A postcard and a smile

It’s mid January?? Already?! Where did the days go??

I still remember writing my last blog post.  It was before the previous year ended. I remember signing off for the year. While I was writing that, I even thought to myself that I was being a tad melodramatic.  Surely I’ll be back blogging the following day… or several days after… But is it really January 18 — and is this really my first blog for the year?! Geesh. 

After the holidays, you’d think that once the rush is over, everything will settle down, everybody goes back to their normal, day-to-day routine… back to regular programming.  I thought time will slow down. Well, I thought wrong. 

The days still breeze by so very fast…. it’s just up to us to make the most — and the best — of the 24 hours that we have. 

So, where did I go and why did I leave my blog orphaned for almost three weeks?!

The family started a new business venture farther down south of the Metro and I have been pretty hands on. I spend several days of the week at the site to check the operations. When I get back home at night I still do some finance work. It’s fun and I am learning a lot. I am kept busy, too. Ergo, I haven’t had the chance to sit in front of the computer and write something.

My mind’s just too preoccupied with other things… but my heart was yearning to write something…anything! 

The other day I opted to stay home and take a day off.  The original plan was to unearth the draft of what was supposed to be my second book and to start working on it again. Either that or post a new blog. Whichever was easier. I told the hubby I would spend the day writing — or sleeping.

I did neither. I practically spent the day in my night-shirt, watching Hallmark Movies (the other option was a Criminal Minds marathon which I decided to save for another day). I thought watching those mushy movies would inspire me to write. Nope, still nothing. Maybe Criminal Minds would have been a better option. I was so unproductive.

My muse has left the building. 😦 

So there I was, a writer feeling quite out of sorts… a storyteller with no story to tell.

Once again I was beginning to be engulfed by insecurity. Couldn’t seem to shrug off the small voice whispering in my head, “You dare call yourself a writer when you can’t even compose a simple blog…”

And then I got a gentle nudge from above.

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My very first — may even be my ONLY — fan mail!!! 

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It was waiting for me as I stepped out of the house this afternoon.

It was a postcard from a reader of my book. I still can’t believe that not only did she buy the book, she went through all the hassle of writing me, reaching out to thank me for the love story I wrote… and telling me how much she enjoyed it… She even mailed the card, with real stamps and all!! I love snail mail!! 

The mail came at the most opportune moment… It came at the time when I was feeling tired, weary and uninspired.

It’s nice feeling appreciated. It is also nice to know that my work touched someone’s heart. It somehow reminded me of why I enjoy writing in the first place.

I often say that I write to inspire. I guess sometimes I should also open myself up and allow others to inspire me, as well.

Thank you, dear postcard sender. It was a very sweet and thoughtful gesture and it totally, absolutely made my day. 

Now I am inspired to write again.

The best love stories are the ones that will leave a smile on your lips… or a tug at the heart. 🙂 

 

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Photos are mine. This blog was written late January 18 and published in the wee hours of January 19… Talk about inspiration 🙂  

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Merry Month of December

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I was able to decorate my Christmas tree after all!

To say that I don’t feel bad for not being able to write nor blog for quite some time now would be an understatement. 

For the past several nights, as I lie in bed waiting to fall asleep, I mutter to myself, “I should have written something today.” At times I even attempt to sit back up, look at my computer and try and see if it will entice me enough to write. And then I think about the events of the day… and I think of the number of hours that it normally take me to upload a single blog, with photos and all, and yeah before I realize it, I have dozed off.  The spirit is truly willing, but well, the body is tired and the brain cells don’t want to cooperate.

It’s December. A lot of things have been happening. The hustle and bustle of Christmastime seems to keep everyone preoccupied. It is a festive season… it can be an exhausting one, too.

December is about family…

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We began the month with a birthday celebration for my mom. 

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Just outside Peri Peri

Whenever possible, I find time to hang out with my parents, whether at their favorite  place for jamming —

 

… or watching my hubby perform at the Christmas Cantata.

December is also about Christmas get-togethers…

 

Running like a kid again… ❤ Night baseball with Habagat parents.

4habagat Winners all!

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Christmas fellowship with my Lifegroup, my spiritual family.

Home hosts for almost 8 years and counting. Serving the Lord is never tiring. 

