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This morning, I received these greetings with the same familiar logo of WordPress.

Happy Anniversary with WordPress. com. You registered on WordPress. com 8 years ago. Thanks for  flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.

Thanks WordPress. Has it really been that long? I know I registered eight years ago but  it took me more than a year to actively start blogging. I didn’t know how to customize a theme. I didn’t even know what to blog about even if  back then, I had separate blogs on Multiply and Friendster. Unofficially, Dreams and Escapes  would be turning seven come May.

It’s been a long journey, finding your own niche in the blogging world using a popular site like WordPress. It’s been a long journey, giving a voice to what’s on your mind, tucking the fragments  of time in one’s memory, stringing words to make a long post, creating poems  and being amazed at the joys of taking photos, experimenting on macro photography. It’s been a long journey of faith and  hope.

The pleasure one gets when you publish something, the delight in reading and answering comments, the luxury of having loyal online friends who look forward to every post and the pleasure of  reading other posts and discovering  new blogs and writers – priceless.

I have five blogs in all with separate and different entries on each one.  Obsessed? Not really. Blogging has become a catharsis for me over the years. When life’s angst glares at  you in the face,  writing heals a little of the hurts and pains that it brings. Sharing the joys and inspirations will always be a priority though.  I have a  total of 1,766 posts excluding this one.1,545 followers and a total of 392,386 views as of this writing.  I don’t follow my stats on my other blogs. A while ago, WordPress informed me that I am getting upward spike on my Garden and  Empty Spaces blog. I haven’t updated the site for a long time.

Eight years! Time flies!

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I was quite surprised to see my stats today. For two consecutive days, I received notifications from WordPress that said, “Your stats are booming! DREAMS AND ESCAPES is getting lots of traffic.”  You feel elated when you see something like this and thankful that people read what you write about.  There was an  upswing  on my previous posts as far back as 2011. I don’t know why. Back then, likes and comments were a rarity.  I don’t remember if there were “like” features several years ago but I used to get around 300 to 400 visits a day  back then. Have things changed? I don’t know because lately, that was cut in half but still a sizable figure for an unknown blogger like me. I would still blog even without those likes and comments but then I have to admit that one becomes inspired when fellow bloggers follow your posts and leave wonderful comments in the process.

You might laugh at this but I still use the old format when adding a post. I am not making excuses but it is easier to write and edit your post in the old  format. Don’t make the mistake of re-editing though because it will revert back to the new one.  Maybe, I am really getting old, comfortable with what I am used to. It’s like those rituals that makes life easier – you have perfected waking up early, playing with the dogs at 6am, watering the plants and cleaning the garden of leaves and debris brought about by hanging amihan (northeast monsoons that bring cold dry air from icy Siberia), finding new blooms and wanting to capture them with your camera freezing the images forever, a snip of unwanted branches here and there and yes, getting hold of a good book when the chores are done.  Life is simple and I find joy and happiness in simple things. Even  listening to early morning news or a music program on my transistor radio while I am out in the garden is a bliss. More reasons to smile:)

There is an advantage of writing a post every day. You won’t feel that dry spell or what others conveniently calls  writer’s block.  You have all the ideas and words running riot in your head but you can’t seem to create a sentence that would fill the blank page in front of you.  You want to write about this and that but you don’t know where to start.  When you do it every  day, it seems easier though. I don’t think I could duplicate writing  daily. It really is a challenge for me now.

Writing out loud, hearing your voice in cyberspace, making friends, discovering new places, reading interesting blog posts and seeing those meaningful, lovely and beautiful captures shared by other bloggers – these make blogging worthwhile. It’s like writing a book of short stories on different subjects (sometimes emotions are played to the hilt) and sharing how life is in your corner of the world.

Did I say that this is my 1,762nd post?

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Gosh, the sudden morning rain prevented me again from finishing my garden chores but I am glad I don’t have to water the plants. Everything looks so green and fresh. Gone are the dusts clinging  to the leaves of the plants.

I’ve focused my time and efforts  just updating this site that I forgot I have to visit and post a thing or two to my other blogs. I must admit it is quite hard to maintain several blogs.  The thing is, years ago I  have decided to separate my gardening blog, photos, my blog posts on Nate and lately a new platform which I could use when I fully consume my allowed limits here. Got 29% more to go before it ends. Hopefully, without posting so many photos, I could still use this in the next year or two.

This morning (finally) I updated my gardening blog called Gardens and Empty Spaces, I really hope you’ll find time to visit it too. My intro page is quite long but you can find it on the widget sidebar, an easier way to know the gardener behind the garden:) I  also included some excerpts on my latest blog posts at my other sites.

Hop in, you are welcome to visit my backyard garden.

