Find Me Soon on Raket.ph!

Until now it really amazes me how much my blogging here has contributed to my freelance writing career. I never imagined that blogging would get me to where I am now as a writer.

If you will remember, last February I did a featured post on this website called, Raket.ph. Basically, it’s an online directory of freelance professionals or “raketeers” in the country. Companies use this directory to search for independent contractors whom they can hire for certain tasks. You can read the complete feature here.

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Since then, I’ve received several offers from companies to apply for their job openings and from these I can honestly say that Raketeers really do get legit job offers through the site. The site continues to grow and it’s exciting to see how it will improve from what it is now.

Anyway, I thought that after doing the feature on Raket.ph that it would be the last I’d hear from them. As it turns out, I was wrong.

A few weeks ago, I got a surprise email from Raket.ph’s CEO and I initially thought his email would be about another blog partnership. However, it was for a “raket” instead. Because he thought I did a great job with the blog post I did for them, he decided to hire me to join their team as a writer. Yet another job offer I didn’t even apply for.

I was so pleasantly surprised! It was totally unexpected. Not only will this give me another source of income, it’s also going to be a way for me to help out other independent contractors like myself. I’ve always tried to help out other freelance professionals through the stories of my experiences that I get to share here on my blog. Being a writer for Raket.ph will be another avenue for me to continue doing that in a larger scale.

So you guys who are aspiring to be writers too, use your blog well to showcase what you can do. You never know who you will encounter as a result. You never know who’s reading what you write. They might turn out to be a future client as well.

So far, I’ve already written a couple of articles for Raket.ph and they’re due to come out real soon. I’ll be sharing them on my Facebook page, Twitter and Google+, so do follow me if you don’t want to miss the announcement. I, of course, invite you to create your own Raket.ph account and check their blog regularly for my articles. Thanks guys!

 

The Day We Saw Pope Francis (and my favorite quotes from his visit)

I would be the first to admit that I’m not a devout Catholic in the truest sense of the word. However, I do have a deep, strong, personal relationship with God and my faith in Him has never faltered all throughout the ups and downs of my life.

Needless to say, I was very excited to see Pope Francis when I first heard he was coming to visit the Philippines. However, we weren’t able to plan on how to see him because of our schedule.

We spent the first couple of days of his visit at home, watching him on the live coverage on TV. I was deeply moved by him and his speeches and found myself crying several times while listening to him.

I made sure to watch the coverage of his Meeting with the Families at the Mall of Asia Arena. I wished I could be there but sadly, I couldn’t leave the house. So, I just watched everything on TV. Let me share with you my favorite snippets from his speech during the event that day.

Here’s my most favorite one. I am all for dreaming. This one definitely resonates.

 

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As someone who has had one failed marriage, I can definitely say this is true. I plan on posting this message now in our house so that it can serve as a reminder to me and hubby.

 

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Resting is definitely something I don’t get to do a lot of. But I know we, as a family, need to recommit to “resting together” especially in prayer.

 

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After watching Pope Francis that day on TV, hubby and I decided we can’t possibly let this chance pass by without attempting to see him while he was here. So that Friday night, I booked us a stay at Midas Hotel and Casino for the coming Sunday, after studying his route for Monday morning, which was his last morning in Manila.

As much as we wanted to attend his Sunday mass at the Quirino Grandstand, we knew it wouldn’t be practical to bring our three kids there, including a rambunctious and restless 3-year-old. So, the next best option was to wait for him on the street, Roxas Boulevard to be exact, which is where he will pass by on his way to Villamor Air Base to take his flight home.

We checked in to the hotel on Sunday afternoon and watched his encounter with the youth in UST and his mass at the Quirino Grandstand on TV. Here are my favorite quotes from the Pope during the youth encounter.

I love how he made a special mention about women. I think there’s a need for people to be reminded of this every so often because women’s roles in society tend to be downplayed a lot.

 

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This is a good reminder to all of us the importance of putting our thoughts and feelings into action. A lot of us think of doing good deeds. But if we don’t really feel it in our hearts and don’t do anything about it, then thinking is a waste.

 

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I especially like this quote about love. This definitely holds true for me. We can even think of love in romantic relationships this way. It sounds like something my hubby said to me before.

 

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I woke up at 4 am on Monday morning and couldn’t go back to bed because of the excitement. I woke up hubby and the kids by 5 am so that we can have time to have our breakfast first before heading to the street. Midas is located on Roxas Boulevard so all we had to do to see the Pope was to cross the street. We actually got a table with a view of the street so that we can see if people are flocking the barricades already. We actually saw policemen and people there already when we woke up.

