The A to Z Challenge Announcement #atozchallenge

Finally! I had been visiting their site several times already, but no word from them until last January 30. The news is, well, they will announce it on February 6, whatever that is. Oh, the suspense!

So for all of you bloggers/writers out there who would like to be more prolific, are looking to meet new friends in the blogosphere, or are hoping to be somewhat recognized for your work, why not start with the A to Z Challenge? It’s not a contest, mind you, but a community of bloggers/writers who join for a specific goal: to write on topics that start from A to Z for the whole month of April, Sundays not included. I will be very bold to guess that the announcement will include something that has to do with the number of April days this year as I checked more than a week prior and April is one-letter short.

Visit the site and sign-up to join. Don’t worry, it’s all free. Do read the guidelines as well…Happy blogging!

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I Have YOU in My Heart #atozchallenge2015

Prayers for YOU, my little ones.

For my Beautiful JAMIE and ZOE — I may not see you but I know in my heart how absolutely lovely you both are. Today was supposed to be your real birthday, but just the same, Happy Birthday, my dear Zoe

Mama and Papa love you both.

Please tell God to send us another sister for your kuyas.

This time, please tell Him to let her stay for good.

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I have decided to finish my 2015 A to Z Challenge today. I have been thinking about what Y and Z words matter to me most and, for the life of me, I always come back to “YOU” and “ZOE”. It’s supposed to be Zoe’s birthday today, the estimated due date,  and I could not let it pass anymore. So I decided to dedicate this post to both my babies…Please consider this challenge finally done. At least, it has made the challenge more meaningful to me…

X Marks My Not-Really-Bucket List #atozchallenge2015

bucket-list

I know why they call it the Bucket List. Popularized by a Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson movie (which I liked, by the way), it referred to a list we all used to refer to as Things to Do Before I Die. Before I kick the bucket, to be more figurative yet clear about it.  It’s a list of things you just have to do in this lifetime. If you’ll believe every person that makes one, there should be no room for doubts, no ifs, no buts.  Somehow, it seems like a race against time, trying to do everything that’s on the list because, really, who knows when you’re going to die?

I’ve always wanted to write down my own list since I was young, but I haven’t gotten around to doing so. I guess now is as good a time as any. I’m not going to call it Bucket List, though. Understandably, we all have wishes, goals, ambitions, and I do, too. But I am not going to stress myself to death over them. If it’s my time to die, then so be it. I won’t let the bucket hit me back on the head on my way ‘out’. (I know, I know, that’s not how to say it. It does seem appropriate, ‘no?) I believe that if you get too caught up trying to accomplish everything that’s on the list, you just might forget the other things that should really matter to you. Too many lists I see that are all about ME, ME, ME.

Anyway, my next post is my list and I’m calling it…hmnn…MY HAPPY LIST. Seriously, I just came up with that one now. Sorry it’s not so literary-sounding or deep. If you can suggest a more proper name for my list, please share 🙂  If an item is crossed out like THIS and in red, consider that done and virtually marked with an “X”.

 

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Yes, sir, this is my “X” post for the A-to-Z Challenge 2015. Consider this one done 😉

What’s Up? #atozchallenge2015

I’ve been house-bound for days and will continue to be in the coming weeks. But I refuse to just keep lying down or sitting down doing nothing or staring into space or, worse, crying and staying depressed. So I try to keep busy. Of course, I don’t overdo, don’t worry. So what’s up with me?

These are what keep me busy:

TV. There are actually not so much interesting stuff to watch on regular channels. Too bad we don’t have cable. It won’t be practical for us, anyway. But I’ve been watching way too much kiddie shows for my own good, I’ve found myself singing along to Hi-5 songs.

Books. I finally had time to finish The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd last week (I liked the movie as well, just want to say). I am now reading the same author’s work, The Mermaid Chair. Taking it in stride.

Once finish, I’ll most probably read the second book of the Wicked novel series titled Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire, even if I haven’t yet read the first (hey, I don’t have a copy, alright?).

 

THEN I’ll continue my on-and-off reading of Anne Rice’s Interview with a Vampire. I was on it last year till I found out I was pregnant. Didn’t know if reading it would not affect the baby, but I did not want to risk it (so much for that).

