Inspirations #cherishedblogfest

enriquez-boys

A picture of My New Family taken last Father’s Day

I was rummaging through the drawer last night then turned to see the little boy looking at me.

“Oh, you’re awake? Go back to sleep.”

“You’re leaving again?” He knew I was going home last night but my stepsons were already asleep when I got there.

I felt a tug at my heart. “Let me give you a kiss.” I went to their bed and he stretched out his arm for a hug and I planted a kiss on his cheek. Then I planted one on the cheek of his brother who was in dreamland.

“It’s just midnight. I’m not going yet. Go back to sleep.” So he did.

 

…Times like this make me think that even though people have lots of opinions on how we–I–raise our kids, I must be doing something good, too. I tend to be strict with the kids, with the bigger one most of the time. Then I feel guilty always afterwards. But times like this, when I feel they don’t hate me…they make me stronger and want to try to be the best mom again,  at least, for them, try and try.

They inspire me despite the hardships. I love my new family, no matter what others say, no matter who they are. I will fight for them if I have to.

 

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The Cherished Blogfest runs for three days (July 29-31). You can still participate as there’s still hours to go till the…uh…horizontally challenged lady sings! Just go to their OFFICIAL BLOG…By the way, my cherished “thing” is family, so here is my new family.

How do I Love Thee #cherishedblogfest

my-baby

This is an ultrasound of one of my precious babies that I never got to hold

 

How do I love thee?

How I wish I could count the ways and tell you and your sister just how and how much.

But how could I when you left and broke my heart into many, many pieces?

 

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The Cherished Blogfest runs for three days (July 29-31). You can still participate! Just go to their OFFICIAL BLOG.

My Family #cherishedblogfest

my-family-at-the-zoo

That’s me with my parents and my big sister at the zoo on my 5th birthday. I remember being very scared of the giraffe…Forgive the torn part and the overlapping pic

I had been thinking really hard about what to share. In the end, I still decided on my family’s picture, my family before my new one now. I didn’t want it to be cliche, usual, common. But when it comes down to it, what do I cherish, treasure most, really? It’s my family. Aren’t you like me? Except my family will never be the same again. I hope yours isn’t like that yet.

My parents left forever in 2012, as those who have followed me long enough already know, and they know I keep coming back to talking about my family. That’s ’cause you never forget family, your parents who were good to you, who fed you, sheltered you, loved you even in their own way.  And you know in your heart that no matter what others say, your parents know how you loved them, in your own way as well.

There’s never really enough time to show and tell your loved ones you love them.

 

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The Cherished Blogfest runs for three days (July 29-31). You can still participate! Just go to their OFFICIAL BLOG.

Lani’s Universe #FeatureFriday

It’s #FeatureFriday, folks! I was going to do this two weeks ago, buuut an idea popped into my head. Well, somebody sort of gave me an idea. I decided giving a voice recording post a go. UNFORTUNATELY, my resources fell short of making that a reality for now.

Now! Just to explain, for #FeatureFriday that’s supposed to come out every two weeks, I will be featuring people, places and things. Primarily, I aim to introduce blogs and/or bloggers I like and sites I enjoy. This is my way of thanking them for adding joy into my life. 🙂

So first up, we’ve got…

lani-v-cox-blog

Lani V. Cox is an American expat with Thai and Chinese roots. Her whole story as to how she became American, she has already shared in her blog. It’s an interesting story, I promise. Read the About page. Whenever you visit a blog, always read the About page to get to know the blogger more and…well, because I said so! No buts!

lani-v-coxI’ve been blog friends with Lani V. Cox since 2014, I think (I did some checking). Sometimes, we kind of lose touch with each other, not that we’re personal friends as we just met here in the blogosphere. She becomes busy, I become busy, or both of us become busy. That’s why we are unable to blog at times or to actually follow blogs we have committed to follow.  Such is the life of a blogger.

Lani has been to different places, often for work. So she’s had a taste of various cultures and these, she unselfishly shares to her readers. Her blog’s about teaching (her profession), writing and traveling.