We were expecting Pope Francis to pass by around 9:15 a.m. so we went to the street an hour before that. There were a lot of people milling about already but there was still lots of space available. I was actually very surprised by how nice the people were. They were especially helpful in assisting us to go over the islands to get to the other side of the road where the barricades were. The nuns in front of us even offered Ziggy some water to drink when they overheard him saying he was thirsty. They were actually live streaming the live coverage so that we would all know when the Pope is already on his way. If only everybody is this nice every day.

Let me just say, I really admire the policemen there who were manning the barricades. They came all the way from Calabarzon and they were already stationed by the barricades by 5am. I think what they have done to maintain peace and order during the entire Papal visit is admirable.

Anyway, we took a couple of photos of ourselves while waiting. I think this is the first time we did something like this as a family.

 

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Finally, we heard from the live streaming that the Pope was on his way. Some of the police handed out white flags to wave but we didn’t get any. Everybody started standing up and prepared their gadgets to take photos. The energy was really something else. Thinking about it now still gives me goosebumps.

Then finally we saw his motorcade coming. I really tried my best to capture nice photos with only the use of my new iPad mini since our digicam is busted. Pope Francis passed by for only two seconds in front of us. It was so quick!!! But at least I was able to get some decent photos. Here they are.

 

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This was the closest shot I got but someone’s hand is partially blocking the view. Of course, a lot of us were waving to the Pope so it’s all good.

 

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The two seconds that we got to see him was so short yet so worth it. But I do hope he comes back again so that I can hopefully have a closer encounter with him.

His coming to the country means a lot to me, so much that I can’t even put it into words. Just thinking about it now makes me cry. It’s overwhelming to say the least. So, allow me to just revel in this feeling.

‘Til the next time, Pope Francis. Thank you for coming.

 

Goodbye 2014! Hello 2015! Plus my One Word for the Year

My One Word for 2014 was ZEN. I chose that word simply because 2013 was one very hectic year for me and my family and I simply just wanted to de-stress.

I can’t say I was 100% successful in achieving zen the whole year. However, I did scale back in terms of work when I decided to concentrate on my writing career and drop all my social media and virtual assistant gigs. I did get to write more and although that can sometimes be stressful too, mostly writing is really a mode of release for me. So, that helped me achieve zen last year.

As a whole, despite setbacks last year, I believe I have learned to worry less and keep calm (most of the time!). So, I’m still quite happy with how the year went by in terms of living it according to my One Word.

This year, I chose my One Word based on developments in my life in 2014. I’ve grown so much last year in all aspects of my life and I’m really excited to find out where that growth will take me this year. So, for 2015, my One Word will be…

 

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The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines THRIVE as follows:

  • to grow vigorously (flourish)
  • to gain in wealth or possessions (prosper)
  • to progress toward or realize a goal despite or because of circumstances.

I think it’s the perfect word for me this year because I want to grow further as a partner, a mom and a writer. I feel as if we’ve just been surviving the past few years. It’s time to level it up a little.

I wish for my accomplishments from 2014 to continuously allow me to help provide for my family monetarily. At the same time, I hope it will also allow us to thrive in terms of wonderful life experiences through travel and other bonding and learning activities.

We’re also expecting our family dynamics to change by mid-year when the girls go on to live with their dad and his family. But nevertheless, I hope we’ll still be able to thrive as a family despite new circumstances.

I wish to thrive as a mother especially soon when mothering my girls will mean doing so from afar most of the time. At the same time, I wish this opportunity to focus on my son will help my relationship with him flourish as well.

Of course, I wish to thrive as a partner to my hubby, too. I feel we need to reconnect more as we enter our seventh year together.

I hope to keep thriving as a writer. I’ve learned so much but I know I still have more to learn, more to give and more to write.

I have high hopes for 2015. I’ve worked so hard chasing my dreams last year so I’m claiming 2015 to be the year that I really start to live that dream.  It’s going to be my year to flourish! #livingthedream

I leave you now with this really wonderful quote on thriving by Maya Angelou.

 

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Source

 

What is your One Word for 2015? Do share in the comments.

 

10 Life Lessons Learned in 2014

It’s the last day of 2014 and I can’t help but look back at the year it has been. It’s amazing how much can happen in 365 days. At the start of the year, I never could have expected that it will end this way. I have definitely grown a lot this year and I’d like to share with you some of the most important life lessons I learned in 2014. Warning: This is going to be a long post.

 

On Chasing Dreams

At the start of 2014, I made a decision to focus on chasing my dreams as a writer. Writing is all I wanted to do and this year, I made sure that I did everything I was capable of doing in order to make those dreams come true.