In between festivities, I was able to do this…

 

Book sales!!! 🙂

Guys, my book‘s still out. Shameless plug, but yeah, if you still have not grabbed a copy, go get one NOW!! ❤

This also happened this December…

14tag2My baby boy is home!!! 🙂

And because he is home, we thought of going on a short out of town vacay…

 

It was so cold… but it was so fun, too!

 

Doing what I do best… Indulge me, please 😉

And then this…

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Happy 27th (+18) to me!!! ❤ 

And then came another round of get-togethers and meet ups…

 

Planned and unplanned…

 

 

Christmas Eve celebration with family

This month, we have had quite a number of opportunities to bond as a family —

From family gym time… 

… to hotel hopping while unico is out partying. 😉

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Or simply just hanging out.

It was a busy month filled with endless Christmas shopping and gift wrapping, party preparations, get-togethers, and all the in-betweens. But thinking about it, though I haven’t been writing, well, I was busy living my life.  

Yes, it may seem exhausting, but my heart is full.

Because really, this is what it’s all about. 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤

ON TO THE NEXT CHAPTER… Hello 2018!

Before the year ends, I would like to take this chance to thank you, dear readers, for sticking it out with me and this blog this past year. 

Truth be told, I still get amazed every time someone tells me that he or she has read my blog (pure ecstasy when someone tells me he/she is a follower!). For the longest time, I thought I was just talking to myself — or to the air… or to some random person in the blog universe. 

But knowing that I have real readers inspire me to write more. It is because of you that I am more mindful of what I blog about… You keep me from nonsensical rants… You keep me from being preachy and self-righteous… It is also because of you that I try to make every blog post as perfect as it can possibly be, sans grammatical or spelling errors. (I try. I really do!)

So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts, my stories. Hopefully you have learned something from me or I have inspired you — or at the very least, I pray my blogs have entertained you somewhat. 

I believe life is meant to be lived… and stories are meant to be told. 

Here’s to more storytelling this coming year! 😉

Lastly, I would like to leave you with this prayer:

The Lord bless you and keep you;
  The Lord make His face shine upon you,
  And be gracious to you;
  The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.” 

Numbers 6:24-26 NKJV

Daily Dose of Betsy signing off for 2017…

(My work space — yes, I have girly stuff on my computer table… you’ll never know where inspiration may come from; My drafts on yellow pad; Me… This is how I roll!)

Hello, 2018!

 

*****

photos are mostly mine 😉

 

 

A Not-so-Happy Monthsary

Hello November! 

Tomorrow marks the first month since my unico’s accident at the dorm. To those who still haven’t heard — or read– about it, please see previous (trending) blog

I promised I’ll share with you how our weeklong, extended stay in Singapore went. So here goes (and with photos, too!)…

Okay, so my husband and I took an early morning flight that arrived in Singapore at 9:00am. From the airport, we checked in at the hotel really fast, just dropped our bags in the room, then rushed straight to National University Hospital. 

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First selfie for this trip… How sad is that?? 😦 

Patient B32 was taking a shower when we arrived. Don’t ask me how, I’ll probably just answer, “With great difficulty…” 😦 

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Tadah! 

We were told that the hospital is ready to discharge the unico. We waited for about half an hour for everything to be settled, and for the instructions regarding his medication. 

And then we were off… (to the Campus)…

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Goodbye photo-op with one of the nurses

Pushing unico’s wheelchair is Toto, one of his awesome roommates, who was there to pick him up and bring him back to the dorm in case we didn’t arrive. How sweet was that??? ❤ 

In the previous blog, I mentioned that my husband and I were really scheduled to go to Singapore to attend the Parents’ Orientation Weekend. Unfortunately, because of the accident, it became quite a challenge to join the activities.

For the most part of that Friday afternoon, we were just at my son’s dorm (which they call a suite), helping him settle back in, fixing his room (which looked exactly the way he left it when he was rushed to the hospital… meaning, there was still a pillow with blood on the floor, books strewn all over, etc.). Besides, we didn’t have an elevator pass, so we can’t just go in and out the residential college. We were pretty much stuck in the suite. 

