Tuesday, December 30, 2008

An Opening Prayer for a New Year's Party

Dear Father in heaven,

As we gather here together to celebrate this new year,

May your bountiful blessings come upon our loved ones
and everyone present here in this gathering.

We pray also for those who are not present in our midst.

May you bless them all with peace and happiness.

May all those who suffer in hospital beds feel the soothing balm of your presence.

Photo by Wyscan


May all those in jail houses discern your saving grace.

May all those who are at war, learn your forgiving ways.

May all those who suffer in poverty see the richness of your blessings.

Give them the strength and grace to endure and persevere.

We also pray for "peace on earth and goodwill to all men."

As we celebrate this new year, we thank you for all blessings.

May we continue meeting our daily challenges with faith in your goodness.

May our lives serve as witnesses to your all-abounding generosity and love.

All these, we ask through Christ , our Lord, Amen.

(You're free to copy this and use it)

Free Blog Hosting and My Plans

Since I started blogging , I have always wished for a free blog hosting , my own URL , a blogging community which could critique my blogs, and one place where I can download large amounts of pictures, videos, and files without living the site. I have planned to categorize all my articles into poetry, short stories, quotations, lyrics and novels.

I also had plans of using wordpress with one of my blogs to see if I could be more comfortable with it. All of these seem now to be fulfilled with this amazing free blog that is available over the net. It has all the features I have mentioned above, and many more innovative features.

In the future, I would like also to buy a domain name. What better way to continue blogging than to have your own name? I am sure this would enhance my blogging experience.

The Inspirational Book is progressing slowly. I need more 12 articles to make it 20 articles all in all. I am hoping by July, I would be having my 2o articles, so that the target date of August 31, 2009, would be met.

In the meantime, I would have to contend with this great blogging opportunity available in the Internet, because blogging would always be special to me.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A Metaphor? I'm Not Sure. Merry Christmas!




Kindly replay, to listen to the uninterrupted version. It's a great song!

Here's a metaphor from Aerosmith from their album entitled:
"A Little South of Sanity"

"Life's a journey not a destination
And I just can't tell just what tomorrow brings."


Monday, December 22, 2008

A CALL FOR PARTICIPATION

I have an on-going call for comments at my blog: "A Campaign for Non-Violence on Children's TV Programs" ,


Wouldn't it be wonderful to know your thoughts on this? (pros or cons)

Kindly click on the link and contribute your thoughts and win great prizes.

A CALL FOR PARTICIPATION

I have an on-going call for comments at my blog: "A Campaign for Non-Violence on Children's TV Programs" ,


Wouldn't it be wonderful to know your thoughts on this? (pros or cons)

Kindly click on the link and contribute your thoughts and win great prizes.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Christmas Post, For a Change

Since it's Christmas, let me digress from the normal posts in this blog. Here's something for you to read:

How to Plan a Memorable Christmas Party

Christmas will always be one of those memorable times in our lives. This is because it could represent several things for us: family reunion, get-together with friends, long vacation, forgiveness, love, gifts and of course partying till the wee hours of dawn.



Christmas parties; however, are sometimes all the same that we tend to forget about them afterwards. If you are planning to host a Christmas party, then you must plan to make it memorable for all the participants. How could this be done? Below-mentioned are several ways to make your Christmas party apart from all the rest:

1.
Let everyone participate.

If you take active participation in an activity, you would not forget it. Encourage everyone to dance, take part in the games, sing, etc. But do not force anyone who does not want to participate.

Read the rest of the article at Helium.com

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Photo by KB35

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Recycling Your Christmas Tree

Christmas trees become a significant part of your yuletide celebration that oftentimes, after the season, putting it away together with the other decorations, leaves a certain sadness in your heart. You wish you could hold on to the joyful Christmas moments forever, by holding on to the tangible symbols that you have placed around you. Just like any mundane thing however, everything comes to pass and so does your Christmas tree's role for the season.

The usefulness of your Christmas tree however, need not end in the garbage bin; you can maximize its use by recycling through the following methods:

1. Use as firewood

Trim the tree and cut the twigs, branches and trunk into 1 foot pieces and dry under the sun. After they have thoroughly dried, store them in a dry clean place. You could use them now as firewood for your camping trips, for backyard barbecues, in your fireplace or in your bonfires. You would be surprised at how it catches up fire so easily.

In fact in most countries, they are widely used to start fires and not as plain firewood. This is because they are very combustible and easy to ignite.

2. Use as food trays

You could convert them into small food trays for your kitchen. Select the good branches and smooth them with sand paper. Construct a tray by making use of a hammer and some nails. You don't need to be a carpenter to be able to do this. Just be sure that you have equal sides by measuring with a ruler.

If the tree has cones nail them to the corners of the
tray to add style. Spray with varnish to give a polished touch. Presto! You have your own kitchen tray!

3. Use as plant trellis/rails for your garden

Cut the branches into sizes big enough for your plants. Use them as trellis by arranging 3-4 branches around the plant. You could also utilize them also as garden rails by cutting them into equal sizes. You could paint them to give more visual attraction to your garden.

4. Use as permanent decors

Use your creative mind to devise attractive wall decors.
Rub the branches and twigs first with sand paper until they are smooth. With the use of a hammer and some nails, construct designs like picture frames, miniature toys, houses or whatever your creative mind leads you. Finish your work by spraying with varnish to give shine or you could paint them to add attractive color.