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This year, I learned to be fearless. Despite apprehensions about things not working out, I decided to take a leap of faith. Now here I am, living the dream. I’m working purely with writing gigs now. No more virtual assistant or social media gigs. I read somewhere that dreams favor those who are sure and now I believe that to be true.

 

On Failures

I have achieved so many things in my writing career this year but I have to be honest and say that not everything was a success. I was let go from a writing gig a few months ago. It would have been easier to accept had it been really because I wasn’t good enough. However, it was due to a colleague having a personal issue with me.

It was really unbelievable at first but I’ve learned that every failure, mistake or setback has opportunities hiding behind them. Less than 2 weeks after this setback, I actually found 2 other clients who I actually love working with. Now, I’m working with four clients. So, that client I lost wasn’t really a loss in the end. I needed to lose them because I was meant for bigger and better things.

 

On Opportunities

I was blessed with many opportunities this year and I think I grabbed all of them. Hahaha! But there was one opportunity that I was scared to take. I blogged about it a two weeks ago. It was that offer to write editorials for a London-based online lifestyle magazine. In the end, I took the offer and so far  I haven’t regretted it yet. Haha!

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 Here’s a screenshot of my first article for the site. The site is called Indigo Memoirs and it features anything and everything about London. It gives me great pleasure to see my name on the article! Do check it out, please. It’s all about inspirational yoga books. Watch out for more articles in the weeks to come.

Being presented with this opportunity helped me learn that it’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. What’s not okay is to let those feelings hinder you from experiencing something great. And this is one great opportunity I’m glad I didn’t miss.

 

On Writing

I learned so much about writing this year and that’s because of all the opportunities I allowed myself to take. Not only did I learn how to write better, I also learned what types of writing projects I like and what types of clients I like working with.

I learned that I write best when I’m inspired but that I’m also capable of writing a great piece when there’s a deadline looming over my head. I also used to think that writing two articles a day was my maximum capacity. But during the past couple of months, I learned that I can write more than that in one day, assuming of course there are no errands to run outside the house and there are minimal house chores to do that day. Best of all, writing so much this year really gave me better insight on what the future can be like for me as a writer and I’m really excited for the possibilities.

 

On Friendships

My relationship with some friends evolved this year. I became closer to some. At the same time, some friendships also started fading away, which I’ve learned is okay. It happens. I know I will meet other people whom I can form close friendships with.

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I’ve also learned that you can find friendship from someone you never expected to be close to. So, we really shouldn’t close our doors on anyone just because we initially think we have little in common. Friendship is really all about finding the people who are your kind of crazy. That’s exactly what happened to me this year.

 

On Haters

I used to be a people-pleaser but years ago I decided to not care about what others think of me anymore. This year though I unexpectedly found myself a few haters and I was initially hurt by it because they’re kinda close to me but judged me (and what I said) without taking the time to understand me.

Well, I’ve since learned to let it go. I have channeled Taylor Swift and decided to shake it off! Haha! It was a quote from Rita Moreno that inspired me to move on.  She’s right. I’m not gonna die from not being liked. It has actually made me stronger and made me see some people’s true colors.

 

On Love

Hubby and I have experienced many tests in our relationship for the past 6 years but there’s nothing like this one major test we experienced this year. It had the potential to break us apart and for a while, I was afraid it would (and I know there are some who hoped it would).

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Thanks to MRLightworkz Photography for this photo!

However, it didn’t. Instead, I believe it made our bond stronger. It reinforced our love for each other and made me realize just how strong his commitment is to me. I learned to trust our bond and our love and discovered just how strong we really are together. Best of all, I learned to love him more.

 

On Motherhood

One of the things I’ve been struggling with as a mom is learning to let go. My girls will be off to live with their dad starting the summer of 2015 and so this year I’ve been preparing everybody for that transition. I know it will be incredibly hard for me because I worry about my girls. But this year, I’ve learned to accept that I can only do so much as a mother.

No matter how hard I try, I can never teach my girls a life’s worth of lessons before they leave our home. I had to remind myself that there are things they can only learn from experience and that their leaving our home doesn’t mean they’ll be gone forever. We’ll still see them every weekend. I will still have chances to fuss over them but this is also going to be my chance to let them spread their wings a bit and trust that I’ve equipped them with values strong enough to lead their way.

As a mom to my son, I’ve learned patience. I’ve learned that boys will really be boys and that I have to allow my son to do whatever boys do. He has helped me become a more relaxed mother. At the same time, it has been a joy learning more about the world through his eyes.

 

On Family

I’ve learned that we can never be a perfect model for blended families and that’s okay. We have many things to improve on but at the same time we have also come a long way. The important thing is that we keep learning together in order to be better. It’s really all about the journey.

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Thanks to MRLightworkz Photography for this photo!

