Not till we start asking questions do we get the answers.
Not till we try do we know if it is possible or not.
Not till we test an idea do we find out if it can become real.
Not till we overcome our fears and doubts do we know how brave we are.
Not till we become brave do we know how far we can go.
Not till we see our light do we realize that we are not all darkness.
Not till we cry do we cherish the times we laughed.
Not till we laugh do we understand why we had to cry.
Not till we say thank you for what we have do we get to truly enjoy them.
Not till we get hurt do we know the value of time.
Not till we forgive do we set ourselves free.
Not till we accept our flaws do we see our true beauty.

Not till we love do we understand life.

Not till we pray do we hear His message of salvation.

Not till we believe do we receive what is ours from the beginning.

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Almighty Father, thank you.

Thank you for the last 27 years of being alive. Thank you for the last 365 days I got to spend with the people I love. Thank you for allowing me to be who I am, for making me a teacher, for giving me the gift of words, for enabling me to appreciate and celebrate the creativity of others, and for the quiet moments in between, when I am reminded of just how beautiful and amazing life is.

Thank you for being there for me when things get too much for me to bear and all I can do is pray. Thank you for listening to my prayers, and for granting only those that You know will make me better, and help me be the person you plan me to be. Thank you for letting me cry to you all my frustrations, fears, anxieties, dreads, and worries. Thank you for giving me moments of clarity, where I am in the moment and all I see are the blessings You have endowed on me, unworthy that I am.

Thank you for the sunrise, the rains, the clouds, the stars, the full moons, the rainbows and the sunsets. Thank you for the coffee, the junk food, the dinner dates with my friends and family, and the viands I got to consume this year, and the previous years I’ve been alive. Thank you for the clothes, the shoes, the bags, the make up, and all the other fashionable frivolities I got to enjoy. Thank you for the bustling noise of the city, for the heavy traffic, for the smooth flow of vehicles on a misty morning, for the jeepney drivers, for the ability to walk, for the freedom to go to places, and for the quiet of home.

You have given me so much already and I’ve kept on asking for more, human that I am. I am sorry. Grant that I be more keen in seeing all these blessings in my everyday life, as I welcome a brand new year of existence.

But if You will allow me one more special prayer, my Lord, my God, author of my life… I pray for a family of my own. A good man to be my partner in life. A healthy child to raise who will glorify Your name. A family who will be led and governed by You. A family who will love and serve You. A family who will have You as our Lord, Savior and Redeemer.

I am terrified to ask this, as You are most likely aware, because I don’t want to put myself out there and be vulnerable to disappointment and rejection. Still, I know if I ask, and if I believe, I will receive what is meant for me.

If this is what is meant for me, my God, I know, You will make it happen.

But if you have other plans for me, my Creator… guide and teach me to accept my fate and my purpose. Help me surrender fully to Your will, so that I will be able to accomplish my role in Your majestic plan of salvation.

Before I end this personal prayer, I also would like to lift up all the people in my life to You. Thank you for letting me know and learn from them. Please keep them all safe and guarded. I also lift up my country to You. Keep the Philippines in Your care, my Lord. Lastly, I pray for the world. I pray for tolerance, respect, genuine concern and love for all of humanity, and all of creation.

2015 has been epic. I feel that 2016 will be a time of renewal… to be fresh again…

I don’t know what is in store for me this year. All I know is that I will be still and know You are God.

AMEN.

Gratitude List 2015

With a grateful heart, I take a look back on the things that has made this an epic year. I figured I would do this alphabetically since it’ll be a bit difficult to rank the things I am thankful for, and it’s more organized that way. I did have to choose just one for each letter, or else all this will be a very long post. I will however note the runner-ups, if there are any.

Without further ado, I present to you my Gratitude List for 2015.

A is for ALDUB | This one is very much unexpected. If someone told me that I would become a fan of a local love team, from GMA 7, a TV station I don’t particularly tune in on, I would have laughed out loud and called that person crazy. But here I am, a fan girl. I’ve written and posted tons about this phenomenal pair, and spent hours watching videos and clips about them. I’m trying to wean myself though since this obsession is beginning to feel unhealthy. Even though I have a huge girl crush on Maine Mendoza and I do think that Alden Richards is a good guy, a cynical part in me thinks that their chemistry, though genuine, wouldn’t end up with them together IRL. I just don’t think life’s that neat and pretty, I guess. Then again, a small part of me hopes it’ll happen… like maybe in five years or so. I really just want Maine to be able to stand on her own identity, away from the pressing eyes of AlDub fans. I’ve written as much: I’m fine if they don’t end up together. I’d rather have them as friends for life if that means they’d remain genuine and honest, because that’s the whole reason I became their fan in the first place. But we’ll see. No one can predict what happens next…

