The Game-Changer

It’s my first day off from work for 2015 (as my boyfriend [yes, whuuut] has astutely pointed out), and I finally have the time to sit down and (try to) put into words something I have reflected on quite a few times the past year.

I’ve talked to a lot of friends about 2014 and how truly amazing it was for me. I’m not sure if it was because I had a so-so 2013, but 2014 was just really full of blessings upon blessings I couldn’t even wrap my head around. This, of course, doesn’t apply to all my friends, although most of them agree it was also fantastic for them. But anyway, whenever I find myself thinking about what I have done to deserve such blessings, I just end up totally dumbstruck. It was today, though, that I did a Zedd (found my Moment of Clarity, LOLZ).

I’mma let you in on a little secret: I’ve only started counting “awesome” years since my second birth date (i.e. 2010). Don’t get me wrong, my school days were also fantastic, but I feel now that I really wasn’t myself then, if you get what I mean. Funny story, I had just recently revisited my high school LiveJournal and (unfortunately) shown it to the boyf without first reading it thoroughly. What I reread totally caught me (and him, I’m sure) off-guard. Well, no, not really, but I didn’t expect my high school self to be THAT bad, at least. I obvi have selective memory. To give you an overview: cursing, ranting, and more cursing and ranting. Hahahaha. Hahaha. Haha. Ha. Hmm. But yeah, seriously, I was such a drama queen. I made issues out of non-issues. #immaturity2005

ANYWAY.

First birthday, 2011, was fab. Went to New York and met Dan Radcliffe and all. But it was also the year of transition. It was then that I started and left my first job.

Second birthday, 2012, was the year I tried to find myself. I took up a vocational course in Web Design and Animation and joined a community that helped me know myself by first knowing God.

2013 was a bit blah. It was a year of trials and tears, but also a year of reaping and rejoicing.

Now, 2014, this is the year to beat. I got my dream job, a surprise blessing, the opportunity to serve the Lord through song, and the chance to visit my dream destination. The learnings have not stopped since then.

But seriously, why? I CAN NOT UNDERSTAND. What have I done to deserve this? Then again, today, I thought, maybe I’m asking the wrong questions. Maybe the right thing to ask is what has changed? What have I added or subtracted in my life for me to come to this point? To this, I could only think of one answer: GOD.

Of course.

In all this time that I have started giving importance to the life I have been blessed with, I have been most conscious about God — His goodness, His mercy, and His great hold on me. The past few years? They weren’t sh*t. Actually, even if 2014 was crappy, I’d probably still think it was okay, because I would still hold on to the hope that things would eventually get better.

That’s it. HOPE. If I were to be thankful for anything, it would really be HOPE. The promise of hope community has taught me that could only come from God. Hope He has given me to create dreams to chase after, hold on when trials abound, trust that unselfish love exists, and see the good despite the haze of oppression. I think 2014 was by far the best because I have experienced so much hardships in my 2013, and it was the year after that His promise of prospering and not harming and giving us more than we could ever imagine came to be. It was in 2014 that I realized the magnitude of God’s grace, mercy, and love. Grabe lang, guys, can I just say? IBA SI LORD MAMIGAY. O.A. SIYA.

And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. (Deuteronomy 28:1-68)

(More quotes on ABUNDANCE, guys. His promises are wonderful and I am a witness to their fulfillment.)

Sigh. My faith has been tested many times the past year and I have honestly felt disconnected from Him. But despite all these, He always gives me the opportunity to come back. Once even, through my Intercessory shepherd, He sent me a message. My shepherd said, “What you’re feeling now isn’t disconnection from God but rather, increased consciousness of His presence in your life.” Like, since my relayshe with Him is deeper now, whenever I miss out on reading the Word for the day, I end up thirsty. And this shouldn’t be mistaken for disconnection. That was such a beautiful message. One that I needed to hear. Thank You.

