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Archive for the ‘guilty pleasures’ Category


A few days ago, I posted a blog at Gardens and Empty Spaces, some shots of my garden blooms.  I was excited to see my Amazon Lily in all its white glory. Here it is finally :)

It belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae.

It belongs to the family of Amaryllidaceae.

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That’s  right, I am just borrowing the title from a book I have just read.

Have you ever chosen a book because the title and the book cover make you smile and make you remember something deep, memories that you treasure in your heart? I did just that, three days ago. In between re-reading inspirational and uplifting books for the season of Lent, I managed to find a lovely book by Kelly Moran. It is my first time to read a book from this author. Inspiring romance books are not really my cup of tea but I got curious that it received mostly five stars on Goodreads.  An easy read, amazing and heartwarming tale of  friendship, family relationships,  and getting on with life despite all the setbacks, finding love and meaning  in the end.  I don’t normally post a book review when I blog about a certain book that I’ve enjoyed reading, it’s for you to find out.

A friend once told me that when a book makes you cry then it must really be good. I love the poetic style of the author, the play with words  – I can almost imagine those intense moments, I can almost touch the pages of the family albums and commune with nature  the way it was told in the story. It’s actually one of my best reads so far for my 2015 reading challenge.  And as usual, I had my journal ready to write some quotes that I liked.

Don’t let the past get in the way of the now.

How many times has the past hindered us from making decisions in our life? How many times have we let the past rule our present life?  Learning to let go and learning to move on might not be that easy but sometimes we just have to do it for our peace of mind.

Home is where they love you and care for you. Home is where you go back to when there’s nothing left and you want to find peace again.

What a difference a moment can make.

Speaking of the 50 books I wanted to read this year, with no particular author in mind and no particular book on my list, I have just finished 12. Next in line though are memoirs and the books I have of Mary Oliver.  I want to reread Randy Pausch’ The Last Lecture, it inspired me when I was undergoing chemotherapy. I want to get reacquainted again with Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie. My former surgical oncologist saw a copy I read at the hospital when I underwent surgery more than five years ago and he said it was a good book so I gave him a copy. My cardiologist who was a very caring doctor too saw my pile  and told me I had good choices of books to read. I gave him one too. They are both doctors so they could relate to what ALS is all about.

I just love books. The solitary hours are more meaningful when books take you to places you’ve never been, people you’ve never met and a world probably more interesting than your own.

When the leaves stop falling, you find love.

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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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3082

I set myself to read 50 books this year. Just random titles that I could find in no particular order. I started with e-books but I have a  stash waiting to be read.  I love Goodreads since I am able to view some reviews of several books that I like  to read  including memoirs, biographies and  book of poems but most are fiction books that I found in several trips at Booksale.  There are several volumes (all brand new) that a friend brought home from the US, books that I’ve long wanted to have but never got the chance to find them here. Ah, I forgot, there is one particular book that I want to read this year which was recommended by a fellow blogger. It’s One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp. Maybe when I look and search long enough, I’ll find a copy. Wish me luck.

There was a time when I kept a virtual library at Shelfari but then I forgot my password and most of the books I have listed there are now gone so I have started to create another online library at Goodreads.  I am not pissed off  by some negative reviews of the books I am reading, their choices, their taste in reading and the way they admire the stories are not mine. It does not always follow that when one reader gives it a two-star, you would put it aside because it is not good. Sometimes I am even challenged to read a book with low ratings/reviews.

Goodreads says I am two books ahead of schedule which is roughly translated to 6% of the 50 books I promised myself to read this year.  I am on my fourth book now, a book by Nicholas Sparks. It’s been a while since I read one of his works and the last time was when I joined a large crowd at The Podium for his book signing in 2011. It was the only book-signing event I attended so far but it was a lovely and unforgettable experience.