Sometimes, she waxes nostalgic, but usually, she shares how life is where she’s currently at, the people she meets at times, the places she goes to, her job, her living conditions, anecdotes here and there. As I love to learn about other cultures, she certainly gives me lessons by bits and pieces. It also makes me snicker or smile whenever she mentions stuff in Southeast Asia that I, as a Southeast Asian, can relate to, good or bad–it’s my cue for a good, little online tete-a-tete. What I love most about her is her free spirit and sense of humor, plus the fact that she gave me my first-ever blog award, he he!

I think shethe-missing-teacher‘s one of those people that others almost-immediately warms up to. She’s smart, too, which keeps me going back to her blog. I like her voice very much–listen to her audio-recording of posts (do you now have an inkling of who made me think of audio-recording mine?).

Her writing can be quite engaging and–oh, speaking of writing!–she’s written a book!!! (nice segue, eh? *wink*). It’s called the missing teacher, but don’t ask me why the title’s in small caps as I haven’t asked her yet. In her own words,

the missing teacher explores the personality of education, looks into one of the most controversial education systems, and is a story about the education of self.

Ooh, makes you want to get a hold of it, yah? Do get a hold of it!

So, guys, get with it and visit Lani at her blog Life, the Universe and Lani. I wouldn’t give her this award if she’s not worth it. Oops, yeah, I forgot to mention that. Featured bloggers automatically get the Blogger Recognition Award (click on the image below to know more).

Hey, Lani! This is yours! Feel free to do what you want with this wonderful award 🙂

blogger-recognition-award

Free Site Audit Test Tools #TuesdayTips

Welcome back to #TuesdayTips.

website-checksTwo to three years ago (I am not sure now), I guest-blogged and wrote site auditing tips. It’s called How to Improve Site Performance? Audit, for Business’ Sake! If you’ve closely followed my blog (*my wishful thinking, kindly allow me this*), you’ll know how THAT ended up in my own blog now. If not, check out my message at the bottom of the page there.

There are a couple of things there worth updating, nevertheless, they’re still very useful. The article isn’t really just for businesses, but for anyone who is or wants to run a website, personal or otherwise. I do have to say that you can also apply some of them on your own free blog if you have the time, after all, we are allowed to choose themes and customize, among other things.

For today, though, I thought it best to share links to some of the tools you can use in auditing your site and even in doing a little Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Marketing (SEM). I will just share some of the basics. You can use these tools for free to check site and page health, some of which will offer more insights so try to mind them. They do often offer paid plans, so expect that the free plans have less features. Totally up to you if you’d like to take their paid offers. Some sites, while free to use, will require registration/logins so they can give you more in-depth results.

These should really be good for quick checks only. Still, you’ll have to do research to understand them better. Do click on the links…Enjoy!!!

website-health-check

MALWARE CHECK

What is “malware”?

TOOLS:

Sucuri

Google Transparency Report

PAGE LOAD SPEED

The faster the page speed, the better.

TOOLS:

PageSpeed Insights

Pingdom Website Speed Test

Varvy.com Page Speed Optimization

ROBOTS.txt

Robots.txt Explained

Why? Check if your site’s being crawled.

TOOLS:

Varvy.com Check

SEO SiteCheckup

OnPage.org

KEYWORDS SEARCH

Understanding Keywords

TIP: If you are allowed to check, choose high-volume but low-competitive keywords

TOOLS:

SEO Book Keyword Tool

Keyword Tool

WordStream Keyword Tool

MORE IN-DEPTH SEO/SEM TOOLS

NOTE: They are more complicated, but you can get ideas from the results.

TOOLS:

Hubspot’s Website Grader

SimilarWeb.com

SEMrush.com

Moz’s Open Site Explorer

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 For some more tips on stuff, feel free to visit these pages: Wordsmithereens Niche, Tips Jar

It Came Storming In #MondayMemoirs

Facebook did well to remind me the other day about Glenda. Perfect for #MondayMemoirs.

my-fb-post-on-storm

Two years ago, while I had not really recovered yet from my parents’ passing-away, Typhoon Glenda decided to add insult to injury.