What I know for sure is that there is genuine love here. No matter how unconventional our situation is, we are and will always be a family. That’s what matters most.

 

On Myself

I learned so much about myself this year. I learned that I’m stronger that what I think. I learned to speak up and stand up for what I believe in no matter the consequences. Although I still have insecurities and experience moments of self-doubt, I realized that I am capable of achieving anything I want as long as I really dedicate my heart and soul into it. I learned that I’m capable of loving more.

2014 was a year of self-discovery. I have grown so much and have come into my own. At the same time, I know I still have a lot to learn and I look forward to the lessons that 2015 has yet to teach me.

I hope that you all learn from these lessons as well. Do share with me what you learned in 2014 and join me in welcoming 2015. Happy New Year to all!!!

Inspirations: On Fear and Grabbing Opportunities

Less than 24 hours ago, I experienced quite a shock, but of the good kind. I received a tweet from someone I didn’t know. Now, that’s not something extraordinary because I do get tweets and follows from people all over the world. It was the message that surprised me.

 

The Surprise Opportunity

This person, who happens to be the Assistant to the Features Editor of an online lifestyle magazine based in London (yes, you read that right!) asked me, on a tweet no less, if I wanted to contribute editorials for their site. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when I saw that message. I didn’t think she was serious. I honestly thought it was one of those pesky spam messages on Twitter.

But then we got to exchange emails and I found out that the offer was REAL. Oh my gosh! Me? Write for a London-based online lifestyle magazine? Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh!!!!

I honestly wanted to cry (and I eventually did). When I decided to focus on my writing career at the start of this year, I had no idea where it will lead. I only knew that I wanted to keep chasing my dream, write more and earn from that. That decision has truly paid off as I took on more writing jobs this year. But I actually applied for all those jobs. This new offer was being presented to me without me having to apply for it. Can you say “blessed”? #unbelievable

Now, you would think I would immediately jump at the chance to work for this London-based site (I can’t get over saying it’s from LONDON), but I didn’t. I had to seriously think about it. First of all, I had recently accepted another writing client and it would already make my schedule quite full. Taking on this new opportunity would mean I’d have to spend more time working with less time for family, chores and other stuff. But at the back of my mind, it wasn’t really the time that concerned me. I knew, based on how supportive my hubby and kids have been, that they would back me up. The truth is, I was scared to death!

 

The Fear

I was scared because hello, this is a LONDON-based site (I’ll reveal which one on a future post). While I have written for foreign clients before, they were always for content marketing purposes and I never had a byline. This one is different. Not only will I have a byline, I will also be included in their Contributors page. Plus, I also have to learn their style guide and write to cater to their specific audience. I wasn’t sure I was good enough for the job. What if I fail? What if I screw it up? I was so scared that I really ended up crying to a friend online (Thanks, Millie!).

The thing about fear, though, is that it could be crippling. It can prevent one from taking risks and experiencing wonderful and new things. It can cause people to remain complacent. Fear can prevent one from becoming successful. Fear can be so strong it can prevent you from living your dream. On Instagram and Facebook, I keep using the hashtag #chasingdreams because that’s what I’ve been doing all year. But did I want to just keep chasing my dream instead of actually living it?

In an effort to squash that fear away, I spent an hour scouring for inspirational quotes that will motivate me (haha!) and posted them on Instagram. This is the first one I grabbed.

Image from WeHeartIt

Image from WeHeartIt

I realized that this really was a once in a lifetime opportunity that is way too good to pass up. Who knows where this opportunity can take me in the future? I really don’t want to miss the chance to find out.

I also found these other quotes that pretty much helped seal the deal for me yesterday.

Image from WeHeartIt

Image from WeHeartIt

Then, my friend, Millie, share with me yesterday’s daily devotions quote, which said:

 

Live inspired! Follow where the Lord takes you.

I think that pretty much says it all. Don’t you think?

The thing is, when I first decided to leave the corporate world to become a work-at-home mom two years ago, I had no time to think about it and just jumped at the chance. It was a huge risk but it was one that paid off well. Never have I regretted that decision. At that time, an opportunity like this was just a far off dream. Now that it’s here, though, it’s overwhelmingly scary. What do you do when your dreams start coming true?

 

The Decision

Well, I finally decided to grab it. Yay! I’m still so scared I want to puke. My stomach still keeps on churning. My heart is pumping wildly. Two days in and I’m still in an unbelievable high. And I start working soon – as in now. #OMG

I am incredibly thankful for this blessing. God has truly been listening to what’s in my heart. But please pray for me. I want to do really well in this new endeavor. I only have high hopes that this will lead me to where I’m supposed to go. Wish me luck!