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 🙂 

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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

Sunsets and Friendships

Sunsets come and go… But friends stay forever. 

I saw that as caption to a photo posted by a Facebook friend. It was a picture of five people in silhouette, watching a beautiful sunset by the beach. 

The picture was truly breathtaking… and the message equally inspiring.

It made me think of my high school friends and all the sunsets that we shared together — as well as all the times we waited for the sun to rise. 

If there are people who know me the most, these would be my high school friends. I can say this because we practically grew up together. And growing up together entails knowing each other’s quirks, each other’s habits and hobbies… It means meeting all your friends’ love interests, both the good and the bad ones, and they meet yours, too… Through the years, you share life’s ups and downs… You know what buttons to push to irritate or compliment the other…

It’s about knowing their life story — and accepting and loving them just the same.

My high school friends are the ones who call me Gorgeous, instead of calling me by my name.  They can also proudly and boldly call me vain and narcissistic without me being the least bit offended.

They have seen me at my best and still loved me at my worst. 

Like I said, my high school friends and I don’t just watch the sunsets… we share sunrise, too…

hs-1997

January 1, 1997

Taken almost 20 years ago, First of January, 1997. Coming from the house of another friend, we waited for the sun to rise and had this picture taken in front of St. James church in Alabang.

The night before the photo above. New Year’s Eve, 1996. 

And 20 years — and pounds — later… we still do Christmases together…

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Christmas Get-Together 2015

hs-2016

Post-holiday 2016 Get-Together

I don’t always get to see my friends much. I know I am partly to blame because I allow the busyness of every day life to get in the way.

Yet whenever we do see each other, it’s like no time has passed. We are still the very people we once were. We just easily pick up where we left off. We update ourselves with the things we missed, we celebrate each other’s successes. 

And as we got older together — and hopefully more mature, we know that we are done with petty things. We still tease each other, yes, but we don’t bicker. We now talk about serious stuff… our families, our fears, insecurities, goals and achievements, even our mistakes. And we can still laugh at shallow, silly things (and people) — just like when we were 15. 

My friends and I are secure in the knowledge that we accept each other for who and what we are and were. Each of us with our different moods, strengths, flaws and all.

Because that’s the thing about true friendship. Neither time nor distance can change how you see the other person, nor how you feel about them.

With real friends, you can never lose the love, the respect and that feeling of being home.  

hs-2014

With three of my high school besties, Jeg, Liesl and Sandee. Homecoming 2014.

I originally captioned this, “Mean Girls,” but they objected. They said I was the only mean one. 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤

Sunsets come and go… But friends stay forever. 

*****

photos from the ’90s — which I grabbed online — i think came from our friend Joel.  All other photos are mine!!

Them. In no particular order: Jeg, Liesl, Sandee, Kokoy, Myla, Patrick, Manny and Joel

So I got rejected…

 

20-yrs-submit

November 2015

It was around this time last year when I first submitted my Manuscript to a local publisher. I really did not know what to expect then.  I was nervous… I was clueless… and I had no idea whether I was doing the right thing or not. All I knew was that I wanted something to happen.

I wanted to publish a book. My book. A story that I created with characters that I breathed life into. A work that I can call my own, a legacy that I can leave behind.

I did not hear from that publication house. Ever. If not for the notice of receipt of the package that I got from the courier, I wouldn’t have known whether they actually received the manuscript. Up until today, I have absolutely no idea whether the editors from the said publication house have actually read the story.  

I never heard from them.  

I remember waiting a couple of weeks. I told myself that they probably had tons of manuscripts to go over. I let a month pass. I rationalized that it was Christmas time and surely, everybody’s busy with a lot of things.

How long does one have to wait before she comes to terms with rejection?

Come end of December, I was fidgety. I remember having to deal with all sorts of emotions that normally go with rejection.

I was sad, of course. I saw the realization of my dream slipping away. I was embarrassed, I was losing my self-confidence. Was I too bold to send out the manuscript to people I didn’t know and who didn’t know me? I felt fearful and insecure. Maybe they thought my writing wasn’t good enough? Or maybe my writing was really bad??! 

I could have wallowed in self-pity. That was the easiest thing to do. Give up and wallow in self-pity and believe that this was pointless because I was just not good enough

And maybe lock myself in my room for a month and stay depressed. Woe is me!

But I took the other road. I came up with a Plan B. With the prodding of my best cousins, I explored my Plan B… and Plan B worked. I met wonderful people who helped me every step of the way… And the rest is history. My book eventually got published. 

I have blogged about this journey several times and if you follow my blogs, you already know the story.  The point I am getting at now is that going after a goal, a dream, is not always easy.  

Things don’t always happen the way you want them to. 

A lot of times you have to work harder than you thought you should. Most of the time you will get to face rejection… You may even get rejected multiple times. And who likes being rejected? It just makes you feel so small. So unworthy.

Giving up was easier. It takes more strength, requires more courage to try again, to explore other options. Oftentimes, it is very difficult to ignore the demons whispering in your head that you simply are not good enough. Sadly, it is much easier to believe those whispers when you don’t get the affirmation that you hoped for. 

But rejection is not the end of the world. In fact, it could very well be an opening to something else… something better, something that is truly right for you.

So, pick yourself up. Dust yourself if you must. Bruised ego and all, carry on with head held high. You will get there somehow. 

That is, if you don’t stop trying.

***

My Book’s Journey (So Far) in Pictures

The very first print out of the whole manuscript…

I took a selfie to document that moment… Right before sending it out to a publishing company.