Write. Well, I haven’t done much yet, but I’m trying. I have to go back to the me that I knew. Blogging is one way to do it. And I am about to continue with my long-time and long-neglected story, even if it means doing longhand.

Organization. I am not allowed to do much work (husband too strict — hate it but love him for it at the same time). So just little by little, I sort things out, stuff I haven’t had much time to take care of when I was busy working. It’s great ’cause organization is something we haven’t done well for months. It’s what makes me feel more me.

Home-tutoringNot really homeschooling but kind of. School’s out but we need to prepare our recent-kindergartner for his exam this May that’s supposed to test if he’s ready for the first grade. Personally, I know he is and he’s actually smart, but then you can’t be too complacent as you never really know what they’re going to ask the kid to do or answer. We do think we have the right ideas so I try to teach him base on those and try to add more ideas.

 

I know I’ll have much more to do these next weeks. Will keep you posted 🙂

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This serves as my “W” post for the 2015 A to Z Challenge.

#Videos to Get By #atozchallenge2015

It’s April. I vowed to finish the A-to-Z Challenge, which became my personal challenge the whole year, but still, here we are. I would’ve already finished had I not gone through something last week. Yet, here I am, fulfilling something I promised myself, something that’s gonna keep my mind off things and also gonna help me move on. Anyway, for my “V” post, I am sharing the videos that have entertained me a lot these past months.

Let’s start with The Popular Song by Mika and Ariana Grande. This isn’t new but not surprisingly, me being not that up-to-date these recent years, my radar missed this one. I find this song fun and, having been somewhat bullied in school as well, relatable a bit (DISCLAIMER: I do not promote revenge and violence). I gotta admit, though, one thing that drew me to this was the fact that it’s kind of a spin-off–if we can use that word for songs–of one of my favorite WICKED song that’s titled Popular. Check this one out:

Next is the song Love Yourself. Just last month, I think, I publicly confessed through Facebook that I never thought I’d say I liked a Justin Bieber song until this one. I’ve sort of outgrown it by this time, but why not give it a chance if you haven’t yet? Maybe you’ll like it, too. Certainly not the kind of Bieber songs we got used to. There are actually two video versions of the song, but I am very partial to this one because of the dancing:

Lastly, we have here a series of episodes from the reality show Undercover Boss. I really like this show and honestly, I cried every time I watched an episode, which was exactly why I decided not to continue because I didn’t want my crying to affect the baby. I started watching this when someone shared this episode on FB:

Hope you like these vids!!!!

#UnFRIENDed, Almost #atozchallenge2015

Taking a break from my #ThrowbackTwenty15 posts (have yet to post Part 2) and in keeping with my challenge theme, I am sharing my Facebook post yesterday. This is very personal, indeed…

To my Dearest Friend,

Thank you so much for letting me share my secret with you. It was alright to tell you, after all, you were my friend and knowing where we were at that point of our lives, I gave my trust.

So I appreciate it very much to learn yesterday that you actually went out of your way to tell the very person I tried not to tell it to, not yet anyway. Bravo, what a good pal you are. You spared me the trouble and you didn’t even tell me. I so appreciate your friendship and I’m glad you can sleep well knowing the good deed you did for me. In fact, it could be that you told another friend and another acquaintance, if I can judge their responses and comments well enough — no wonder I felt something….different.

Maybe you’ll read this, maybe not. Maybe you’ll get an inkling this is for you. We’ll continue to be friends, you won’t hear a single word about this from me unless you’d like to talk about it so I can thank you personally. I’d like you to know I appreciate all the other assistance you gave me, I have listed them all down, don’t worry — they have not gone unnoticed nor have I forgotten them. Rest assured, marunong naman ako tumanaw ng utang ng loob (I know how to show my deep gratitude). We’re still friends, but forgive me if I can’t tell you stories anymore.

Again, thank you, friend.

Gi

 

That image above is sooo appropriate…If you must wonder, yes, I’m disappointed, but no I am not angry, for some reason, I’m not even hurt. Perhaps because I still value what friendship we have (had?). I don’t think s/he is a bad person, just someone who needs to see the real value of friendship.