Reflecting on it now, I’m not really sure how my life would be if I hadn’t found God. I’d probably still be lost, purposeless, trying to find meaning in worldly things.

In 2015, I resolve to further strengthen my relationship with Him. Now that I am not burdened with regularization-related stuff, I can go on focusing again on things that really matter. This is going to be a big year for the Philippines, what with Pope Francis coming to visit. It’s going to be a big year for our community as well as we celebrate #ServantLeadership2 in July. Plus, there’s the annual Singles Encounter Weekend where I’ll be serving again, yay. 🙂

My prayer for you in 2015 is that you would be able to establish a connection with Him as well. I hope things work out for you in all aspects of your life. Keep dreaming and keep praying! Claim victory! Believe that you have received what you’re asking for and it shall be done for you. (Mark 11:24)

Have a blessed 2015, my friends! Hope to be able to interact with you more this year. 🙂

The future looks bright. :) [Millennium Bridge, London]
The future looks even brighter. 🙂 [Millennium Bridge, London]

Perspective

Before anything else, let me just say that I’m still trying to get my blogging mojo back. So if this entry ends up all soupy, please forgive me.

———

On our way home from worship last Tuesday, dad updated me on the current status of our fellow community member and his battle against cancer. He had just found out that night that tito was actually diagnosed with colon cancer and that he had undergone the normal chemo regimen. He’s been fine for months now. “He didn’t need radiation anymore,” dad said, and we went on to discuss my treatment and how it had played out longer than expected.

Quick summary: Originally, my treatment was just supposed to be 6 chemo cycles. When I went for a CT scan on the 6th, things had already changed considerably, but not enough to be cleared; so we went on for 4 more. After the 10th, I had another scan done and nothing had changed. My onco told me he could either a) change my regimen or b) refer me for radiation. We went with B and 3 years and 40 radiation therapy sessions after, here I am, alive and well. 🙂

Anyway, that conversation of ours made me realize a couple things. (Introverted Psych major — can there be a more lethal combo?)

First off, that I had the best doctors ever. Second, that for a survivor, I’m doing a pretty crap job at taking care of myself and living life to the fullest. Third, and most important of all, that I have been acting like a total ditz lately.

So yeah, I realized I’ve been bitching about so many things lately. So many TRIVIAL things, now that I think about it. I’ve asked God so many times already why He has kept me on hold for this long. But then when I stop and reflect on it, hasn’t He already tested my patience and perseverance once? And hadn’t I succeeded? What’s so different this time around? That I’m not sick? That I know I can now take matters into my own hands, since I’m not anymore hanging on for dear life? Hashtag self-burn.

I guess my greatest takeaway here is PERSPECTIVE. Right now, everything’s going fine and dandy, except for maybe two aspects of my life. I don’t really know why I’m complaining — well, actually, yeah I do: I want to become a well-functioning member of society and be the independent woman I claim to be. On the other hand, I have all this time on my hands to work on creative projects and improve myself and chizz. All that, while still getting to eat three full meals a day (and not worrying about having my hard-earned money turn into Koko Krunch).

As human beings, we tend to focus on things that get in the way of us having “the perfect life”. Thus, making us glaze over the million other things that are going right. I’m complaining right now about having to wait for what I want, but if God hadn’t taught me to wait 3 years ago, would I still even be here worrying about this? And hasn’t He already proven so many times in the past that the trials that come my way are all for my benefit?

Perspective. GRATITUDE and perspective. Be thankful for what you have now, appreciate the life you lead, and take things in stride. Be patient and always look on the bright side. Instead of focusing on the trivial problems, focus on the bigger picture. #NotesToSelf

This song played on my iPod immediately after I had experienced something unfortunate the other day. Sharing it with you. Indeed, the answers to life’s questions take time. Things may not be clear now, but they will be soon. 🙂

P.S. Sorry for being so soupy. Hope you’re all doing well!

Photo credit: http://holdeeeeat.wordpress.com

“I will praise You in this storm.”

