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.

26943219_10155422051293737_2041122595_n

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

26943618_10155422051273737_2054599503_n

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 🙂  

Advertisements

Merry Month of December

24.jpg

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…

2bday

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

1parents

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!

3caregrp

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…

15bday

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. 😉

25

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 😉

 

 

November to remember

It’s two days ’til December… Less than a month ’til Christmas. This morning, I woke up to this: 

24135282_10155282000818737_201191744_n

Saddest Christmas tree ever 😦

And I couldn’t help but feel bad. 

I have always loved the Christmas season. I love the festive atmosphere. I love looking at the Christmas decors, watching the lights, and listening to Christmas carols. And yes, I love going Christmas shopping. I normally finalize my list sometime late October because I like doing my Christmas shopping early. By mid-November, I’m done setting up the Christmas tree and lights.

I am a gift giver. I relish the whole process — from making the list, to buying and wrapping gifts… I even like putting them under the Christmas tree (that I lovingly set up and decorated). This entire practice gives me a certain high.  

At nights before I sleep, I spend some time getting lost in the Christmas lights. Simply watching them relaxes me. I may go to bed exhausted from the day’s activities, but there’s always a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.  I call this my Christmas feeling.

Things have been quite different this year, though. It’s almost December and our tree isn’t up yet. No Christmas decors… no Christmas lights outside. In fact, there are even several busted regular bulbs inside the house that I have yet to change.

Yup, I have been neglecting quite a number of things around the house lately. I don’t know if this has something to do with our ’empty nesting.’ Since we no longer have a little child in the house  who will appreciate the decors and the lights (as much as I do), well, it suddenly doesn’t anymore feel as exciting to decorate. Somehow it is different when you have someone — other than yourself — who admires, appreciates, and gawks at that Christmas tree you have painstakingly set up for more than half a day.

So, right now, all we have is a bare tree. No lights. No gifts. No warm, fuzzy Christmas feeling.  Bah-humbug.

So what kept me busy this whole month of November? Let me backtrack a bit.

Okay, last week I was in Singapore. Again (Yey, Singapore!). You see, our Baseball Club sent two teams to play in a Thanksgiving Tournament. My husband was the head of delegation, and we pretty much spent a big part of November preparing for the trip. But unlike those other tournaments where I was on top of the travel coordination, this time we had parent leads who took care of most of the travel details. I only assisted where I was needed, giving them tips and suggestions on certain matters. And since I had no son playing in the said tournament, basically, I was just a tag along.

For a split-second I asked myself if I should still go with the team, knowing full well that I will be paying for my own expenses. Besides, weren’t we in Singapore just a month ago for the Parents’ Weekend? (Remember the previous blog?) And didn’t we extend that last time because of my son’s injury? (Remember the blog before the previous one?)

So I asked myself, is it still practical? Should I go or should I just stay home, fix my house, prepare for December, shop for Christmas?

I believe that home is where the heart is. And the heart is where the family is. My husband will be in Singapore. My son IS in Singapore. They are my home. Of course, I had to go to Singapore, as well. 

And yes, there’s also Sephora in Singapore. But that’s beside the point. 🙂

Snapshots from the Week that Was…

You’d think that since we were in Singapore, my husband and I will be able to spend a lot of time with our unico, right? Uhm, wrong! He’s in college… and the term’s about to end… he had a lot of school work to finish, papers to submit. So after seeing him and having dinner with him on the night that we arrived, well, we basically did not see even his shadow for the next several days.

Since the main reason for the trip was the baseball tournament, our days were filled with baseball games… and moments.

2

The weather was not always good… 😦

We brought two teams composed of boys mostly aged 9-10 and a couple of 11 and 12 year olds. One team played in the 10u age group, while the other played up and joined the 12u group.

Unfortunately for the 10u team, all of their games started at 8am. Since they needed to be on the field an hour before for warm-up, it meant waking up and getting ready really early and being in the bus by 6am. 

3

Daybreak 

On the morning that I rode the bus with the two teams at 6am, I asked myself — Why do I still do this? I don’t have a son playing in this tournament… Why wake up early? Why even spend the day on the field?

And then I see the boys.

4

Habagat represent!

I see the smiles on their faces. I see their excitement. 

I see their determination and grit.

8.1

I see their courage in the face of bigger, stronger boys. I also see their eagerness and willingness to learn, to get better.

8

Hi, Callum! Habagat 2015 

I get to experience baseball moments, however small or grand, in and out of the field. I  also get to see relationships — friendships– being formed.

5

Two teams, One Habagat.

Plus, I get to meet new people, form new friendships of my own.

Incidentally, in all my 7 years of being part of the Club, I do think that this is one of the coolest bunch of parents that I have spent tournament days with. 

These parents cheered like crazy and they supported each player, not just their own sons. And you know what, the players responded. The boys appreciated being cheered on.  The parents gave whatever support they can, the way they knew how. 

What’s commendable, too, was the fact that these parents knew their boundaries and did not overstep them. They let the coaches coach and the players play. Talk about respect.

Going back to my question on why I still do this… Perhaps I still get myself involved in the sport because as I watch the boys grow and learn, I also grow and learn with them.

So that was basically how the week went. Daily baseball games, a little shopping on the side (with a lot of walking)… 

Lots of stories, fun and laughter with fellow parents. Lots of selfies, too.

On our last day, well, we got to spend it with the most important person in Singapore (at least in my book)…

This is home.

So, all that kept me busy this November.

Maybe by the time I get to post this seemingly neverending blog, well, December will be just a day away.  I think I am now ready to get that warm, fuzzy feeling back.  

I will set up our Christmas tree tomorrow, lights and all.

😉 

*********

This blog was written 28th of Nov. 2017. 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. 

1

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…” 😦 

2

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)…

3

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. 

6

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…

22448136_10155618418268758_9101751576723711035_n

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.

7

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).

9

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.

 

 

23435677_10155230277413737_1137968659_n

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.*

15

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??

19

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.

********

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.

brokenheart

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