5. Use as foot bridges for your garden

The tiny branches could be used as foot bridges in your garden by arranging them tightly together to form a sturdy bundle. Place them in uneven or soft spots in your garden to prevent mud formation. They would lend uniqueness to the landscape.

6. Use as composite for your plants

The leaves could be placed in a damp portion of the soil or buried, to form a composite fertilizer for your other plants. Allow the leaves to rot and then be converted into rich soil before using it with your plant cultivation.

There are still several ways to utilize your used Christmas tree. Look around your house and backyard. What do you need? Could the tree be converted to supply that need? For sure, you would find it to be useful in one way or another; but for the meantime, bask in the beauty of your Christmas tree!

This has been published at Helium.com
Photo by: by scottfeldstein



Saturday, December 13, 2008

Filipinos, say no to Cha-Cha



From You Tube

Do we really need a charter change? Or are shrewd politicians utilizing this as a way to advance their self-interests?

This video was passed on by Roy of The Struggling Blogger, who incidentally wrote an article - "Bloggers' Connection" about The Inspirational Book which yours truly will be self-publishing next year. Thanks Roy for that generous write-up, I appreciate it a lot. Good luck in all your endeavors. Mabuhay ka cabalen!




Thursday, December 11, 2008

An Angel In Each One of Us - Inspirational Story # 9

By: Angel Cuala

I was a product of a broken family at a very tender age. It did not bother me though, as I did not have time to wallow in it then. Don’t get me wrong, I did want a family that was whole, but under the circumstances, it was not possible, and I did not want to stay miserable, so I had opted to cope up splendidly.


Life was hard those days… I mean really hard… This is due to severe poverty. I ate only one decent meal a day–lunch, but before I can, I had to work first to earn money for it; breakfast was a luxury I did not enjoy.

At the age of 10, when kids my age played with their toys, I worked on my first job in a candy factory. I did not have toys because I considered playing as a waste of time. Instead,
I had a very dangerous job; one small mistake would have cut off my fingers. This is because I and another boy had to cut long and hard candy bars using a crosscut saw. Since I still wanted my fingers complete when I grow up, I did not stay there for long.

At the age of 12, I was able to land another “job”. This job required me to wake up at 4am, rush to the seashore of Manila Bay, and together with other child workers, we would gather mussels and oysters to sell in the marketplace.

I was lucky if I had been able to borrow a worn screwdriver to use as a tool to carve the mussels out from the hard surfaces of the rocks. But if I was not able to, I was forced to use my bare hands. You could just imagine how bloody my hands would be from clawing at the rock surface to get those shells. On top of that, I had to work against time as I had to carry them fast enough to the marketplace where vendors would be impatiently waiting. My activity would culminate in an 8-kilometer walk from the bay to the market; the walk, so that I could save more coins.

The authorities; however, became very strict with children roaming the streets so early, so I had to find another job. I did other odd jobs after that, such as selling street foods and washing taxicabs. The busy streets of Manila became my working area and playground at the same time. Beggars became my friends, and their children were my co-workers along with other street people.

Although people were insulting and belittling us, I did not care as long as I knew I was honest and had never stolen in spite of the prevailing poverty. Deep inside me though, I felt really hurt how people can be so cruel and condescending.

My mother and siblings were in the US but no one knew exactly where they were. I had some pictures of them and me together, but I think I was only 4 years old then.

My father eventually married for the second time. My step mother was very kind to me. Although she had five children courtesy of her first husband, our relationship was wonderful. In fact, she was more persistent than I was, in her pursuit for me to finish, at least, high school. To help make both ends meet, she cooked in a small-time restaurant.

My father was a simple laborer in a paper manufacturing company, but his earnings were not sufficient for all of us. We could not even afford to rent a small room; which was why I grew up in the slum areas.

Rats and cockroaches were part of my neighborhood, along with pimps and drug addicts. My father was not lazy and illiterate. In fact, he was intelligent. He was a wide reader, a good writer, and a great poet. I even heard that one of his poems was once displayed in the National Library. I think he was a real genius. But then, he was among those artists who did not want to earn money from being one. He may be not that smart, but he would always be an artist to me.

As the years went by, I got used to the poverty I existed in, and blamed no one. After all, it wouldn’t change anything, and I feel I had better things to worry about.

I continued to be a working student, but after sometime, I found it was really impossible for my young mind to study and at the same time be physically exhausted, so I had dropped out from high school and became a full-time money maker; I fetched water for my neighbors and sold cigarettes. I didn’t know then where my journey would lead me; at that point in time, I didn’t care about my future.

After 3 years of helping my adopted family, I decided it was time to go back to school. I was very hesitant but my stepmother encouraged me, saying that it was the only way out from the slums. She said that with an education, I had a bigger chance to succeed.


I went back to school and studied and worked simultaneously. I was more matured at that time and I knew I had to persevere and work hard if I wanted my dream fulfilled: a dream that someday I would land a respectable job and earn the respect of my peers. I did not realize then, that it would be more than that, and had never imagined that my going back to school would serve as my bridge to a new life.

I was then 19 years old when I became an officer of the Citizen’s Army Training in school. During the course, one of my lady cadets was not able to attend the Saturday training. According to her, she had been looking for her father whom she never saw. I understood her all along since I knew how difficult it was to have one parent missing; so eventually, we became friends.

She regularly gave me updates about her quest, and as months went by, she seemed to be heading on the right path. On the other hand, I shared with her the history of my parents, and the hardships I had endured during my childhood.

She helped me in any way she could. When she learned I had only one polo uniform, she gave me a white polo which has been previously used by her cousin. She was among my few classmates who became sad upon learning that my father could not afford to send me to college.

