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. 🙂 

 

********

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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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 🙂 

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. 🙂 

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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…

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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

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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.  

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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…

 

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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.

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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…

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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…

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

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

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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!!