The Luzon part of the Philippines is currently under the mercy of Typhoon Maring. We’ve been experiencing torrential rains since the weekend and it’s only really today that we’ve felt this sort of calm. Some places are still partially submerged, but otherwise, rain has already pretty much abated.

My church friends and I checked up on each other this morning and discussed how since Ondoy, citizens of the Philippines (Manila, in particular) have been practicing CONSTANT! VIGILANCE! and are now more prepared, less stubborn, and much quicker at enforcing rescue operations. We’re in a (moderately) better place now, figuratively speaking, and everything else after that incident has been taken in stride (at least that’s what I’d like to think).

Anyway, I was going through my Twitter feed when I read this retweet:

Sa sobrang sama kasi ng ugali natin. Ayan, pinaparusahan tayo ni God. :”(

Loosely translated: “God is punishing us now because we’re such terrible people!”

And now I’m typing this blog because this statement just got me so riled up. Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert on Christianity or religion or whatevs, so please know that whatever I type from here on in is based purely on my personal experiences and what I’ve learned while trying to grow in my faith.

I’ve long since let go of the notion that if I do something bad, God will punish me. Or that if I keep doing good, God will NOT punish me. For example: pre-cancer, I’ve always tried to live responsibly and in harmony with other people (sans the momentary bitch fits). I went to mass every Sunday and didn’t receive communion until I’ve confessed all my sins. And yet I got sick with something so deadly. My first question for God then was, “WHY? WHY ME? WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG TO DESERVE THIS?” And the answer? NOTHING. I’ve done nothing wrong except stress myself out, eat junk food, and totally stave off sleep. But He allowed for it to happen so I would be where I am now (i.e. much more responsible, less tactless, and not so spiritually-empty).

In the time that has passed since then, I’ve learned that God will never give us something that we can not handle. Whatever doesn’t kill us will make us stronger; and if it does kill us, it’s just because we’ve already fulfilled our purpose in the world. You can claim that my faith is blinding me, but I don’t find anything illogical in choosing to stay positive despite all the trials that get thrown my way.

But staying positive, having faith and hope, isn’t the only thing we should be doing. We should also make sure that we ACT accordingly as well. In the case of this storm, we can’t just claim that God is punishing us for our arrogance. This isn’t even God’s fault, but ours! Our country’s infrastructures are already mediocre at best, without the garbage of a million people irresponsibly strewn everywhere, clogging drainage systems. Then there’s the current issue of stolen funds and how it could have been used for the development of said infrastructures… but, you know, one issue at a time.

Point is, all these are but repercussions of our carelessness toward the environment; the world which God created for us to live in. He is not punishing us for being terrible, for He is a wonderful and merciful God; slow to anger, and rich in kindness and compassion!

I asked my dad this before typing this entry: “But doesn’t it say in the bible that God struck down all His enemies and stuff?” And he answered saying, “But that was in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, the covenant with God was renewed. When He sent Jesus, everything changed.” I researched about this as well, and I found this on the interwebs:

When Jesus died, he brought into affect the New Covenant.

For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. – Hebrews 9:15

Since we all live today after the cross, from God’s time-line perspective, we are living in the age of the New Covenant. The new covenant is one where God remembers our sins no more.

“This is the covenant I will make with them after that time,” says the Lord. “I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds.” Then he adds: “Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin. – Hebrews 10:16-18

Moral of the story? Don’t ever let me read tweets like this ’cause you’re just going to bring out the spiritual activist in me. KIDDING. (Not really.) But no, seriously. Do your part in saving the environment. Clean up! Reduce, reuse, and recycle! Don’t litter! Lessen your carbon footprint! Keep calm and carry on. When able, help those who are in need. Don’t blame God for your inequities. Thank Him for everything else that is going RIGHT in your life.

I admire one of my friends who posted about their house already being flooded and how they had to evacuate to the second floor. Yet she claimed that she was “still blessed”.