A month before our graduation, I received good news from her. She would finally meet her father after 21 years of waiting. I knew that would make her a complete person; and I was very happy for her.

The story did not end there; however, while she was in her aunt’s house (her father’s older sister), she mentioned my name being her superior and the only one who knew her life story. She was proud to consider me as one of her closest friends. The mention of my name turned out to be an instrument to unravel another story.

That day was supposed to be another ordinary school day, but it turned out to be extraordinary. My cadet turned-friend approached me at the corridor with a very tight hug, and she was crying out loud uttering words that I was unable to understand. I tried to calm her down because we were starting to attract attention, but she did not care. So I let her tears flow on my shoulders for some minutes until she got tired. She did not want to let go of me, and she kept whispering to me that I would be alright, that I would be going to college the following year. She assured me that I had a chance to enjoy a brighter future.

I learned later that this was what occurred during her audience with her aunt. When my name was mentioned, her aunt had told her that my full name was very familiar and she went on to determine why. Life is full of pleasant surprises, they found out I was THE long lost relative!

I learned that we were first cousins, that her father was an older brother of my mother. It was a great shock to me. I did not even remember how I reacted. The next thing I knew, we were talking to my father who confirmed everything. He was smiling as he shared with us the story of how my cousin’s father had hit him when he saw my parents dating at a very young age. It felt weird that after all those months of sharing; we did not even talk about my middle name, and worst, her surname did not even strike me as familiar. It did not occur to me why she has such an uncommon surname – Valentin.

When the big day came for me to meet my long lost relatives, I had to borrow a pair of pants and shoes from my stepbrother. My friend - turned cousin- was very excited too. I must admit, I was not able to smile because I had a preconceived notion that I would be discriminated.
I had learned that my aunt enjoyed a very luxurious lifestyle. They had three cars, a big house with a garden, and a good, thriving business.

The lunch was well prepared on a round table, but we still had to wait for my uncle as he was living about a kilometer away. While we were waiting, my aunt showed me some old pictures of my mother and my siblings. She was crying while telling me that my mother had been looking for me all those years. She even hired some people to help in the search, but to no avail; maybe because we had been transferring from one abode to another.

When my uncle came, tears fell like rain from everyone’s eyes except mine. I had mixed feelings, and I was more interested in the food. They didn’t only look delicious; it was also the first time that I would taste them.


After that unforgettable, sumptuous lunch, I did not expect my mother to call. When I heard her loud voice, it was like the best music I ever heard. She was crying really loud and shouting at the top of her voice. She kept on asking me what I looked like, where I had been all those times. What I ate and other questions a stranger would ask someone. She did not give me time to answer any of them though, because she kept talking and crying.

I did not even remember how the conversation ended. I forgot the exact date of that momentous day, but I remembered thanking someone who was very dear to me; someone I knew who had been always watching over me and someone who would always be there when I would need Him most – my Creator. I am not a great fan of any religion, but I accept the fact I am only human and there is that Super Being who knows when a suffering must end.

That was a scene 23 years ago. Yes, my life had changed since then. I did not become rich, but I was able to finish a college course. Now, my work does not only fit my age and body, but also my mind.

Most of all; I am respected by people, my blogging friends and by society. Thanks to the various "angels" who had helped me in my quest for a better life.

Life is still hard these days, but I feel better now. I still skip breakfast sometimes, but my wife never fails to prepare one. I have bought good toys for my children and I can now play along with them. And lastly, I am now enjoying a good lunch!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Angel Cuala aka Guardian Angel owns three blogs - Happy Family Matters, Father Blogger Dot Com, and Humane Blogging Tips.


He is a Filipino engineer who is into full time blogging. He says that:

"...it is really my passion to communicate through writing, I decided to blog. I feel that in terms of audience and speed it is better than just writing.."

He has gained great readership in his three interesting and very informative blogs. Visit his sites to see for yourself.

A courageous person who had triumphed against all the tremendous challenges that had crossed his path. Angel deserves all the happiness in the world.

Kudos to you Angel and good luck with all your present endeavors.

For more effective parenting tips, successful marriage tips and other family issues, tips on blogging, making money on line, and many more, please feel free to visit his blog at Father Blogger Dot Com AND Angel Cuala Online with his post about the Inspirational Book .

Photo 1 by m o d e

Photo 2 by KellyB.

Photo 3 by kevindooley

Photo 4 by aussiegall



Saturday, December 6, 2008

FREE PICTURES, Ibiza Spain





Thursday, December 4, 2008

Do You Share or Keep Your Good Books?

Writing is synonymous with reading; “Once a writer always a reader." I still have to come across a writer who is not a voracious reader.

I started reading paperback novels when I was in the elementary grades. In high school, I was already reading Barbara Cartland while my classmates were reading Mills and Boon. When I see a plain looking cover or an unusual exterior, I am compelled to borrow or buy the book.


Unlike some people, I don’t have my own library though. I always passed on the book to my friends if I found it a good read. I didn’t want good books, whether pocketbooks or textbooks, gathering dust in some corner of my house, especially if they are worthy to be shared; I want them read too by other people.

I know some of you feel the same way like I do. If you have old books and you want to share these with others, you can do so by selling them at a minimal prize or just giving them away for free.

It is not easy though to Sell Textbooks or pocketbooks because of many reasons. This problem is solved now; all you have to do is to sell these books back to this site and earn money in the process. You don’t have to worry about shipping fees as there are available pre-paid shipping labels for you. Your postage fees will also be refunded if you sell $10 worth of books.