At some point, the Residential College Vice Rector came to meet with me and my husband so we can discuss how the school can help my son in the coming days as he goes back to his classes. Can’t help but be truly grateful that my son is in a very supportive college

🙂 

Back to the Orientation Weekend… The activity for that evening was Performance Night. Students (and some parents) were invited to perform for the visiting parents. My unico, was supposed to be part of said activity. But because of the accident, they were not sure if he can (or will) still perform. 

Being the true performer that he is, well, of course he couldn’t pass up the chance… And so sans practice, the show had to go on… While in a wheelchair, too!

Song choice: Vienna, by Billy Joel

“Slow down, you crazy child…” as the song goes. How apt. 

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Success!

The Performance Night ended around 9:30pm. We brought him back up to his suite and planned for the following day before going back to our hotel. We decided to leave him at the dorm so he could already rest. My husband and I told him we’ll be back early enough so we can have brunch together.

The bus ride to the hotel took about forty minutes. I was craving for coffee but the nearby Starbucks was already closed. I was already getting lightheaded because of exhaustion and lack of sleep (been awake since early morning for our flight). It was a long day.

And I expected the following day to be another long one. 

Saturday…

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We got back to the campus in time for brunch! Yey! 🙂 

We spent Saturday planning how the unico will do his day to day activities while in crutches or wheelchair.

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The adventure begins…

We looked for easy routes going to his classrooms. We went to the laundry room so he can do his laundry. We walked with him to the dining hall. 

And so we walked and walked until we have covered practically most of the campus (some of his classrooms were like two buildings away). My husband pushed the wheelchair, while I walked behind, lugging the crutches, and a water bottle, with me. It was exhausting. I was exhausted. And to think I had feet to walk with. 

It wasn’t easy, believe me. It made me realize how blessed we are that we have functioning legs and feet. We really should never take any part of our body for granted.

At some point during our “campus tour,” I told my husband I believed it would be better if both of us would stay for a week — or at least, up to the unico’s first post-surgery consult with his doctor.

My son had shown nothing but courage all through out, but I wanted to be there to provide whatever support I can while he was recuperating. His friends and dormmates were the best and the school had been very helpful and supportive, yet I wanted to do my job as a parent.  

Sometime late Saturday afternoon, my husband and I were able and attend one sample class (it was still Parents’ Orientation Weekend, after all, and there were several sessions going on).

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Filipino parents, represent! 

Afterwards, we brought the unico to the hotel with us so he can rest on a bigger bed, at least for most of Sunday.

Couldn’t really do anything much at the hotel… 

And so school week came…

My son started attending his classes (crutches and all)… we would check on him whenever possible… treated him to Japanese dinner outside school so he can get a breath of non-campus air…

My husband and I spent the week not necessarily in school the whole time, but just close enough to be there anytime our son needed us. 

Traveled to school by Grab, bus, MRT… enjoyed the non-polluted walks, too.

 

 

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Yale-NUS at night… Or at least the view from Clementi overpass 🙂

At last it was Friday… day of the post-surgery consult. We were able to talk to the doctor who explained to us how they fixed the broken bone.

He checked the wire, checked the wound, had it dressed, told us that it’s healing beautifully and as long as my son takes care of it — make sure that it doesn’t get wet and infected, and that the wire inside doesn’t break — then they can remove the wire come November 10 (even earlier than original November 24 schedule). Doctor even added, “Nah, you don’t have to be here when I remove the wire. I’ll just tell him to look away as I pull it out.” Yes, he said he’ll pull it out. *Gulp.*

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That’s one tough guy you’re looking at!

So after meeting with the doctor and knowing that everything is well, hubby and I were ready to go back home. 

And so we did, the following day.

 Saturday, bye bye day… Can I just stay??

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This was the hardest part 😦 

So tomorrow –the tenth of November –the first monthsary of his accident, he is going back to NUH to hopefully have the wire removed. 

It was quite an experience. For all of us, actually, but of course, most especially for my son. It was a freak accident. He had a bad fall. Who would have thought that he would break his toe so badly? 

Accidents do happen. But then despite the accident, God’s grace shone through… and we felt it in more ways than one. We were surrounded by good, helpful people. People who assisted in different ways, people who reached out and who prayed with us. My son was blessed with caring, loving friends who still help him up to now.  

We were given strength, comfort and peace even when we were tired. My son was given the courage he needed while we were still away… and the yes, he still had the same courage after we left. 