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I can’t believe it. January is almost gone and all I have are eleven  blog posts since the start of the month. The past days, I  struggled with using my tab when posting. It really came in handy while my  old computer has finally gone kaput on me, buried for good this time.  I am using a new one which Josef gave me as a late Christmas gift complete with a 17″ monitor and  is wi-fi ready. This is actually my first post using it.  I don’t know, it might be a blessing in disguise since I was able to catch up on my reading  ( I am on my 10th book on the reading challenge on Goodreads).  One thing I’ve missed while using my tab was the proof-reader.  Sometimes you’ll never know that in the course of typing what is running in your head, you misspell a word that never gets corrected even if you edit your post once or twice.  I am not a lover of the auto-correct features of my cellphones and tab. I often have to go back, erase and retype words since the former  inserts  something far from what I have in mind. It’s crazy, more so when I am texting in Tagalog and it does not have an equal word to substitute.

Thank you so much to those fellow bloggers who recently followed my blogs and thank you too to  those visitors who left inspiring comments on my old posts.  I’ve reached more than 385,000 stats a few minutes ago. It’s a milestone for me.  I didn’t really expect that I’ll get to have this number of visitors in my six years of blogging.  There was a time  during the early years when having a 20 to 50 views in a day was enough for me  but then there are loyal followers and online friends here who visit regularly. Added to that are the views I get daily from my posts as a cancer survivor.  My old posts are more popular than the new ones:)

I still get excited publishing a new post. I  am happy seeing new followers and likes.  Of course they add to the joy of writing, getting noticed that is. I try to limit each post from a minimum of 300 words to around 500 words at the most.  It is easier to read a shorter post than a lengthy one.

Where has January gone? February is slowly inching its way. I hope it would bring inspirations for me to blog often and update my other blogs too which I have neglected too long.

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Back in 2015, I committed to read at least  50 books and by July, I successfully finished the reading challenge  at Goodreads. The official count was 79 books but based on my own list, I almost read a hundred. I forgot to  update Goodreads  with some of the titles that I read, some chick lit and Ya books  which one could finish in a day or two. Unaccounted were some book of poems that I don’t need to finish in one  reading. There are books that truly inspire and I usually read them again and again. This year  I am challenging myself to read 100 books, an eclectic mix of poems, historical novels, fiction, memoirs and some classic books that I found last year. I have just finished Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book and in the middle of  reading the third book of the century trilogy  by Ken Follett entitled Edge of Eternity. It’s a tome, maybe an equivalent of three romance  books or chick lit. I love the story though, it happened at the time Kennedy was the US president and when Martin Luther King was a revered figure of the black population in America. It happened when East Germany put up a dividing wall preventing its  population to cross West Germany.  I guess this is the best of the three books. It’s really hard to put it down.

If you find some words here that are clearly misspelled, blame it on the autocorrect feature of my tab.I am really finding it hard to publish a new post  and check the blogs I follow here.  Hopefully, everything goes back to normal in  a month or two. Who am I kidding, I wonder if I could last that long without eyestrain.

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When you are used to writing and sharing your thoughts online, the day  seems kind of lacking when you can’t blog. It’s not because you were lazy but simply because you were busy. The truth is, my computer finally gave up on me. Josef says it is time to change our CPU.

I will have to get used to writing a post through my tab. I hate this auto-correct feature of new phones nowadays because I tend to correct more words in the process and typing letters on one finger is gross :)  I have a new phone with an 8MP camera  which Nissa gave me as a gift last Christmas. Imagine using three phones with four separate numbers in three networks. I wonder how I will attach photos here since  my  Canon Ixus  cam app is in my documents file. Really crazy!

Have you ever heard of a Himalayan salt lamp? A friend gifted me with one last Christmas. I swear sometimes I can’t even hear the alarm clock  because I was deep in slumberland. It has health properties. I made some research on its benefits and there are lots. Another friend asked me where I bought it, she used to have one but it was destroyed by a typhoon years ago. Here’s how it looks when it is  lighted.

image

Here’s hoping for more fruitful days of blogging. Here’s hoping to meet more wonderful bloggers here on WordPress. Have a nice day everyone:-)

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I know this post comes late but it is never too late to wish you all a blessed, prosperous and happy new year. It’s been a while and I feel I was away from WordPress for too long. I am just using my tab to write. Since I am not used to a limited and small screen,  I am finding it hard to do so.

I want to say a big THANK YOU for all those online friends who have been with me the past few years, those who have regularly clicked like  and commented on my posts. Thanks too for my new followers, I hope you’ll find something worth-reading here. Thank you as well to those  talented and creative bloggers I follow here,  for sharing your lovely and inspiring thoughts and beautful photos.

And to WordPress, having a total of 73,000 views for 2015 is quite amazing, thank you. Cheers to more blogging, meeting more online friends and reading all those wonderful posts from all of you.

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