This way, you would be able to share your used books and also get the best possible prices for them.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

An Attempt at Poetry

This poem was published earlier in this blog (months ago), and at Helium.com

Jim Murdoch of Truth About Lies , Francis Scudellari of Caught in the Stream, and our poets out there; if you happen to read this short verse, PM me your negative comments (winks), but do publish any redeeming comments, if there are any . I would appreciate it a lot, and yes, Ken Armstrong of Ken Armstrong Writing Stuff, our budding poet. Wow!


Webs Of Love

I stared blindly at the ceiling,
blinded by tears of sorrow.
seeing all, but seeing nothing,
unmindful of tomorrow.


Where has the love gone?
So professed some years ago?
I hold the bundle of joy in one,
grateful for the chance to glow.

Go now, my beloved,
follow where your heart leads you.
when you reach the 'dead end',
We are here waiting for you.

Photo by Tom Ruette

Writing, Blogs, and Forums All in One Amazing Website!

When I first started writing, I had a lonely blog and I didn’t even know what a widget was or what an HTML code meant. I would not have been able to start writing my very first novel if I haven’t accidentally discovered blogging.


Slowly I learned through trial and error how to install widgets and upload pictures. I experimented on enlisting my blogs in search engines which slowly increased my page ranks.

Aside from writing for my various blogs I discovered the joy of sharing whatever I knew through writing sites , I also joined on line forums because I wanted to learn and share whatever culture and concepts we had in this part of the world. These I was able to do by joining multiple sites. Lady luck must have smiled at me because I discovered this amazing website in which I could do all of these activities and enjoy myself.

In this website, you can create your own blogs for free, and with unlimited bandwidth; you can also participate in forums, share your videos, podcasts and upload pictures. You get updated with the international news all over the world. You can participate in surveys or be a member of a particular group. What could be very fruitful is the interaction you can have with helpful members of its dynamic community, gaining friends in the process.

I tell you, it has everything just like in a one- stop- shop. You name it; they have them all in this wonderful website!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Let's Welcome a New Blogger!

Let’s all welcome to the blogging world my dearest friend from India - Krishna.
He was reluctant at first to create a blog but I prodded him on. I assured him that we are a friendly lot here in the blogging world, and I was able to convince him.

Now he had created his blog: "KRISHNA'S MUSINGS" and had written his first post within 15 minutes. He had to hurry to a significant task. But he promises to attend to blogging eventually.
His first ever topic: "Terrorism in India and Abroad" is a good read (although written in a few minutes).

Why don't you pay him a visit and leave a comment. I am sure this would motivate him to write more of his great thoughts.

Let’s all support a new blogger and welcome him to our exciting world of blogging. Thanks.

Photo by vanessaeducation





Friday, November 28, 2008

To Write Or Not To Write?

I had decided not to post any paid post here, at gewgaw, but offers had come that are related to my topic here in this blog. Now I'm at a dilemma of whether to accept it or not. What made me reconsider was the fact that the topics were related to the theme of this blog.

I know I can just go ahead and do whatever I want and no one would give a hoot, but I just want to ask for some reactions from you guys.

Photo by aymlis


We are not talking about millions, I know, but this is good money. it could buy me a day's meal, lol...What with the economic crises and so on... lol.

What do you think friends? Can you give me some reactions? Thanks for any input you would be contributing.

Happy blogging!




Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Inspiration" - 8th Article for the Inspirational Book

By: Jim Murdoch


Inspiration. It's a word we're all familiar with. Of course there are many definitions of the word 'inspiration' so I'd better make clear which one I'm going to be talking about here and that is inspiration as encouragement, an uplifting experience as opposed to inspiration as some kind of muse.

Jim Murdoch
They're related, of course. If I read a good book then it somehow makes the thought of me writing one myself not such an impossible consideration. But then I'm a writer and I'm always scrounging around for ideas that I can develop into poems or stories or even books. I'm just listening to a string quartet by a composer called Adorno as I write this (and it is lovely stuff) but it doesn't really fill me with the overwhelming desire to sit down and try and compose a string quartet, and the same goes for any great painting or piece of sculpture. And yet they inspire me all the same, they lift my spirits. Or perhaps 'lift' is the wrong word. A film about the Holocaust is unlikely to lift my spirits but one can still be awakened by such things.
We go away and think about what we've seen. And we're affected by what we see. Perhaps 'touch' would be a better word.

And that was my first reaction to coming in contact with the Internet; I felt touched. But then I had come 'in contact' with something; the notion of taction contact is implicit in an expression like that. Let's clarify something though: my life had not been one devoid of human contact – I had hugged and been hugged – but this was different for me because all of a sudden I was able to get in touch with people who were like me and that was new.

Let me explain. I began writing in my early teens, as so many of us do, but it never petered away with me as it did with others. No, rather it became the focal point of my life around which everything else revolved. Trying to explain this to everyone around me, for they were all non-writers, was next to impossible and yet within a few days pottering around on the Internet, perhaps a week at the most, I had made contact with a number of other people out there who treated me as normal. Yes, it's perfectly acceptable to get out of bed to write things down. Of course, why did you think it wasn't? But it was more than that even: writing about things was not simply accepted, it was expected.

This was an incredibly uplifting thing for me and I don't think children nowadays who have grown up with the Internet will appreciate what life was like before when you were forced to interact solely within your peer group – the kids at school, the fellows at work or church – and this was your world. So you made do.