We have been made strong enough over the course of a few years to withstand the storms, literal or figurative, in our lives. You’re still tweeting. You’re still reading this blog entry. You’re still alive and able to help others in need. SO DO IT and be thankful for the chance to be able to do it.

On this note, please do check out these links:
Important hashtags for government and media to monitor situations around the metro
Relief response needed from people living in the south

Thank you!

And this concludes my being preachy. I leave you with this very inspiring song. Stay strong, safe, and faithful, my friends.

Sunday Thoughts: Age & Spirituality

It is Pentecost Sunday as of writing, and a series of events have happened throughout the day that led me to think of these two topics: AGE and SPIRITUALITY.

Let’s start with AGE. I was attending mass this afternoon when this really pretty lady, maybe in her 40s, walked in. There were no seats left so she just stood in the corner for about a minute. One guy from the choir offered her his seat, which I found strange, as there were at least two other women before Pretty Lady who passed by and didn’t even get the same gesture. Perks of being pretty, I guess? Or just mere happenstance?

Anyway, I kept glancing at the lady all throughout the mass ’cause she was just REALLY gorgeous! She was probably half-Spanish; her skin was clear and perfectly olive. Her hair, medium golden blonde with a few gray streaks. She wore a black ensemble paired with tasteful silver accessories, and toted a white Chanel-looking bag. Everything about her just screamed CLASSY!!! and DID NOT UNDERGO COSMETIC SURGERY!!! and I found myself wishing I could age even just half as gracefully as she had.

Despite this, though, if you look carefully, you could still guess which age bracket she belonged to. I then found myself looking at the other women beside her and calculating their respective ages. At one point, I looked at my mom and thought, “She doesn’t look like she’s turning 60 soon. Hmm…” And, “Aww yeah, I’m not going to be fat when I reach her age!” LOL genes. ♥

Anyhoo, the priest also happened to share with us an anecdote about him being asked to bless a lady who was turning 105 years old. He shared how he asked what the lady’s secret was for reaching that age and what changes she noticed over the past century. Apparently, he never got the answers to his questions ’cause the century-old lady was already hard of hearing.

A thought struck me as he was giving his homily — we will never be as young as we are at the moment. People my age sometimes joke about how old we’ve gotten and how time has gone by so fast. One minute we’re just in our living rooms watching Dexter’s Laboratory on TV and the next minute, we’re applying for jobs or, gasp, getting married and having babies.

What I think my age bracket fails to appreciate, though, is that we are currently in our prime! At this point, our bodies, supposedly, are at their most optimal state! It’s at this age that we’re at our most beautiful and are virtually wrinkle-free; we’re armed with all the necessary artillery and our bodies can basically recover from anything we throw at it (assuming they’re thrown in moderation). We’re also considered LEGAL, so we can do whatever we want without people thinking we’re too young or too old for it. Doesn’t that just sound so exciting?!

This just further strengthens the idea of how we, the twenty-somethings, should use this time to experiment or find out what we truly want in our lives. Think about it: most of us are done with university and are just getting into our first (few) jobs. There’s still time for trial and error before we decide to settle down (whether financially or whatever else). There are still so many places to visit and hipster music festivals to attend. There’s also a huge opportunity to discover spirituality ’cause we finally have the time (and space) to get away and drown out all the noises around us.

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My cousin went to my house tonight to discuss her anxieties about her future as an artist and an art major. It was a long conversation that involved the keywords pre-quarter life crisis, priorities, timelines, and SPIRITUALITY. Basically, I told her that I went, and still am going, through the same motions and that it was too early for her to think that way. The thing with my cousin is that she can be too intense sometimes. I kept telling her that she still had a whole decade to figure out what she needed to prioritize and what she needed to trash, and that by worrying, she could just possibly miss out on the things that make being a twenty-something awesome.

