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I just have to share this. Another lovely blog post from my favorite author Richard Paul Evans and since he is an online friend at Facebook, I have the privilege of being updated with all his writings. It is a true story about his Christmas Box Foundation which helps abused and neglected children. The Christmas Box is the first novel that he wrote, rejected several times but when he self-published it, that was the start of his being noticed by readers. It is his personal story. He wrote it as a private expression of love for his two young daughters. It was not the first book I read though because I only found a copy years later. I guess that when you have something to say, say it and never mind if nobody listens or nobody reads it.

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Sometimes,I ask myself the same questions and oftentimes too, there is no answer and the easiest way is to give up. There will always be another option than the latter though, that of trying again and never losing faith that eventually, each will fall into place.  I believe that nothing is impossible with God, one kneels down in prayer and if we listen enough, He has the answer. He puts life back into proper perspective and we should not be blind to His call.

More than four years ago, I wrote about how it seems that when we move forward, there would always be something that hinders us but we have to go on making another step. Here’s the full texts of my earlier post:

TWO STEPS FORWARD, ONE STEP BACK

Life is a dance. Sometimes, it is a harmonious fluid movement. We are in sync with the music, utterly attuned to the dance steps, well synchronized with the motion – two steps forward, one step back. Others may lead and others may follow. It is a mad dash to a world of perfect twists and turns, but the journey is not one long road to success and happiness. One wrong move, one wrong turn, one missed step would spell disaster.

We are constantly seeking perfection and excellence in everything we do but there is really nothing perfect in this world that we live in. Life is a meaningless pursuit without challenge. They say that the journeys walked in solitude are always the most remembered. There is something we always learn along the uneven pathways and the most profound events in our lives do not end with the six o-clock news and the setting sun.

Sometimes, I am amused by other people’s reaction upon learning that I have colon cancer and their usual question is “Are you really undergoing chemotherapy? You are looking good“. “Thank you“, I say. My big question is, how should one act and how should one look if you are diagnosed with this kind of ailment? True, it is a life-changing situation but I never think of it as a major setback. I believe that God won’t give us problems that we can’t bear. The agonizing moments that I have endured during the last few months have drawn me closer to God. God has been profoundly real to me, opening my eyes to the realization that not everyone  is privileged to endure even just a tiny prick from what He suffered on the cross. Martin Luther King aptly put it this way, “beneath and above the shifting sands of time, the uncertainties that darken our days, and the vicissitudes that cloud our nights is a wise and loving God“.

Life is a dance, and when we falter in our steps, God is there to do the rest.

(Just clink the link if you want to read RPE’s blog post).

 

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Blogging  about “blogging”  again.

When I checked my dashboard, this is supposedly my 1,600th blog post. Of course, I would not say “I can’t believe it” because for the last five years and nine months I’ve shared my thoughts in cyberspace more particularly at WordPress. I started it more than a year before that but as we all know, when you are a neophyte at WordPress you are almost afraid to share  and you don’t even know how to make your site something worth-visiting. I still believe that the contents matter more than the themes you choose. Sometimes I wonder what all those 1,599 posts are all about, the almost six years have become a metamorphosis, a kind of transformation from just sharing my plight as a cancer patient and survivor to touching on such delicate subjects as love and politics. I love blogging about what I’ve been through in the early years that I found out I had cancer  although at times it pains me to remember those days. When I read the comments and sharing of some of my readers who have been and are in the same journey as I am, I am just overjoyed that this blog has a purpose after all.

I miss some of my blogging friends who just quietly left the scene and  stopped writing and it is sad because I enjoyed their posts. Is it all worth it? Is it worth one’s time to stay in front of a moody computer and fill the blank spaces with what you think about the world, about life and about everything that catches your fancy? I think it is. Looking at my stats summaries, the highest views registered a total of 13,716 in the month of September 2012 and the closing of the same year yielded a total view of 97,386. Top posts remain the archives/homepage but the all time blog entry  that has the highest views is  our first road trip to Tanay back in 2012. I am amazed where those 314,941 total stats (as of this writing) came from because I don’t have that much followers but sometimes the search engines go crazy and point to my posts. Maybe, I am just lucky covering so many subjects almost everyday.

I joined the Post A Day 2011 the whole year. I don’t think I’ll be able to repeat that. Back in 16 January 2012, I regularly posted about the impeachment of Chief Justice CJ Corona (they were busy afternoons glued to the television screen with mom) until the time he was finally issued a final verdict of guilty on 29 May 2012. A friend even commented that I made it easy for those students who were given assignments to share their own views but came up with “copying and pasting” what they saw on the net. There were lots of comments like “thanks po for sharing”   :).

