Some Major Throwback

girl-writing

Old style writing

Oh my… It has been a while. No, let me rephrase that — It has been a long while. It makes me wonder, What the *%$@ had happened to me?  How could I leave my blog (again) like an orphan just like that?! 

Actually, it was pretty easy, really. I got myself busy doing other things — sometimes relevant and exciting, most times mundane.  And then I tell myself I don’t have the inspiration to write… and then I look at my computer and feel insecure and I start asking myself, Can I still produce something worth reading? 

And then because I’m unsure of myself, I end up not writing. No attempt even. What a coward. Yes, I’m psycho like that… 

Then this morning I received an email from a book group I am part of, asking me if they can feature me and my book (yes, that lovely book I wrote a couple of years ago) on their site.  They are featuring Filipino authors and they asked if I would be willing to answer some questions.

I was over the moon, so, Of course, yes!!!  My first thought was, I will gladly answer a hundred questions if need be! 

Thank you, God, for nudging me and waking me up from my stupor.

Thank you for reminding me that I am a writer and writers are supposed to, uhm, write. 

This year has breezed by quite fast somehow. It’s now September and we are beginning to hear Christmas carols being played in malls (Really?! So soon?! But yes, really!). 

What could be a better way of making the most of your days than by spending them with the people you love?  And I was fortunate enough to travel several times this year with loved ones…

So for my Hello-I’m-back-blog, I thought of sharing pictures of our family trip to Singapore last April.  

Yeah, yeah, it’s such a late post, but good memories never fade…  (like I can get any mushier than this!!😉

Hello Singapore… we meet again.

You have to pardon the eye bags. My dad, mom and I took the flight departing at such an ungodly hour!

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My customary plane selfie

After depositing our bags at the hotel, our first stop was Marina Bay Sands for an afternoon of (window) shopping…

 

 

My mom, ever the fashionista. 🙂

My dad having his own photo shoot while my mom was shopping somewhere…

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Oh, hello there!

And then we were joined by the star of Singapore… (with his equally dashing brother father)!!!

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My two Miguels 

 

First dinner in Singapore.

Family is love, indeed.

Day 2 was all about serious shopping in the morning…

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Walked ’til my sandals broke…

… and then some serious partying at night!

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Same pose, different attire.

At the Roar of Singapore 4 boxing event, in full support for Filipino boxers and boxing commentator and analyst…

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… as well as foreign talents — who might get rich and famous in the future, one will never know! 😉

Day 3 was about waking up early and hearing the voice of your dear friend Victoria calling your name...

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Coolness! 

And still more walking…

… and hiding from the sun.

When afternoon came, it was time for — 

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Yale-NUS visit!!

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So, who do you think is the boss?! 🙂

Tired but never weary…

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Papa enjoying the stage at the Performance Hall 

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The neighboring NUS buildings at the back

Yale NUS College tours are always, always an awesome experience. 

On Sunday morning, we went on a Chinatown adventure…

 No caption needed 😉

Then we finally got ourselves some yummy Hainanese Chicken meal that Singapore is known for…

Lunch.

Miguel was not feeling too well that day so we just decided to meet up with him in the evening.

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Dinner and after dinner…

Goodbyes are always difficult… But we are thankful for the memories. 

And it’s always nice to look forward to the next hello.

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Brunch before flying back home

The trip was short but we made a lot of memories along the way.

I am glad I was able to spend time with my parents. I am grateful that they both are still strong enough to travel and we still get to experience and enjoy things together.

At the same time, I am joyful that I got to visit my son. My son was able to show his grandparents his school, his home away from home.  I know my parents couldn’t be any more proud that Miguel is where he is right now.

Truly, we do have a lot to be thankful for. 

As we waited for our flight back home, I couldn’t help but ponder… 

Yes, time flies… So very fast. Our kids grow up fast. Our parents grow old. We get old(er). And so we make good use of our time. We spend our hours with the people important to us… we make time for the people we love. 

We make memories… happy ones that will forever warm our hearts. 

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… and we take selfies. A gazillion, if that would make you happy. 

 

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Photo credits: Girl writing cartoon via google images; Singapore trip photos courtesy of author’s ever reliable iPhone 😉 

 

 

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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 🙂  

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.

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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 🙂

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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. 

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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