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This serves as my “U” post for the A-to-Z Challenge….Yay!!! I’m almost done!!! Unfortunately, I can’t join this year’s challenge. I know I won’t be able to keep up, with work and the upcoming baby and all…

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#ThrowbackTwenty15 #atozchallenge2015

First, let me greet you a…

I know we’re so in the second month already of the non-Chinese calendar year, but hey, it is just a few days after the Chinese New Year  🙂 I hope 2016 is treating you all well, so far, better than 2015 did, regardless of whether it was already a great 2015. We always have room for greater things, don’t we? 😉

2015 for me was…for lack of a better term, weird. Weird in the sense that there were stuff that really made it great, and there were parts that made it worse. The good thing is it wasn’t worse than my 2013: The Depression Era. 2015 was a year of highs and lows, gains and losses.

Let’s see…

Last year started great — I got hitched! Yeah, it wasn’t at church, and it was pretty inexpensive and all, and there were several glitches along the way, but it was the happiest day of my life! You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. Five more years, or at least, sometime in the future, we’ll probably tie the knot in church this time.

One year after, I gotta say it hasn’t been all-smooth sailing, in fact, it’s been more rough than smooth so far, but I have never, for a second, ever regretted my decision to stick with him through thick and thin. And I don’t think he has either. He’s been very sweet and loving and understanding of all my mood swings and shortcomings…And I just checked his Facebook message for me just now after typing what I just said and I am teary-eyed, and that’s a good thing 🙂 You should see our daily text messages, it’s like we’re still singles in a relationship 😉

Well, January 2015 also brought in something wonderful in our lives. We conceived and we didn’t even know until the second month…Sadly, we didn’t meet her after nine months — she had to leave us in March. I’d like to think it was a she, but really, it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t, if only our Jamie survived.

Can you imagine feeling elated after finding out you’re having a baby, then learning after a week that s/he doesn’t seem to have a heartbeat anymore? Can you imagine the additional stress of waiting after another week to check if the findings are the same and then they are? Now imagine going for a second opinion, getting yet another ultrasound test and still, no heartbeat… (Death, Denial, Depression)

The miscarriage brought in more problems financially-wise. If not for the good people who helped us and are still helping us, my friends and my officemates in particular, there would have been more problems. We are very grateful to them to the nth level.

My medicines did make it tougher to save anything. I had to take this and that to recover. I wasn’t the type to just pop in a pill for anything bothering me so this was kind of a lifestyle change of sort. But while on my two-month recovery, I still got sick at one time, had to visit another OB for that, then got to visit a cardiologist for possible hypertension. That meant more meds.

To make my “vacation” more interesting, for the first time in my entire life, I decided to take on someone’s dare for a physical fight. *GASP!!!* It would be too long to elaborate why, but I was willing to fight for my new family’s honor. I wasn’t going to let anyone wrongly accuse my new family, much less bully or threaten us because of such a lie or false accusation caused by her malicious son. I also did that to actually  avoid more trouble — rather than have her husband make good her threat and challenge my husband, I thought I’d dare the woman instead for a one-on-one between us. After all, she was the one looking for a fight and putting everyone in a bad situation. We weren’t in good terms before, but at least, they just passed by our house and we let them walk.

Take note, I was still somehow in recovery stage. The funny thing was, for all her loud-mouthed personal insults on me, even trying to hurt my feelings by saying I would never have my own child–I wasn’t hurt, by the way–the more I advanced towards her as I challenged her, she kept telling me to come over but she kept retreating. Ha!!! She was all-talk, no walk. Well, she was more like run-away. My poor husband had to keep telling me to just stop it because, of course, he was worried. I know it was not a wise thing to do, but it was better than to just shut up and let them walk all over us. I think I won the battle that day.