For those blogging friends who are consistently making comments and liking my posts, thank you. For those who visit my site regularly, thank you so much.

Hooray to blogging!  May I ask, what do you find interesting in a blog? You’re welcome to share, thanks.

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I’ve never been good at following “how to’s” unless it’s a complicated recipe that I need to experiment on.  Sure, sometimes they make life easier but it is different from following rules that you have set yourself to do. The step-by-step-numbered rules bore me. I wonder if I am alone in this because sometimes I do encounter blog posts like how to learn to be happy or how to be a good writer or how to make your blog more popular(taken from the point of view of  the author of course) but in real life we each have certain criteria and values that we wish to meet  that we think assure  us of happiness and success. It is like reading a highly recommended book but you find it boring. Short of saying “to each his own” we  have our way of coping and  facing  what is in front of us.  The way you look at things probably depends on how you view life itself. As they always say, you could see a glass half-full or half-empty.  It does not matter whether you’re 30 or 50, maturity comes not in the number you add to your age but in the richness of experience you encounter making you grow and learn a little more.

Now and then, I link some posts at Facebook  just to share with some friends who just want to click it and read. I was never sold to the idea though of  linking it to the app  NetworkedBlogs. Although WordPress is public too, it has a different set of writers/bloggers/readers  and compared to Facebook which is so noisy, I feel safe at WordPress.  Getting across your message to people who love the written words as you do is vastly different from seeing selfies and pictures that speak of what one had for breakfast to where they had dinner all in the same day.  My wall and timeline are set to friends only and I don’t allow my updates to be made public. There are things that you don’t normally share in cyberspace.

The other day, I finally decided to export my blog and copy it to my external hard drive. It is quite scary to lose all of the 1,597 posts  and all the five years of blogging coming to naught so I followed the  advice of a blogger friend, looked at the tools and downloaded export file. I’d like to do the same with my other three blogs.  If you haven’t done it yet, I also suggest you do, for safety.

A friend once said that blogging has become a way of life, do you agree?

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I haven’t blogged for…let me see….almost a week.  And sometimes when you haven’t expressed your thoughts in words for quite a while, it is quite hard to write again.  I am trying to catch up on reading while having coughing fits late at night.  The nights are long and cold while the days are sunny and bright, perfect chances of having runny nose and headache. I am feeling okay now but I have gone lazy blogging. I am grateful though that readers continue to visit my blog  even without a new post.

I miss the shouts and laughter of my grandson who spent a long weekend with us. Hearing his voice asking about this and that, being so curious about everything he see are quite welcome changes to an otherwise silent and quiet household. I am just amazed of the things Nate learned for a month that we haven’t seen him.  He has a favorite word now. He would say “later” when he is not inclined to take his milk, when he is not yet sleepy and when you ask a question that he thinks would be okay for later. Hahaha, funny how you can learn something from a two-year old child. Time is of the essence of course and sometimes you think time is running out  and you do your bit of everything in a hurry. That word later made me realize that I might have done it wrong,trying to do everything in one go  but you can enjoy the moment and do things later. He would just say I want milk when he is hungry and water please when he wants a drink. Learning to relax I think is one luxury that we have somehow forgotten and the smile, warm hugs and embraces of a child reminds you to take time out from this so-called busy life and just enjoy the moment.

I told my kids that the feeling was like celebrating Christmas Eve and looking forward to Christmas day. Imagine having midnight snack of a crispy bagnet (pork belly which is the Ilocano version of lechon kawali) with steamed rice at 1am, precious moments sharing a meal at an ungodly hour and having the time of your life listening to their stories. Waking up late and enjoying a  sumptuous  breakfast accompanied by Nate’s shouts of “yummy, yummy”, what more could you ask for?

Every year, Nissa gives me a copy of Bank of PI’s planner/journal featuring selected artworks from the BPI Art Collection. This year, they have Contemporary Realism. There is a featured contemporary artist for every month along with the original picture of the paintings and enlarged copies in another page. It’s almost too good to use as a planner. The cover is a painting from my favorite artist, Manuel Baldemor.

Precious moments, unhurried time enjoying the beauty of the now, making memories, finding treasures in simple things, I guess these more than make up for the days we haven’t seen each other,  just hearing each other’s voices on the line.

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Good morning!