Relationships though are about give and take. Again, at the beginning I was really only interested in me: talk to me, read my stuff, tell me I'm great. And I got that – my ego was well and truly massaged. Ah, another taction metaphor! Yes, I'm never one to refuse a back rub and I could sure use a neck rub right now – is there a writer living I wonder who doesn't suffer from neck pain? – but, much as I like them, I'm sure even I could get sick of nothing but constant back rubs.

There's supposed to be more happiness in giving than in receiving. Perhaps there is, and I'd like to think I'm a generous person, but if I'm giving then someone needs to be receiving and if they're as natural a giver as I am, then I'm sure it must be hard for them to receive, but the fact remains that a giver needs a receiver and a receiver needs a giver – it's symbiosis.

And there is something lovely and symbiotic I've found about relationships on the Web. People are very willing to help virtual – and sometimes total – strangers, locate scraps of information or provide answers to their questions and often more. There was one I came across a couple of weeks ago. A woman's daughter was doing a school project in which she wanted to illustrate how global the World Wide Web truly is. She proposed to take a note of all the countries that visited her mother's blog. Simple enough. Word spread and people began contacting their friends in out-of-the-way places.

I don't know how many she ended up with but I was encouraged by the fact that complete strangers would do this for a little girl in America. And, yes, I was involved too. I wrote to a friend in Bosnia because I could see it wasn't on her list of countries that had responded and my friend was happy to help out and I myself added Scotland to the list.

I am sure that if there is one problem that the Internet has gone a long way towards eradicating then that is loneliness. I know that at any minute of the day or night I can log onto my computer and make contact with a live person. Okay, responses are sometimes delayed but responses do come. I even had a go at chat once but my fingers were not up to the challenge – they couldn't keep up with my thoughts and my thoughts refused to express themselves in words of one syllable – but it's an option for the dexterously nimble out there. And, yes, we sometimes rub each other up the wrong way – that happens in relationships, and, make no mistake, there is nothing virtual about some of the relationships I have developed online. (No, rubbing's not another taction metaphor – it's friction).

For me personally, the Internet has provided purpose. Having spent so many years in isolation as a writer I'd got used to my own company and there are times now I've even felt crowded in by all the people there are out there willing to get involved in…well, pretty involved conversations, I have to say. But being able to write and to have people read what I write and (so they tell me) look forward to reading what I write means that whatever I write will be read, guaranteed. And these readers respond, support, encourage and inspire me to do my best for them. Readers are no longer an abstract thing for me. They have names. I know where many of them live, what they do to earn a crust, bits and bobs about their family life. They're friends. Okay, most of them live hundreds if not thousands of miles away and I'll never get to take them for a coffee. A couple live just the other side of the Clyde and you never know.

Of course the Internet is not perfect but perfection is relative. A hammer is perfect for hammering in nails but you can also club someone to death with it. And so the Internet, a great idea for mass communication, has its dark side and you really don't need me to elaborate on that here. The point is, just because something can be misused doesn't mean it has to be. I have a hammer in my toolbox and I've never once considered beating someone's brains in with it. Okay, maybe the once. We talk about the Global Village – well, even local villages have their seamier sides. If your were to base your view of the English countryside simply on the novels of Agatha Christie then no one would want to live there.

If the Internet is anything, though, it is a magic jar. As for the jars in my house, you pretty much get out of them what you put in them. Not so the Internet. I produce a literary blog but I get to read blogs on a whole host of subjects: music, films, whatever. And as a research tool I cannot imagine having to go back to the old ways, the treks to the libraries with pockets full of change for the photocopier.

So, I hope I've inspired you. That was my intent. What you do with the inspiration is up to you. If you've had any doubts about getting involved in the Internet then put them aside. You'll be surprised how little you need to know to get started. I started off by typing 'poetry' into a search engine and I could fill a book telling you where that led.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jim Murdoch of "The Truth About Lies" needs no elaborate introduction. He is a well-respected member of the writing community at Entrecard.

He is a poet by heart and a novelist by chance(I'm not sure of this though); but he sure writes novels that have uncommon interesting plots. Read what I wrote about his novel Living With the Truth.

Visit his blog to learn more about him.

Thanks Jim for participating in my first book venture. Kudos to you!



1st Photo by: Sarah Giesecke
2nd Photo by:
JenCarole
3rd Photo by: taggle burman



Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Butterfly Award from Jean and the tag from HotMomma


The Butterfly Award
was given by Jean of Jean’s Musings; While the tag was passed on by Mathe of HotMomma.

These two beautiful ladies are excellent writers, that is why I am flattered by this award and this tag. Thanks.

The Butterfly Award rules are: (I copied this verbatim from Jean’s blog.)


Quote

“Pass the award on to seven blogs (I choose 18 blogs) of your choice.

Link back to the blogger who gave you the award/ awards.

Let the new winners know they have received an award by commenting on their blog.”

Unquote


For the tag given by Mathe of HotMomma; it is about revealing some personal stuff, so that your readers will come to know you more. Well, what is there to know about me? I’m a transparent person…
Mathe and Maritz(the singer)

I have 9 blogs and I try my best to maintain them, in spite of a full time, demanding job. And well, when I say “demanding job”, it really is. Let me reveal 5 “personal” things about me that very few people know of...lol

1. I find writing/blogging my way of relaxation. When I write, it seems all my worries and problems disappear.

2. I consider this blog Gewgaw Writings as a “sacred” blog as even if my Google page rank is 3, I still do not want to “desecrate” it with paid posts. I’m writing in this blog because I want to express my thoughts, and not because I wanted to attract more advertisers. This is purely my writing blog. I hope I would be able to maintain this, as I intended to. Yes, I have a single adsense ad at the topmost portion and one at the side bar, but paid posts? (Well, I accepted 2 offers, but I enjoyed writing them that's why. Cheers!)