20-yrs-manuscript

Denied. Rejected… Ignored?! 

But then like I said, I did not let the dream end there. I went after Plan B.

 And so all these eventually happened…

From the first print… To the first proof… To the first real book with bar code.

And then…

central

Central Books, SM Mega Mall

It’s finally out!!

So this followed…

Book launch at SMX last September.

And now, these…

From LA to Las Vegas to Japan… and very soon in Ohio. 

Friends and family are feeling the love. 

Remember how I document everything with a selfie??

Last week, I posted this…

20yrs-fullybooked

Because that day, I was deliriously happy after receiving truly wonderful news.

Soon. And I mean, very, very soon… Do watch out for this…

20-yrs-fully

Perfect Christmas gift, y’all!

Coming out in December at Fully Booked. 

And it all started with a rejection... 🙂  

*****

Twenty Years in Between… The Love Story of Lizzie and Joseph.  Now available at Central Books. Coming out this December at Fully Booked!  Soon at select National Bookstore and Power Books branches.

Fall in love with Lizzie and Joseph… this is their love story

*****

photos are all mine!!

The many firsts

For the past several days, I have been busy helping my son with his College Apps (College Application) requirements. As I sort documents and fill out forms, I couldn’t help but realize that… this is really happening — my unico hijo is off to college next year! 

Where has the time gone?? 

I can still remember bringing him to Nursery school and waiting for him outside the classroom for two hours every school day, for the first two months.  I couldn’t leave because he might look for me and cry if he finds out I wasn’t there.

Well, he never looked for me — and he never cried inside the classroom. He has always liked going to school. 🙂

That was Nursery school.  Now, we are talking College. I wonder if he will let me wait for him at the campus on his first day in College…

Okay, so I am beginning to get sentimental. I guess it happens to every parent — especially mothers. We look at our children and we see them as our babies. Whether they are 7 years old or 17, they are and will always be our babies. We simply cannot let go.

Oh, we will let go, eventually. Because we have to. But then that doesn’t keep us from being as protective… and maternal.

I have talked to several mommy friends whose children are also going to college next year, and they share the same sentiments. Some are already looking for the closest place to hang out while their children are in school (yes, we are moving our coffee and brunch meet up venues near their children’s universities!). I have a friend who can’t help but bawl whenever she sees a baby picture of her kid. 

Sometimes it’s not always fun being a mom. Sometimes we just feel too much…

***

One of the perks of being a full-time, hands-on mom is that you get to witness your child’s many firsts. And if you are lucky — and prepared — you get to document them, too… Or you take pictures.  Lots and lots of them. Pictures to be shared in your blog when your child is much older (and will probably think of killing you for embarrassing him or her)

I dug up my son’s albums and got a few favorites… Photos of some of his many firsts. His firsts according to my mommy eyes.  

This is me getting sentimental… Indulge me.

First Day of School

The first one was his first day in a small school (Nursery) and the second one was his first day at a big school (Junior Prep).

First Field Trip

I remember being sick on that day. I had really bad colds and cough — but I had to accompany him. We were under the sun for the most part of the day. I felt like dying!

But seeing the excitement and big smile on my child’s face was more than enough to keep me alive — at least for the next eight hours.

Incidentally, that was also his first time to ride a big bus, so, double the excitement! 

First Trip Out of the Country

To Paris, with love… We just love Paris!

provence-002

Carpentras

This was taken before my sister’s wedding somewhere South of France.  

First Costumes

Back when he was too young to complain about wearing a bee costume. Take note, he wasn’t Winnie the Pooh… he was a cute bee. 🙂 

filipiniana-001

But of course…

First Filipiniana Costume… Katipunero or Farmer? We were never sure which.

filipiniana-002

Dr. Jose Rizal

In Jr Prep, he was supposed to come as our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. But on the day of the event, he had sore eyes… Yet that didn’t stop us from dressing up — and taking photos!  (How do you like the mustache?!)

He was supposed to be a pizza for Nutrition Month. But during the parade, they put the box with the back facing front, so he ended up looking like a pizza delivery guy.  The cutest pizza guy ever! (Mommy made that pizza costume!)

Hawaiian costume — which he also wore for his Jr Prep Recognition; Cheong sam for United Nations Day (good for sleeping, too!).

Our favorite costume, good old Capt. Hook! Won quite a number of prizes.

And yes, I had to dress up one Halloween. Capt. Hook needed an evil muse.

First Friends

friends-001

Stephanie and Emily

His first friends were two French girls. 

One taught him how to ride the bike, the other helped plan his 3rd birthday party. They all cried when the girls’ family had to move to Belgium. 😦

friends-002

The Justice League

 His posse. ‘Nuf said. 

First Sports

First time at the fairway and first golf tournament

baseball

Baseball beginnings

First baseball game.

He didn’t have baseball uniform yet. He looked like an extra. He was the 10th player on the field. 

Best Wanderer ever. 🙂 

First Studio Pictorial

It wasn’t his photo shoot… it was mine.  But he was just too cute to say no to.

***

I still have lots of other photos. I have his firsts, seconds and thirds. But this should do for now.

Maybe the next picture should be of his first day in college… With me still lurking in the background. Totally uncool. 😉 

If only they can be young forever. *Sigh*

***

PS… Note to fellow parents:

Take photos of your kids while they are young. Take lots. Even if they whine and complain. They are only young once and they do grow up so very fast.

Capture moments. You will be thankful some day that you did. 

*****

photos are all mine!!