I came home with a bruised and almost-cut upper lip from hurrying and slipping face-first on the pavement. It was disaster I came home to. The roof over my sister’s old room partially came off and was found in the neighbor’s yard. The ceilings leaked dirty-brown on the walls. The floors were flooded. Sheets and things were wet and stained for good. The gate was useless. The fence was completely down on the ground. Trees and all other debris were, too…

I wanted to cry. In fact, I was tearing up while my then-boyfriend/now-husband and I were trying to scrub all the dirt off the walls. I felt so sad for my parents who built the house for our family. I felt sad because there were still problems I was going through that my parents were not able to solve. I did not know how exactly to go from there. Thank God for my other half who made things a little bit easier and less lonely.

The effects of this event are still certainly felt until now. It led to a confrontation that I tried to avoid but had no choice–it was a matter I could not let pass, one of those important things my parents left unsolved. It led to more problems in the coming years, with people taking sides, bad-mouthing the “enemies”, back-stabbing the supposed “allies”, doing the same to me, or sometimes to the point of others trying to run my life (you know, if you don’t follow their advice/suggestion, or you so much as say a word to the enemy, you are labeled a traitor).

It didn’t matter that I didn’t talk to the other side because they said so and I was just trying to keep the peace, then I would find out they talked to the other side. Or that one kept saying she was mad at our allies and wasn’t talking to them anymore, but guess who keeps talking to them until now and sends to me their messages of disapproval of how my new family and I are doing things wrong all the time.

I wish Glenda never paid a visit. Maybe things still wouldn’t be solved, but maybe we would be in a lot less mess than this. The house has never been the same again. Just like me. We’re still trying to pick up the pieces.

 

 

Lost

This is me. Not Me, Me. But she portrays someone who could very well be me. I was laughing!!!

I admit, it’s funny. It’s not exactly a laughing matter, though. I know there are people like me who have a problem with their sense of direction. However, how I was exhibiting this was worrying me somewhat as I felt that I wasn’t normal anymore. Well, I Googled the other day and it turned out, I was both right and wrong.

While I felt better to find out that there are more of us out there who are like this, I just confirmed that it’s still a brain issue, one of several possible ones. (Just Google and you’ll see–er–read what I mean). It is also very possible that we didn’t use to be this way. That got me into thinking, “Heeey…come to think of it, I don’t remember being this way either when I was a kid.” So I wonder what caused this…

Luckily, it’s often not something really serious. And lucky for me again, while I do get lost at times, I always reach my destination. At times, I am even able to do remember directions. I’m not hopeless! I just need to be more observant of where I am, of the landmarks, of anything that should be easy to remember.

But it is funny 😉

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Is this you, too? Share to us your experiences and so will I. I’ll share to you mine if you’ll share to me yours. Deal?

Truth or Myth? #ThrowbackThursday

Alright, I almost forgot that it’s #ThrowbackThursday day, he he…I was thinking that it’s redundant with my #MondayMemoirs earlier, but then I realized how to differentiate. On Mondays, I’ll post about something “new,” something I haven’t shared in my old blog. On Thursdays, I’ll share posts from my more personal (technically old) blog…That okay?

Now on with the show! Er…post!

Back when I posted this, either I just wanted to or I was delusional that I thought people would be interested in me (I sometimes am still, just check out my About J.Gi page…Narcissistic-much?). But there it was anyway. Reading this made me think that people really change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, or they just…change.

TRUTH OR MYTH?

Last week, I had the chance to meditate due to the fact that I was almost always alone in the office for three days (Bliss!). Considering that generally, my days just flow by nicely and uneventful, and since it is often unpleasant when they are eventful, I think it’s time for Truth or Myth Part 2. Here are comments often/sometimes/once made about me, and my say on each matter. So, FACT or FICTION?