3. I do write paid posts for the other blogs, but I don’t blog to earn. I blog to be able to write. Earning is just the icing on the cake. It feels good to be paid for doing what you love to do - write.

4. I write too for Helium.com, Associated Content, and Triond.com. These are all writing sites that pay per view of your article. I find writing for Helium more challenging as topics are provided and you got to compete with prolific and established writers. There is an on-going writing contest now at the site and the topics are very interesting. I hope you take part in this contest and win prizes too.

5. I love to sing. I could carry a tune, in fact, I sang on stage during a Christmas Party (Yikes!) and you could have seen their faces brighten up with … (?) I didn’t ask what their impression was, so I can’t write it down.

So there you are; I hope you learned something new about me. And Mathe, I was a good reader too while I was still in the elementary grades. I was then reading books which were meant for mature persons ...he he he.

Jean and Mathe, you’re doing well at Helium with rating and ranking stars. Congratulations, keep writing.

Thanks for including me in your list.

I passed on both (the award and the tag), to the following blogs that I admire. Each of these blogs has a unique genre all its own. Visit them and see for yourself. You won't regret it!

1. The Spitting Vessel
2. Ken Armstrong Writing Stuff
3. The Big Picture
4. Ruminations of a Small Town Mountain Boy
5. Caught in the Stream
6. The Esoterical Journey
7. Jean’s Musings
8. The Struggling Blogger
9. The Truth About Lies
10.Livelife365
11. Father Blogger Dot Com
12. Slightly Drunk
13. Baa Baa Blogging
14. Diary of a Start Up Mom
15. HotMomma
16. Seeking Things Above
17. Purpled Sky
18. Pinay Mommy Online

It is with honor that I give you this award and this tag. Happy blogging!



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

FREE PICTURES - Utah



FREE PICTURES- Kalinga



Friday, November 7, 2008

Living with the Truth: A Book by Jim Murdoch - A Reader's Perspective

I have been a constant reader of Jim Murdoch’s posts in his blog "The Truth About Lies", and I marvel at his expertise in poetry and writing.
Jim Murdoch

I had that rare opportunity of reading one of his books entitled: “Living With the Truth”, and I have to say that it was a unique read for me.

I want to express my thoughts as a reader. I will not critic the book as I am not an expert book critic; but I am a voracious reader though, so I can say that in this area, I could dare to comment.

This is an informal write up of how I perceive his book: “Living with the Truth.”




The book cover

I like simple things at times, so when I saw the plain and simple cover, I became more curious of what the content would be.

I know that, “Thou shall not judge a book by its cover,” but I do that often when buying books. I read the title, and look at the cover and decide whether to buy it or not. I don’t read the summaries at the back cover because I don’t want to know beforehand how the story would evolve.





The content

When I read the first sentence: “Had it been Death that had called that day everything would have been right, ” it gripped my attention immediately.

What I perceive in the first pages of the flash back on Jonathan Payne’s life is that he was a man with natural urges and needs, and the author expressed this vividly. I laughed when I read this sentence: “She dozed off while he was doing it –but he did it anyway.” (referring to Jonathan’s ex-lover).

There were several such sentences in the book that left me chuckling or smiling and it created a lively approach to an otherwise serious and boring presentation. Think about talking about life, truth, faith and love, without the ice breakers!

I’d like to believe that the “serious looking” Jim has indeed a sense of humor and this has come out naturally in the course of his writing.

I; however, faltered after I reached page 7. After a few days, I went on to read up to page 13. This is the page when Mr. Truth intruded into Jonathan’s otherwise humdrum existence. This was the “read until dawn” page for me. I had to know what happened next …and then next…and then next.

I tried imagining Mr. Truth actually appearing at my doorstep and I, asking him all the vital questions that had bugged my mind for years. “Is there really a God?” “Is there life after death? “ Who goes to heaven?” “When will I die? (But I will have to ask this last, lol) “Are there other creatures in the solar system?” Some of these questions had been asked by Jonathan himself.

The author was able to convey credibility to his story by gradually revealing and weaving the small plots into the thought processes of Jonathan; his unbelief and denial at first, and then his final acceptance of the reality of Truth.

I have read countless books and this is the first time I have encountered Truth assuming the nature of a man. It is a totally innovative plot presented in a believable manner. How to effectively allow Truth to assume a human form and yet be the Truth that “it” really is. Jim was able to maintain this balancing act; not too phony as to lose the interest of readers : “He was actually fairly handsome, as best Jonathan could recognize looks in men…” but mysterious at the same time as to portray what “it” really is – an existing collection of verified facts : “ Most gods pretty much tend to look for exclusive devotion…” Truth said, when asked about God.

I enjoyed the conversations that Jonathan had with Mr. Truth and the eventual realization of Jonathan of the truth about himself.

The conclusion

The end of the story has left me in deep thought for several days. I even read it twice to see if I understood it correctly…lol…

I have searched for the mot juste for Jim’s story in the person of Jonathan Payne, but up to this moment , I found none that could accurately do so. The book may have a simple plot. Mr. Truth comes into Jonathan Payne’s life and with the help of Mr. Truth, he discovered inevitably the truth about himself.