What do I mean by “new family”, though? By that, I mean my husband and his kids who have come to live with me. The kids are nice kids, but I admit, they are quite a handful. I have learned what kind of mom I would be — strict. I could be the coolest given the chance, however, current situation calls for a no-nonsense, no-pushover mom. I have learned how hard it really is to be a parent, a stepmom at that, to try to balance being lenient (the kids translate that to being good) and being strict (and that translates to being bad), to try to understand yet not tolerate. Honestly, it’s currently a no-win balancing act, but I’m–we’re–learning. We are forced to a place where we don’t want to be, but we’re trying to find the best way we can. People, especially those around us who are supposed to be the first to understand, can put us down, judge us, talk behind our backs, shout at our faces, but we will not let them break our family…

fam

Let me stop here for now so as not to bore you and to be able to finally post this (this has been a draft for almost two months now!). Will continue…

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This is my “T” post. Can’t believe it’s almost a year already since I began this challenge, but those who’ve followed me and become my friends here can understand why. Thank you  always, guys!

UPDATE (April 1, 2016): Due to my very recent experience, I have honestly lost interest in sharing and the energy to share Part 2 of this post. I wanted to save the best part of 2015 for last, but that best part, my baby, left us just last week. So I think you will understand why I have decided not to continue. Thanks again…

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‘Tis the Season #atozchallenge2015

For those who know me personally, it’s no secret that the recent years have not been that kind to my family. But still we continued and continue living, regardless of those hardships.

I do have to say that the emotional and mental fatigue, if not the physical, can sometimes take its toll. I also have to say that the same things often keep me from writing. I can go on and on about my problems or how this or that person has been mean to me or my family, but this is not what my blog is about. I want to let go of the anger and the angsts, yes, but not dwell on them more.

Writing is great therapy for loneliness, etcetera, yet I have realized that when it comes to anger, it just does not work for me personally. I get to express, but I never get to forgive, much less forget, so I just ignore the urge to do it. Anger does not help me in my self-cultivation. It’s what’s been keeping me from becoming more of a better me.

So please understand why I can go on week after week not posting a simple hello. I can’t, for various reasons – lack of time, lack of resources, sometimes plain lack of energy and urge.

What I have been saying in the last posts, that I am somewhat under medication, is true. It’s really not something bad: I AM PREGNANT. Yay!!!! Yeah, blessing right? Of course, it is.

But though it’s not bad, it’s still serious as I have been taking meds for months now to make sure the baby develops, that there would be a heartbeat. I have age and my recent history of miscarriage against me. Thankfully, it’s been growing these last months, almost four months in January, and does have a heartbeat. I don’t want to fail at this again…

It sounds easy enough, but sometimes we run out of resources, and there are other factors, that it has been a kind of mental and emotional torture for me considering we’re still in the crucial first trimester. These…things have made me more stressed out and irritable to the point that it is hard for me to contain what I feel.

It has come to a point that other people have come to judge me and say I am making life hell for my family. Do you know how it feels like to go through something like this and be judged by the very people who have watched me grow and should have known that I may not be the nicest person, but I would never make life hell for my family? I may not be the nicest, but didn’t they see the sacrifices I made three years ago to save my family? I tried to lessen the physical hell my parents were experiencing within themselves the best way I could even if I was not sure of the outcome. It hurts so freakin’ bad that they would say this about me especially when I know they could tell other people and I wouldn’t have the chance to defend myself…But okay, you know, you gotta ignore no matter how hard.

But anyway, I said I don’t like writing about anger and angsts and yet, here I am. Today is Christmas, it’s the season to self-reflect and, hopefully, be kind to everyone. I will not lie and say I’m being kind, but I am still trying and praying that God forgives me for I am still a hard work in progress. There’s the New Year ahead and like I always say, there is nothing wrong with resolutions, so I’ll try to work on my list 🙂

Anyway. thank you all, for your friendship, online or not, and you will all be in my prayers tonight, that’s for sure.

So let me just greet you a…

I pray that you all enjoy this season and strive for the “merry” in Merry Christmas 😀

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And because I have not posted for the #AtoZChallenge again, please let this be my “S” post for the challenge, “S” for “season”. Just give this to me, please…? 😉

S

Recognition Award #atozchallenge2015

Alright, there have been very sad news lately about terrorism. But as we say, life has to go on. Please do not think this insensitive just because I have decided to post about an unrelated subject. It doesn’t mean I don’t care. My last post will tell you. Anyway,…

Current life issues/concerns have been hindering me to post regularly here, so kindly forgive me. But before I continue, let me first thank all those who have decided to click “Follow” and especially those who actually do and read/like/comment on my posts. You are all very much-appreciated.