One thing I noticed was that I always attacked her problems at a spiritual standpoint. I told her that I wouldn’t have gotten through the motions without the spirit guiding me through all of them, and that her problems could be easily answered if she just had the right mindset.

You see, it was after I got sick that I went through what she’s going through right now. By that time, I had already made up my mind that I wanted to learn more about my faith, so I joined my current community. I have learned SO MUCH since and I felt so blessed I got to share it with my cousin.

I found it quite quaint that these thoughts came to me on Pentecost Sunday — the day that celebrates the time the early church got to receive the Holy Spirit. It made me realize how much I’ve matured since I, myself, got to receive the Holy Spirit through our Life in the Spirit Experience (or LSS, to most). Since then, I’ve gained so much wisdom through teachings and discernment, and I also got to easily forgive and let go of things that weren’t healthy for me.

Serviam's LSE 12. Can you spot me? LOL.
Serviam’s LSE 12. Can you spot me? LOL.

During today’s homily, the priest also mentioned these lines: “When you are filled with the Holy Spirit and you are moved to forgive someone who has hurt you, forgive them. Don’t hold on to the resentment, especially when you feel like you’re being moved to forgive.” This struck me the most ’cause just a few weeks ago, I had randomly messaged someone who hurt me and told them I forgive them. That was a day after the spirit-filled corporate worship we had, and I honestly, HONESTLY felt SO moved to forgive. My inner pride said NO, ABBY, DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, but I still couldn’t stop myself from sending the message. It just felt right. And I immediately felt better afterwards. Have you ever gotten that feeling? It’s just beyond rad!

Anyway, I’m turning preachy again, and that’s far from what I wanted to happen with this entry. Just wanted to write down my thoughts to make sense of them all. Hope you had a wonderful weekend! 😀

Right Hearse Block

Sooooo… I’m back! After pseudo-promising I would be blogging regularly again, alas, I have once again failed! Not only with this, but with my Project 365 as well. I’m quite disappointed with myself, but also a bit proud, ’cause in exchange, I actually got to accomplish so many things in real life.

For example, the successful Singles Encounter Weekend we had last April 12 – 14.

27 new SE babies! Praise God! <3
27 new SE babies! Praise God! <3

Attended a chain of community activities.

The family is growing! <3
The Singles Ministry is growing! <3

Went on numerous roadtrips with the fambam.

EK with the fambam!
Here we are at Enchanted Kingdom. <3

I’ve finally found the time to work on the stuff I’ve put on hold over the past few months due to SE responsibilities. I’ve also seen Iron Man 3 TWICE. YES OMG I HAVE A LIFE. LOL.

But anyway, I kinda miss blogging. I miss using my brain to string up words that pretend to make sense. To be quite honest, I think I’ve actually been hit by writer’s block (or shall I say blogger’s block?). That, and oppression… which I think I’ll focus on in this Welcome Back! blog entry of mine. Hurray! /sarcasm

But no, seriously, life has been quite… interesting as of late. A lot of stuff has happened from the time of my last blog to now that has made me question just what exactly God has in store for me and my family. Today, for example, is my graduation from being an Entrant at our community. I’m finally moving on to Service! Today also happens to be the day my brother’s kidney decided to be a bitch and totally screw him over.

Yeaaaaah, kidney party!
Yeaaaaah, kidney party!

My dad also got randomly bludgeoned on the head by some crazy lady a few weeks ago, but you know, who’s counting. My mom has been keeping a strong front all this time. I’m definitely going all out this coming Mother’s Day.

After all we’ve been through, you’d think I would be cursing The Almighty by now. Nope, total opposite, in fact! It’s during these times that I superglue myself to Him, and I’m very proud to proclaim that He has never left me alone and has even given me thrice as much happiness for every count of sadness.

I never really thought I could be even more positive than I already am, but I have. This realization came to me while I was reflecting on the events of this morning: you don’t FIGHT OPPRESSION with DEPRESSION, you fight it with HAPPINESS (and prayer)!