It is not as simple as it seems however, because the story deals with the intricate webs of the human mind. It delved deep into Jonathan Payne’s aspirations, fears, regrets about past events, his doubts and intriguing questions about faith and the uncertain future.


It was an adventure in itself for Jonathan as it was for me. This reason is more than enough for me to recommend this book.

The conclusion was “sweet” but unexpectedly - shall I say – unjustified?

I want to expound more but you have to find out for yourself. The book has inspired several questions that I hope I could eventually seek the answers to, in my own personal way.

Each of us has his own individual journey to self discovery, just like Jonathan Payne; hopefully, just like him, we will arrive to the answers to our questions.

All in all, it was a wonderful, totally unique read.
Thanks Jim Murdoch for sharing this book with us.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

FREE PICTURES - Petri Dishes



FREE PICTURES- Hotel Lobby



Thursday, October 30, 2008

Memories for my Mother - (for Book on Inspirational Stories)

By: DURANO LAWAYAN

At an age where only memories could uplift her spirits, my mother was denied this one final chance at relief. She was afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and passed away on December 2, 2005.

The ailment began to manifest itself in 1992, a few months after my father's death. The images she nurtured in her mind all seemed to blur as`the stages progressed. Relatives theorized that her will to continue waned when the only man she loved passed `away. My concerns then were not on theories but on the fact that my mother was losing us, the children and grandchildren she had cared for and dedicated her life to - not in the physical sense, but in the meaning of all she had endured for us all - to see us successfully through. It is those memories of the efforts she exerted, whether we showed appreciation for these or thoughtlessly took for granted, that would provide the most meaningful reason for her existence. Yet these were continuously eaten away by an irreversible malaise that championed her plight into oblivion. She was almost unknown to herself.

She died without recognizing any of us, nor her grandchildren, even at very close range. On several occasions, she would ask who we were , forgetting our response to the same query a few seconds ago. It often reminded me of a period in 1973, when even at a far distance, she recognized me and I could instantly feel her longing to hug me; despite being barred by soldiers and a wired fence, looking so gaunt, bruised, unclean and unrecognizable from loss of weight and psychological pain. I could feel the hurt etched in her eyes and see the tears welling her face, and I began to recognize the agony she went through, the pain of not knowing for several months whether I was alive or dead. The only positive factor the ailment brought was that she lost the painful events that transpired in the course of her struggle, to direct our lives the best way she knew how. It is a most bitter irony for her to be denied the joy of remembering that we all made it, in spite of ourselves and the depth of our youthful flaws. She lived in us but we faded in her. In a lot of instances, we were the closest strangers in her world, a world that increasingly became strange to her.

My mother was a natural soprano and she could liven up an evening with songs. She also delighted in seeing us perform and dance to the music of our generation, and adapted to singing and memorizing the lyrics of the 60's and 70's genre of artists and songs. In 2001, I bought her a karaoke machine and programmed it with songs she used to sing. What was uncanny was that she would start talking about events as a song was played. It gave proof that the songs which were such a part of her life allowed the flow of memories which were attached to it. Thus began my nightly concerts with my mother. We`were later joined by my kids and her other grandchildren. But the songs she chose to sing moved from the 60's to the 40's, until she could no longer sing any of those we programmed into the unit. Her disease was progressing fast.

On that final night, we tucked her to bed as she hummed an old folk song in her native dialect which we never heard of. She died in her sleep. But I was grateful for what memories returned when she played the karaoke unit. I was happy that even in fleeting moments, she was able to savor the mirth of the union with her family under the pleasant atmosphere of peaceful existence and carefree celebrations. I was extremely thankful that even in those rarest of times and tiniest of instances, she was my mother, and I her son.

My only lament was that I was unable to add more to her fondest memories when she was still in a position to remember. I am however assuaged by the fact that in some magical way, I was able to bring memories for my mother.

As always, Happy Mother's Day, Mom!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

DURANO LAWAYAN of The Spitting Vessel is one writer I admire so much.

I know my description would not be sufficient to describe this brilliant, dynamic writer.

He writes about anything and everything under the sun, with such fluency and audacity. Yes, he writes from the heart and expresses his thoughts-no matter what. This extraordinary ability demonstrates a person who have been exposed to a lot of varied life experiences.

You should visit his blog to understand what I mean.

Thanks again Durano, for contributing to my soon to be published book - "Inspirational Stories of Bloggers All Over the World."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

CHAPTER 16: UMMA AYAM SINSANA (WHERE ARE YOU NOW?) The Realization

Note from the author:

I posted chapter 15 weeks ago. I know chapter 16 was long overdue but I have been busy with helium which I find to be an amazing site for writers.

This chapter was also written weeks ago, but I had wanted to polish it to perfection before posting. I was unable to do this though, even now, due to time constraint (work is at its peak).

I hope you do forgive the typos. If you see one, send me a PM...lol... or you could mention this in your comment.

Welcome back to the adventures of the Kalinga Man. I hope that you'll be able to connect this story to the previous chapters. Enjoy!



**************************************************
It was past 9 pm when Benny arrived home from school.

He stayed out late on purpose because he still was not prepared to talk to Julia.

The eerie silence that greeted his footfalls cloaked him with a sense of foreboding. The lights were all turned off, save for the one at the living room. The night was as silent as a catacomb, except for the chirping of some cicadas .

His heart did a double flip when a sudden thought struck him.

Where were Julia and Andre?