And yeah, as bad as the original reason was, well, we were able to spend longer time with him because we decided to extend our stay. 

Though I am not really celebrating the monthsary — it was still an accident, after all, I guess I cannot say that I am not happy. Because I am. I am happy because he is now okay.

More than that, I am thankful. Things could have been much, much worse. 

But God is good. He is always good. 🙂 

WARNING!! The following is not for the faint-hearted… So stop here if you are not ready… You don’t have to look…

Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

🙂

 Those who are intrigued about the “wire” that I kept talking about, let me give you an idea how it looks like…

My, what big foot you have! 😉

And the good doctor is scheduled to pull that wire out tomorrow.

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photos were mostly mine…except for the foot which was unico’s (Don’t worry, i asked permission before i posted)

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

 

Friends bonding over sushi

Several blogs ago, I talked about my high school friends and our annual Christmas or Post-Christmas get togethers (see Sunsets and Friendships). Last Saturday was the latest one. No, we didn’t watch the sunset together — nor did we wait for the sunrise…

This time, we bonded over lunch. And like what one of my friends said, “We do lunches now… Does that mean we are getting old?!” Maybe they are. Hahaha.

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Friends for a lifetime

So there we were, four ladies and a gentleman. Now that sounded old. Let me say that again…

So there we were, four girls and a guy, chatting our hearts away over sushi. When you have four girls and a lone guy in a group, guess who will monopolize the conversation? The lone guy, of course! We were hanging on to his every word.

Nah, I was kidding. We all took turns in talking and listening. 😉  I wasn’t kidding about the ‘We were hanging on to his every word’ part, though. Because we were. You see, we don’t get to see lone guy that often since he doesn’t reside in the same area as the rest of us.

Clearly one of the most brilliant minds from our high school batch — heck, I think it is safe to say that he may very well be one of the most brilliant Filipino males from our age group in the whole country, of course we will hang on to his every word (with hopes of having some of his intelligence rubbed off…)!  I am sure all four of us were mighty proud of his achievements (Which are truly out of this world… literally… believe me!).  

But then despite being Mr. Biggie in his field, he still is the same guy we grew up with… Mild-mannered, unassuming, not a single, tiny trace of arrogance. All the more reason for us to be proud.

Or maybe he is really just smart enough not to cross his female friends who know and can use his high school secrets against him! Haha. Now that was shallow.  

It was one interesting lunch that we had.  Too bad I am not allowed to share the juicy details. 🙂 

❤ ❤

Time and again I say that when you are with old friends, you can talk about anything and everything. Somehow you have a treasure trove of memories that seems bottomless. 

As we took turns filling each other in about what has been happening in our own worlds, I thought to myself, Wow, we all sound mature. Life’s experiences and the passage of time have somewhat made us calmer,  more grounded and less petty. 

And then the conversation shifts to high school memories (and certain personalities)… Did I say earlier that we sounded mature? Hmm. I take that back. 

So we reminisced, exchanged notes, laughed and gossiped away.  I believe our collective memories showed that our high school life was indeed good and fun. A major factor that made it so was because we had each other.

It is nice to remember the person you once were before you became the person you are now

When I am with my friends, I get reminded of my 15 yr. old self — the perfectionist, vain yet nerdy drama queen. 

Old friends help remind you of how you used to be. Maybe you were more brave, bold and fearless. You remember qualities the young you possessed that time had somehow tempered. You remember who you were then, giving you the chance to bring those forgotten qualities back.

And as you continue to share life experiences, you also realize how much you have grown through the years… You get to appreciate how far you all have come. 

Okay, now my musings are making me sound really old!

Bottomline is, in the company of your lifelong friends, you are the sum total of YOU, both past and present. There is simply no denying that. 

Plus, they also hold a treasure trove of your secrets… there’s no escaping that, either! 🙂 

1994

From a treasure trove of memories… all blackmail material… because we know each other well!  🙂 

Here’s to more lunches with all of you!

Our anthem from the 90’s… How very apt!

 *****

Credits: Photos are from my O+ phone… Music Video of Friends theme song “I’ll Be There for You” via Youtube ❤ 

Gorgeous’ Friends (in no particular order because I don’t play favorites): Jeg, Sandee, Liesl, Kokoy, Patrick, Joel, Manny ♥