1. “You’re so obsessed!” I was told this some months ago, in light of my so-called obsession with CATS The Musical, the kitten Jemima, Veerle Casteleyn, Lea Salonga, and musicals in general…FICTION. I call it passion. Unfortunately, sometimes passion is mistaken for obsession…

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If you’re heading to the actual post, thank you in advance. I am redirecting you there to avoid redundant pages. Feel free to give a comment here or there, whichever suits you:)

 

The TKD Princess #AskWednesday

As I mentioned two weeks ago, every two weeks, it’s going to be #AskWednesday, when I post interviews I’ve done and other interviews I find interesting on the Net. I am not looking for just a particular type of interviewees or writeups or topic. It’s going to be stuff and people that interest me because, hey, that’s what my blog’s about. I never always stick to just one topic because not every reader likes this or likes that–I’d like to make, at least, one person go away smiling or feel it wasn’t a waste of his/her time.

martial-artsFor this week, I am posting a loooooong-overdue interview that I did a few years back with the intention of posting here. It was to be about three different martial artists I know. Can you tell I like martial arts (MA)? One of them, I think he said yes, then later on ignored my questions. Another answered me very well, but I had a hard time translating his deep Filipino words, I wasn’t sure if I got them right (we’re both Filipinos but he’s not Tagalog like me so I didn’t want to misinterpret his Tagalog). I will try to review/re-edit then ask his permission to post one of these days.

Today, I introduce to you my long-time friend, “TKD Princess”. I wish I could tell you her real name, but she specifically told me she didn’t want it revealed and I respect her decision and reasons. I call her that because she is a Tae Kwon Do (TKD) artist. I’d rather not mention what belt color to keep her anonymous. TKD, by the way, is Korea’s well-known MA. Sorry, no personal pics.

Here goes…

tae-kwon-do

Okay, this looks a lot more like me than my friend, LOL!!!!!

1. What made you decide to take up martial arts?

I always wanted to learn a martial art, that began when I was six years old, but my parents didn’t allow it and back then, there weren’t clubs available. I also understood their concern, too, since I was always sickly, so years had to go by before I was physically able to take up one.

2. Who or what made you decide on your chosen MA?

No one in particular influenced me to take up TKD. I eventually gravitated to TKD on my own since there wasn’t a club then that was teaching Kung Fu, which I wanted to learn when I was kid. I was entranced by all the Saturday afternoon Chinese movie specials, TV series, and movies revolving around a particular martial art form.

I bought a lot of martial arts magazines before so it helped me get acquainted with the style techniques–I read interviews from instructors overseas and on what activities a dojo or club usually got involved in.

3. Why choose TKD in particular? What do you like about it or get out of it?

I chose TKD because it was the only available MA being taught in town that time. I didn’t like going very far to learn a martial art and I was starting to get drawn to this type, anyway. I also felt I was going to be happy learning this one. I think, any form of martial art, in my case, TKD…I like how it taught me to calm my chaotic mind. The training helped me improve my concentration, discipline, endurance, stamina, perseverance, integrity and awareness.

4. What does your MA require of its artists?

It teaches indomitable spirit, develops fair play, trains one to be a good leader, gives a sense of balance between oneself and the environment. Yes, it’s a philosophy that I noticed when learning the forms – the TKD basic tenets.

karate-girl

I know the original Karate Kid was a guy, but don’t do a Ghostbuster-a-bustin’ on me and ask me why I preferred showing Hilary Swank instead

5. What separates it from others?

I believe each martial art is different when it comes to forms, styles, and sparring rules. TKD employs close fists and flying kicks. Karate, I believe is open-hand, and I don’t know what else. I think you need to ask a Karate practitioner. What separates TKD from others could be the belt levels and the complexity of the styles and forms. I haven’t studied a different form to compare, but I heard Karate has more complex forms, but I’m not sure.