His footsteps quickened as he unlocked the door and walked into the shadows of the empty living room. Surely, Julia would still be awake?

His heart drummed steadily now in his chest. He could hardly breathe.

Scaling the stairs in three big strides, he flung the door to their bedroom.

Julia and Andre were curled up in a blissful slumber.

His breathing had stopped for a brief moment and was now laboring to go back to normal.

Weak at the knees, he groped for the chair and sat down.

For a second he had thought they had gone away – away from him.

His eyes were wet with relief. It was apparent they had been asleep for several hours now.

He stared at the two most important people in his life and realized that he would not be able to survive without them.

They were his life – his bloodline!

Julia shouting at him was a reflex reaction to the anxiety of what might have happened to their baby. He should have understood that. Of all people, he should have had an idea of how Julia would react.

Slowly, he approached the bed and stood there just watching them.

Julia looked lovelier than ever, her face was that of a nymph in repose.

Photo by Perfecto Insecto

He knelt and caressed Julia’s hair and touched his son’s tiny hands. He closed his eyes with gratitude and basked in his loved ones’ physical presence.

“Ben? “ Julia mumbled, blinking the cobwebs of sleepiness as she awakened to Ben’s touch.

“I love you , “ Benny whispered .

Julia was fully awake now. “Did anything happen?”

She sat up worriedly ant stopped Benny’s caressing hand in midair.

“No, nothing happened. I said I love you.”

He persisted, finding her mouth, searching for her tongue.

Julia struggled at first but, the gentle prodding of Benny’s tongue in the sensitive areas of her mouth made her respond.

They clung to each other like two thirsty travelers who had finally found the much desired oasis in the middle of the arid desert.

It had been days since they made love!

No words were necessary after that.

They made slow, passionate love exploring once again the territories that they had once claimed and knowing exactly what carnal, blissful acts could bring them both to a blinding and explosive orgasm .

***********

“Anecdotal evidence comes in two specific meanings. First, is when the evidence comes in the form of an anecdote or hearsay,” The professor was doing his rounds , as usual.

“What is the second meaning?” His eyes scanned the room and focused on Benny.

Benny stood up. “The second is evidence that may in itself be verifiable and true. But this stems from generalizing an insufficient amount of evidence. If I’m a heavy drinker and die of an airplane crash at the age of 60, this would not disprove the proposition that drinking alcohol causes irreversible liver cirrhosis and eventual death. This is a perfect example of the evidence being true but not warranting the conclusion. ”

The professor was nodding vigorously, “ Yes, yes,” he was happy with the answer. “ and in these two cases, both conclusions are unreliable and therefore are called anecdotal because they don’t follow from the evidence itself.”

Photo by imjoshdotcom

After their class, the professor instructed Benny to stay. “Now, what does he want this time,” Benny wondered.

“ Mr. Lomiwan, I understand you had close ties with the outside forces?”

“ I beg your pardon, Attorney?” he had not heard that term for months now. “outside forces” was a discreet term used in civilized society to refer to the NCA rebels.

“You have been a kumander…and…”the professor was talking in sotto voce now.

“I’m listening ,” Benny urged him not so gently.

“and I have heard from a reliable source that your ex-comrades have put up a prize for your head.”

Benny looked at the professor for some interminable minutes, sizing him up and allowing the ominous words to sink in.

Of course, the professor knew who he was. His picture had been splashed all over the headlines of newspapers more than a year ago.

Even his classmates in law school must have known about him. How could he assume that he was incognito?

He was wary of the professor , remembering how he meant to embarrass him during their first week in class.

“What’s your take in all these, Attorney?”

“I want you to be safe.”

“Did they pay you for this?”

“I’ll accept that rudeness for the shabby way I treated you before, but listen to me -”

“C’mon professor, don’t tell me you’re concerned now about my safety?” Benny interrupted him.

“Listen to me, “ the professor fixed him with an angry glare, ignoring his sarcastic comment

“Don’t take this as a joke. Be careful, carry something for your protection, ” and he left Benny without a backward glance.

********

At home, Benny stared at the menacing glint of his colt 45 which has long been kept in the closet. The only gun which the government had left in his possession. “For your protection,” General Aman had said.

The gory violence he went through for several years in his life in the mountains however was certainly no longer welcomed. He would never go back to that way of life again. It had been a constant struggle to stay alive; always on the look-out , always on the move.

He have been forced out of circumstances to that path, and now that he has the freedom to choose between violence and peace - he would always choose the latter one. He would never succumb to using his gun - ever again.
Photo by eperales

He closed the box with a final vow and returned it to the closet. He sneaked a peek at Andre’s bedroom.

The baby was smiling in his sleep. He caressed Andre’s cheek and felt warm joy creeping through him.

Tiptoeing back to their bedroom , he enclosed the drowsy Julia in a warm, loving embrace and realized what a lucky man he was.

Outside the apartment, in the shadows of the trees, the lurking figure stood watching, as the light in the bedroom was finally turned off.



_HOME

Sunday, October 19, 2008

"I Love Your Blog " Award From Caught in the Stream


I received a few weeks ago the "I Love Your Blog" award from Francis Scudellari of Caught in the Stream. I am extremely honored to have been given this award by an artist I admire so much- the quintessential artist.

Francis is a brilliant poet, storywriter and "abstoon" (that's what he calls his dynamic drawings-a cross between the abstract and cartoons)artist.

I had given him the award before in my Working Abroad blog and will be giving the same blogs again this award of admiration.

Thanks Francis for the honor and kudos to you!