You know how they say you should smile at your enemies ’cause nothing would confuse them more? Smiling at oppression would be like giving the devil a big F U and a sucker punch to the face. That’s what I think, at least, but there’s no harm in trying it out. You can’t control the bad things that happen to you, but you CAN control how you react to them.

Me? I honestly think that the things happening right now are made to prepare me (and my family) for something great. What that something is is a blur right now, but I’m sure they will be revealed in time. I just have to keep the faith. 🙂

I hope you’re all doing well right now! Sorry for this poor excuse for a post. Still trying to shake off the right hearse block. 🙂

WEALITY WEDNESDAY: Reason, Season, or Lifetime?

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are! They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrong doing on your part, or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.

What we must realise is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered. And now it is time to move on.

When people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn. They bring you an experience of peace, or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it! It is real! But, only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Continue reading “WEALITY WEDNESDAY: Reason, Season, or Lifetime?”

Single Girl Diaries: La Zona De Amigos

New post format. I’ve decided not to spell out this feature’s name anymore just because embarrassment has finally caught up to me. (Really? Just now? LOL.) I feel like I’ve bared too much of my soul online already and every repost of entries with this title screams DESPERAAAAATE. But blogging about it makes me less frustrated and a few of you seem to be able to relate to it so ALL HAIL THIS (NOT SO SECRET) SOCIETY! Haha.

Today I would like to talk about The Friend Zone. If you search “friend zone” on Google, it will come back with really funny images. Here are a few favorites:

SO MUCH LELZ!
Even worse! :))
Friend Zone Fiona
SO TRUE :))
The King of the Friend Zone!

Continue reading “Single Girl Diaries: La Zona De Amigos”

Single Girl Diaries: Head or Heart?

My most favorite professor in the whole entire universe posed this question to me sometime ago: What would you rather be? Smart or in love? Me, being the idealistic person that I am, answered, “Smart AND in love.” Haha. Yeah. And she said it’s not possible to be both. In my head, though, the reason why I answered that is because that’s how I’ve been in the past. I’m in love like but on guard, if you get what I mean. (AND DING DING DING! THAT’S WHY I STILL DON’T HAVE A BOYFRIEND! [Oh yes, despite, over the past weeks, countless accusations and self-jokes about my being a lesbian, I’m sorry, I’m really not. LOL.])

Image from Tumblr

Anyway, the idea for this entry hit me the moment Favorite Prof asked me about it, but was only reinforced because of happenings as of late.

I relearned it’s really not possible to be smart and in love. Simple reasons/scenarios:

  • You act stupid when you do all these crazy things just to get the person you like to notice you.
  • You act stupid when you give meaning to everything your crush says/does.
  • You act stupid when you overanalyze why certain things are and aren’t in relation to your crush (technically, your ability to analyze means you aren’t stupid. It’s only stupid ’cause you could be doing something else, like saving the environment or reading Harry Potter).
  • You act stupid when you give a person complete power over your emotions.

I am so disappointed. And torn. But I’m still determined to find a balance between them. #PsychPower #YeahRight

I told a friend of mine recently that I have already found The One (and The Two and The Three, LOL), but that I won’t be doing anything about it anymore ’cause that’s just so 2008. Haha. I found myself breaking this for a couple days, though, but only so I could perform little Inception-y things. #PsychPower #YeahRight #ButYouBestBelieveIt

Call me cheesy but I believe in destiny. I believe that if it’s for me, it will happen (although we also have to do our part in making it happen). Let’s just say I’ve already done my part and I’m kind of frustrated ’cause I realized I was acting stupid while laying out all the ammunition. (Haha, whut!) So I’m done with the heart part, back to the head. Just waiting for things to fall into place.

This entry is so vague and scatterbrained. Tsk. I’ll come up with better ones next time. Kind of easing myself back into blogging. Haven’t done it in a month. @_@

So anyway, what would you rather be? Smart or in love?