Runner – up: A is for Angelicum, the school I’ve badly wanted to be part of for a long time. My experience hasn’t been what I expected, though to be honest it’s more because of my inability to move on from SPCM that has hindered me to fully embrace being an Angelican facilitator. Still, I’ve made up my mind: the traditional system works much better with my philosophy of teaching, no matter how flawed it may become at times. I’m hoping the remaining three months I have left in AC would go on smoothly. All of the things I learned in this institution will help me become a better teacher, and a better person, that’s for sure.

B is for BOOKS | I got to read tons this year, including the Harry Potter series that I’ve planned to finish. It’s been eye – opening to say the least. (Full disclosure: I’m actually watching the movie adaptations as I write this now. I’m on the 6th movie, the one that I wouldn’t have understood when I first saw it in the cinemas if my cousin Agnes, who has read the books prior to seeing the films, were there to explain stuff to me.) Other memorable books I’ve read this year, off the top of my head, are: “Where We Belong” by Emily Giffin, “The Selection’s The Heir” by Kiera Cass, “Looking for Alaska” by John Green, “Veronika Decides to Die” by Paulo Coelho, “Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini and “Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe). I also got to re-read old favorites like Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist” and Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I’m excited to buy tons of books in next year’s MIBF, including the Harry Potter set I plan to read to my future children one day. Will have to save up for that…

C is for COMMUTER LIFE | A life I missed after five years of living near/ beside the school I work in. It has been full of adventure, to say the least.

D is for my many DOUBTS | Yes, I am thankful for them. No, I don’t enjoy having them. Still, I do believe they served a purpose. They’ve kept me grounded, and determined to improve. I’ve surrendered them all to God and I feel lighter.

E for my ENEMIES | I dislike the fact that I do have them. Not that they’re out to get me or anything, but knowing that they don’t like or care for me for whatever I’ve done to them does leave my heart heavy. I am thankful that they exist though, because it just goes to show that you can’t please everyone, and really, you don’t have to. I do hope to be able to make peace with them one day… somehow…

F is for FRIENDS | I’m talking about the six friends I have as well as the American comedy show I love to binge watch over in You Tube. Both groups have made my life easier, just by existing. I really hope my friendships with Jhay and Pami, Mimi and Aileen, Clarizza, and Jade would only get stronger as we get older, even if I don’t see them as often as I would wish.

G is for GOD | My relationship with God has gotten stronger this past three years, and I’m very grateful for that. My faith has kept me saner, amidst all the crazy twists and turns this year has brought on. I don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have God to turn to. I hope never to find out.

H is for HIGH SCHOOL | I’ve prayed for a long time to be able to teach in the high school department, and when I was finally given this gift, I don’t think I got to make the most of it the right way. Still, I am grateful for the unique experience I got. My experience in the grade school has helped me a whole lot, and a part of me misses it. I do plan to get more experience in the secondary levels so that I can be prepared when I do move on to the tertiary levels, eventually.

I is for INDIVIDUALITY AND INDEPENDENCE | At 27, I feel like a grown woman who is free to be herself, and I love that I do.

J is for JEEPNEYS | The primary and cheapest way of commuting in the Philippines is with jeepneys, and I am thankful they exist because as much as I love to walk, I also like to get to my destination without making my legs and beloved feet suffer.

K is for KAPAMILYA TO KAPUSO | One of the many influences AlDub has had on me was this change. I don’t really watch TV; in this day and age, we don’t have to be confined by show schedules, because You Tube is there. But when I did watch TV, it was often on shows in ABS – CBN 2 a.k.a. the Kapamilya network. This year, or at least for the last five months, I have gotten extra interested with Kapuso shows (i.e. shows on GMA 7), particularly Eat Bulaga. I don’t know if I’ll stay as interested; to be honest, I haven’t watched a Kalyeserye episode since the holiday vacations began. I have been trying to wean myself, as I’ve written above, so this might very well be the beginning of the end of my Kapuso days. Again… we’ll see…

L is for LONG POSTS | I love to write. Nafsed.

M is for MOM | AlDub has made my relationship with mom better over the last few months. I am very thankful that we’ve gotten more friendly and peaceful, after our four month cold war of 2012.