6. How has it helped you? Have you been able to use your knowledge/skills? In what way?

The results of the training helped me keep watch of my diet, focus on the importance of regular exercise,…it was a confidence builder…[it] improved my perseverance  and developed in me an indomitable spirit should situations just had to hurtle the wrong way for me. I hope in the future, I won’t be using my skills in street-fighting.

7. Other people say MAs are violent. Has anyone ever said that to you? Do you agree? If yes, why do/did you continue?

yin-yang

The balance of Yin and Yang

No one said that to me. I don’t agree, but it certainly falls on the choices of the individual. Did that person just enter a martial art school just for bragging rights to his friends, to make him feel superior amongst his friends?

It is sad to hear that an individual uses the skills learned for violence against others. This is not coinciding with the spirit of a martial art. TKD develops integrity, humility, courtesy, perseverance, self-control and indomitable spirit. I continued with TKD because I wanted to fulfill a childhood dream of mine.

8. Are you trying out other MAs? (please specify) Why?

I only took TKD.

9. Any other MA you’d like to try? Why?

I would like to try Wushu or Tai Chi because they’re soft-style martial arts, quite different from TKD which employs hard-style martial arts.

10. What made you continue or stop doing Martial Arts?

I unfortunately stopped training when I started working full-time. It was, I think, a wrong move for me and I wish I had continued even if just by going through the forms and kicking forms for regular exercise maintenance. So now, I’m starting the slow process of getting back to it. [Ed. Since this interview was done a few years back, we’ll have to find out if she has gone back to training]

11. Any tips and advice for aspiring martial artists?

If one plans to learn a martial art, it would be best to check out the nearest gyms in the area that are offering different styles or whatever is available, choose the top three martial arts you feel you’d like to learn, and then ask if you can be permitted as an observer during their routine workout.

Get acquainted with the training session because it helps in conditioning you mentally before getting into the training itself. It also pays researching online for the martial arts you want to check out. It helps getting used to seeing people tumbling on the floor, going on weird postures while executing forms, etc., just to lessen the self-consciousness or awkwardness. Of course, before executing a simple form, the instructor will always start from the basic. YouTube can be an avenue for you to view forms, workout routines and competition circuits.

martial-artists

No Other Love #MondayMemoirs

#MondayMemoirs…

The whole weekend, even the week before, I kept thinking what best to share. I could not decide, and the WiFi was acting up, and there were lots of drama with the kids. Sunday went by without me posting anything.

This Monday is especially relevant to me — it’s my mother’s birthday. Yesterday, as I was to go back to our house, a beautiful butterfly flew around me. Here, many believe that departed loved ones make their presence known by presenting themselves as butterflies. People, especially non-Filipinos, will think it’s just coincidence I saw that butterfly. I would like to believe no. This sort of thing has been happening on the right occasions. I told her aloud, “No, I didn’t forget you.”

In the evening, I lit a candle. Normally, it would be gone after almost an hour. More than an hour passed, I incidentally turned to where the altar was and the candle was still burning, hardly got shorter. Almost two hours, almost three hours…I finally forgot to check, then I remembered and saw it was almost gone.

I’d like to think it was her letting me know she’s there still loving me, supporting me…

I never forget. And so I’m going back to this post to pay tribute to my beloved mother…

Mahal kita, Mame.

The End Justifies the Journey

September 18  was supposedly my mother’s birthday. Well, according to the National Statistics Office (NSO), that is, which we found erroneous because how could she teach for more than 30 years, how could she start at all, if she claimed to being born on July 18 and her birth certificate then said otherwise (of course it said July 18!)? And she just found out after retirement?…One of those government glitches, for sure. In fact, they gave her another name that I teased her with every time it was July or September 18. “Hey, Teresa, isn’t it your birthday?” She was never a Teresa.

She was a Luningning, meaning brilliance. She was brilliant. Longing to prove herself, she persevered in school and got rewarded with high grades. Finding herself struggling with Math, she faced the challenge and proved her mettle, ironically thrusting herself later in the field of Math education. It was…

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