Just an observation, I know I am not alone in this. I just wonder why some bloggers always say sorry that they haven’t written a post in a while. Such profusion of apologies which may not be necessary at all. Believe me, unless they follow your blog every minute of the day and read  your post every time you click publish, they would not even notice. It is so easy to click FOLLOW (just so maybe they would follow you back) but then sometimes you forget that you have followed a hundred blogs and didn’t even visit half of it except the time you admired that one particular post, except that time your thoughts were in sync with the writer’s words.

I’d rather they click like or even leave a few comments than have lots and lots of followers  who don’t even give a thought to say hi or hello, (sometimes, I am guilty of this). I know, I know, you are not obliged but wouldn’t it be a better blogging world if we interact? Having a silent blog is just like keeping a private diary that nobody is allowed to read. Being published publicly is something else.

What you write defines you in a sense. One gets a glimpse of how you view things around you, how you look at life through your writings, how you share, how you express yourself.  One could write simply and still deliver the message across. One could convey a lovely  message in a single photograph.

Years ago I found this lovely book of Stephen King entitled On Writing (A  Memoir of the Craft). I was completely enthralled reading it.  It was one of the best books I’ve ever read about writing. Keep it simple without those highfalutin words.

“Let’s get one thing clear right now, shall we? There is no Idea Dump, no Story Central, no Island of the Buried Bestsellers; good story ideas seem to come quite literally from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up”.

“One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.”

I hear you sir! I don’t write  to impress but to share some thoughts that may inspire others in the process and that alone is one big reason why I blog.

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The other day, I thought of challenging myself to write every day this year. I did that in 2011 and that was when fellow bloggers added me up and commented on my posts.  Before, I never thought of blogging as something that could become like an obsession in self-expression. My early entries were all about survival – about health, about attitude towards life itself, about faith but above all, it was about almost a year of being tied  at home. My days were spent on the road going to and from the hospital, seeing several doctors, having those much dreaded lab tests and always the nervous waiting at the ambulatory care unit for more sessions of chemotherapy. That alone taxes one’s strength. I thank God for miracles and blessings – I am a survivor!

I read the comments some of my blogger friends posted lately and I am greatly touched that at one time in their lives, they were somehow inspired by some posts here.  Particular mention goes to Kay who said that she found my blog at a most trying time in her life back in 2013. May I quote you here Kay? “I believe that it’s heaven’s hands at work when I found you and the blog! Thank you for reading my words too.” As bloggers, we always look forward to the time that we get noticed in the cyberworld. Never mind that there are more gifted writers out there and you could never compare yourself to them.

Writing is addictive, do you agree?  There is that certain euphoria, a sudden lift of joy from the heart as soon as your pen begins to touch the pristine pages in front of you or at the moment you position your fingers on the keyboard and form the first sentence.  You dream of course that some people would find  and notice you but what really is more fulfilling is you are attuned with your feelings and your thoughts are like small jewels that come unbidden and you smile like crazy because you have started a dream. Sometimes, you just stare at the blank page or at the white screen in front of you and wonder what you will write about – then you write about “writing” because you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts. Blogging blues you might say but the euphoria is still there.

I promised myself that 2015 would be my “reading year” and fifty books to read would probably be enough. One book a week would not be bad. Have I told you that I have a draft on the list of books I read last year? It was never updated because I got tired of listing one more book as soon as I finished it. The excitement continues, turn the page and be lost in it.

 

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I am reviving (oops, that sounds like it’s dying), I have updated my other blog Gardens and Empty Spaces by posting lots of pictures I took of our garden in the province when I last visited there. I have neglected it for so long and it looks pathetic.  I set that up so I could separate the photos from the usual shots that I take to go with my blog posts. May I invite you to visit me there too and maybe follow if you like?  Thank you.

It’s a rainy New Year this side of town, just enough drizzle to wash away the dirt and grime brought by endless firecrackers which our neighbors lit last night.  The fireworks were lovely to watch but they added to the polluted air and brought more toxins which are so harmful to all living things. The firecrackers were something else though, it felt like we were in the middle of a war zone a few minutes before and after 12am. Even Kuchi, our Japanese Spitz hid herself under the bed. Despite the warnings from the Department of Health and reminders from  Pres. PNoy, Metro Manila was a bedlam. I don’t know why they don’t want to ban it completely. There are cities that have designated some areas for fireworks, I wonder why every city and town could not do the same. Waste of money and so dangerous because most of the victims are children who don’t know anything better or are just too stubborn to listen.

It’s the first day of 2015,  the start of another 364 days wait. How was your new year celebration?

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