Apologies to new followers whom I have not said a thank-you nor a single hello to. The more active me does that. Right now, as much as I want to be that active, physical conditions tell me to sloooooow down. Whether I like it or not, I have to.

So to you all, I give this…

I do give recognition to all serious bloggers out there, regardless of whether you write or not, if you are an actual writer or a hesitant writer or a wannabe-writer. As long as you give it your time and importance and do an honest work on your blog, I salute you all.

Special thanks to Tobe Damit of Loud Alien Noize for giving me this award. I still have other “unanswered” awards and as a rule, I follow a sort of first-come, first-served thing. However, I have decided to skip to this one because finally–finally!–I found THE award! Christine, here it is!

In my post “Don’t Go Hatin’ on Blog Awards“, Christine “Christa” Robinson and I discussed about creating an award that should be focused more on rewarding a blogger for his/her efforts and not on following any rules attached to the award that has become quite a turn-off to most bloggers (oh, the pressure!!!).

Given that at the end of this post, you will see that this award does come with rules as well, I think I need not create a whole new award. The name of this one says it all — BLOGGER RECOGNITION AWARD. This is enough for me and I will give it away whenever I see fit. And because I believe that awards are supposed to be given freely, I free any awardee from any obligation to follow the rules below, that is, if s/he chooses to be freed.

Rules:

  1. Write a post explaining why you started blogging along with a few tips. (Note: Maybe I’ll answer this one one of these days)
  2. Nominate some of your fellow bloggers.
  3. Comment on their blogs to let them know you’ve nominated them.

There you go! I hope you all enjoy your award. Feel free to grab it and share as well 🙂

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Thought I’d hit two birds with one stone, so let this post serve as my “R” post for my almost year-long #AtoZchallenge.

R

Questions for Lea #atozchallenge2015

QQ” is for Questions, today, for the continuation of my #AtoZChallenge.

Last year, it had to do with the Top Ten Questions People Ask Me. Now, I am going to share a recent (well, last August) Q&A that Rappler.com did with my favorite artist Lea Salonga. I didn’t know they were going to do a live interview and just happened to see an announcement, so I was kind of late when I went to the site to listen. The good thing is, they have uploaded it to the page, yay!!!

Rappler Talk: Lea Salonga on art, technology, and leadership

Hope you learned more about Lea from that interview 🙂

Well, what timing that I did this when she is currently in hot water. I actually just found out because of this. Lea is generally considered the country’s pride. But because nobody’s perfect and you can’t please everybody, sometimes she does get into trouble when she opens her mouth or tweet about certain things, whether they really pertain to what netizens think they pertain to or not.

My take on this is this: At the end of the day, she is still just a person. She has rights to an opinion, to an advocacy, to a belief, to a-whatever. We pay to see her perform. We pay to see her work. But we don’t pay to run her life. We don’t pay to run anybody’s life. Why do you get to have an opinion and others can’t? I’d rather have an artist who speaks her mind than an artist who says things she knows will please people.

For the record, my family watches the said segment for the laughs. And for the record, I don’t like what the competition came up with at all. So I am being shallow myself…It is shallow, let’s admit that. But we can’t always be too serious. I’ve been there, it was depressing. It was like nothing was working the way it should have, like being trapped and unable to get out. So, you know, I am not about to be bothered at all by her tweet, if it does pertain to that certain segment. Taking offense like that, that’s what’s really shallow. I don’t want to go online and spend my time just butting heads with people about little things we should not be arguing about. There’s a difference between being in an argument and joining a healthy debate. They’re just shows. Watch what you want to, avoid those you don’t want to. Don’t make it bigger than it is, don’t take it personal.

One thing I do believe: we definitely NEED to level-up our entertainment industry.

‘Nuff said.