I found these beautiful  book quotes that I want to share with you.  It’s amazing how reading could take  you anywhere you want to go.

photo courtesy of notecouture.com.au

photo credit:  notecouture.com.au

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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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“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”
–Kahlil Gibran

Please indulge me. I promise I won’t be talking about Christmas anymore until next year.  Where was I? Ah, the beauty of seeing Christmas in the eyes of my two-year old grandson Nate. I think he is old enough now not just to make his eyes wonder at the tinsel hanging on a tree or and the nativity set he kept pointing at because we told him Baby Jesus was born today. In his excited voice, he greeted my brother and a close friend a Merry Christmas via Viber and they said that just hearing his voice was enough to make them smile and remember the significance of this happy season in our lives.

He was asleep when we came home from attending the Christmas  Eve mass last night but when it was time for Noche Buena, he was wide awake. He kept saying, “dami, dami” while looking at the gifts in one corner with his name in lots of the pile. Nissa gifted him with a big Mickey Mouse stuffed toy, almost taller  than he is and some battery-operated toys that he enjoyed playing with. At first he was reluctant to open the big package from Toys R Us. He only saw the back of Mickey and thought it was scary. We were laughing so hard when he finally glimpsed at his favorite Disney animal cartoon character and he embraced it while saying  “Mickey, Mickey” in an excited voice.

Christmas 2014 with Nissa and Nate and Mickey of course...

Christmas 2014 with Nissa and Nate and Mickey of course…

I told Nissa she should have taken a video on Nate’s reaction while playing with his robots and shouting and dancing at the same time – a spontaneous display of joy.  Such a simple thing to make a child laugh and smile and hug his mommy back. Every time I see a child’s  appreciation for what you give him, it reminds me of  how life should be lived – happiness is just within one’s reach if you’ll only learn to appreciate what is around you.  We can surely learn from a child.

Thank you so much for all your Christmas wishes and greetings. I am truly blessed and lucky for having you all as blogging friends.

Do you keep  a  New year’s resolution?  Have you made one?

 

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It should not surprise us that, at the end of a journey, our destination looks different than we imagined at the beginning. It  looks different up close.

I’ve missed you guys. It’s been a while. I got so engrossed reading that I was not so inclined to blog. Christmas stories, fiction or not are always the best reads during the Season. They give you that lift, something that inspire and teach the heart to appreciate simple things in life and enjoy those moments that are sometimes  overlooked in this busy cosmos that we live in.

There is one author that I’ve blogged about more than I can count.  He is an online friend at Facebook. Several years ago, I came across one of his books at National Bookstore but a P600 plus  price tag back then was so expensive for me. I bought it just the same. The first paragraph got me hooked, it was a love affair with Richard Paul Evan’s books since then. His books are not normally carried here so most of the copies that I have are gifts from friends who know  my penchant for collecting his works.  Too bad, I lost some of them five years ago when we were  hit by the disastrous typhoon Ondoy. A week ago, I was talking to a friend thru Viber when she said that she bought two copies of The Mistletoe Promise, the latest book of Richard Paul Evans. It’s one more lovely gift to add to my collection. A bookworm that I am, I searched the net if I could download an e-book copy. I finished it all in one day and he had me crying not because it was a sad story but it was so beautiful, uplifting and warmed my heart more than I care to admit. Richard’s books often make me cry. A story of redemption, forgiveness and love – subjects that I could wholeheartedly relate to. By the way, The Mistletoe Promise is a Christmas love story. I won’t attempt to make a review here, it’s for you to discover.  Richard has just started a blog and he is asking his readers  how often we want him to update it. I said I won’t mind reading a weekly post from him.

Do you keep a journal? I know some of you do. I just added a few wonderful quotes from Richard’s book. He said and I quote, “Anyone can open a book, not everyone can appreciate the beauty of the writing.” What I remember most though are these lines, “Everyone needs an emotional foxhole. A place to hide when life’s storms hit”. Even in the darkness of days, there are oases of joy.

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