite in shock. As the numbers went higher, the more stunned I got.

In the middle of my ‘counting,’ an elderly supplier who was waiting beside me muttered, “Wow, that’s quite a lot of POs you have there!” I could only smile shyly.

And I thought: How great is my God!

ALL I ASKED for were five to ten copies per branch. In my mind, twenty branches around the metro would have sufficed.

God is simply amazing. When He gives, He gives BIG, indeed! 

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Now available at National Bookstore and Powerbooks in Alabang Town Center

***

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

***

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

NOW available at National Bookstore, Powerbooks and Fully Booked in Alabang Town Center (ATC)

Also available at Central Books Mega Mall and online at http://www.centralbooks.com.ph

SOON at most National Bookstore and Powerbooks outlets in Metro Manila

*****

all photos are mine 🙂 

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!!

Daybreak

sunrise

new every morning…

I am not a morning person.  I am used to staying up late at night — reading, watching TV or going online, googling stuff I want to learn more about. Sometimes I get the inspiration to write late at night when the whole house is quiet.  Midnight inspirations, that’s what I call them.

For the past month or so, however, I got into the habit of waking up at 5:00am, more than an hour earlier than my normal weekday wake up sked.  At times I find myself up even earlier than 5am. For some reason, my mind is just so alive and awake that there’s no point in trying to go back to sleep.

And so I get up, make my first cup of coffee for the day, I go to the living room and perch at one corner of the couch — my favorite corner. Every single morning for the past month.

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My early morning corner 

With the whole house very quiet, darkness still covers the sky outside, only a few vehicles can be heard traversing the street… everything seems peaceful early morning.  I am in my own quiet world.

So there in my little corner, I read my bible… I listen to worship songs… I ready myself for the day that is to come. I use this time to ponder on things, recall the previous day’s events and think about the future. Truly there are so many things one can think about when she is all alone at 5 in the morning.

And then it happens.

As I sit and stare out the living room window, I begin to see the sunlight slowly peeking out the morning sky.

Daybreak.

Little by little, the darkness disappears. I also begin to hear the chirping of the birds. I am enthralled. 

Not all mornings are the same. Sometimes I wake up giddy in anticipation for the day’s events. Sometimes I wake up with a heavy feeling. Sometimes I don’t feel fully awake — like I am just on auto-pilot. And yet every single time that I get to witness the breaking of the day, something stirs within me… it wakes me up, gives life to my senses.

Hope.

As I catch the light first appearing in the morning sky, I get reminded that a new day is waiting to unravel. I am reminded that I get to start again on a clean slate… that I am given another chance to try again and to do better.  I can be expectant of awesome things to happen. 

Daybreak also reminds me to leave yesterday’s hurts, heartaches, worries and fears behind.  As dark as the sky may have earlier been, the moment light appears, darkness begins to dissipate. Light wins. 

It is a brand new day.

And God’s mercy is fresh and new every morning.  Yes, every single morning.

*****

daybreak photo via google images; the couch is mine 🙂