Runner up: M is for MAINE MENDOZA | I don’t really think I need to write anymore explanation for this, do I?

N is for this NEW BLOG | When I deleted my old blog, I did it on impulse. So far, I’ve regretted this move twice, but not so much that I would become emotional about it though. I just wished I was able to save some of the milestones I wrote about in that blog. Still, I believe that everything happens for a reason, and having this new blog has helped me understand that idea/ belief even more.

O is for my many OBLIGATIONS | For the first time in my life, I have embraced being an adult with responsibilities and obligations that came with the freedom and lifestyle I wanted for myself. It has been eye-opening and incredibly… empowering. I am thankful I get to take care of the things I need to take care of.

P is for PAPA | Most of the things I need(ed) to take care of is came from my paternal grandfather, who owns the house and home I grew up in. My relationship with him, and with the rest of my paternal relatives, has not been as familial as my relationship with mom’s relatives. I can blame the distance, or the fact that the person that connects me to them has passed on, but in reality, it’s really me who hasn’t given much effort for them to get to know me, and vice-versa. I don’t know if it’s still possible to amend that… I’m hoping it is though…

Q is for QUESTIONS about life | I’ve always been reflective by nature, but this year, so many questions came all of a sudden, and it took me by surprise. But I am thankful they came, because it got me to hold on tighter to my faith.

R is for REALIZATIONS about life | The more I pray, the more I realize just how simple and beautiful life is, and for that I am grateful.

S is for the SELF-PACED SYSTEM of the Angelicum College | I am extremely thankful for this unique system because it gave me more freedom to do as I please at work. The accountability on me is lesser, at least in my point of view, and for all of my anxieties this year, I have been allowed to loosen my control on, well, everything. It has been so nice, to be rested and relaxed, even if I miss the work.

T is for TWITTER | Again, I credit AlDub for my newly found interest on Twitter. If not for the nationwide interest on this uniquely interesting love team, I wouldn’t have used my account as often as I had this last five months.

U is for UNCLUTTERING LIFE | This summer we got to do major house cleaning and removed tons of stuff that has been kept mostly because of sentimental reasons. It wasn’t easy, but I got to do it. I’ve also learned to keep life simpler and neater, and it’s kept me more calm.

V is for VARIETY | Everyday has been an adventure. Everyday I get to expect the unexpected. This is what I’ve asked for, for a long time. I’m grateful.

W is for WALKATHONS | I love walking; it helps me clear my head. Good thing too, since I live in a country with…

X is for XTREME TRAFFIC | A lot of people complain about this, but for my part, so long as I have music or a good book at hand (with proper lighting), I’ll be okay. If it does take a long time, I can always walk.

Y is for feeling YOUNG | I know I am biologically 27, but I still feel like I’m 22 or 23. A lot of people has commented on the fact that I don’t look my age either. I take that as a compliment, not that looking old is a bad thing. I just think that I like that people see me younger than I am even when I don’t do anything to be as such. I think it’s all a matter of perspective really, and a good dose of positive attitude.

Z is for the ZZZs I got to have | I love to sleep, to dream, to be at rest. I have to admit I sometimes abuse that I get to do all that so much, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way.

2015 has been, over – all, a year full of surprises, firsts, detours, anxieties and chill. For short, it has been eventful. I got to live this year, and it’s amazing to get to review all that I have experienced and see how they all contributed to who I am now.

I have been blessed indeed.

Happy New Year to everyone! 

Let’s all be a blessing to each other this 2016!

My 2015 Vision Board

It is my nature to overthink things, to analyze the step by step process and schedule the best course of action. Often, this trait has helped me get things done properly. In the past two years though, I have learned that life is a series of unexpected events, and that I may not have full control of everything, but I do have some, and that it’s up to me to make the most of that some.

Last year, I told myself I’ll take it a day at a time. It was awesome. For the first time in my 25 years, I felt truly alive. I basked on the good, celebrated the great, learned from the bad and prayed through all of it. My faith has been restored, and it has been strenghtened. I’m not about to let go. God is my center and forever He will be.

When I turned 26 last August, I decided that it was high time to live the life I used to daydream about. A life that I would enjoy rereading when I’m old, or bored, or just getting nostalgic.

I am going to chronicle it in my LIVE journal, an art work in the making. I am going to dwell on the things I am grateful for, in that journal, and I am going to write to my heart’s content.

This 2015, I am going to be a strong woman, in all aspects that matter. With my family, I know nothing is impossible.

I am going to have adventures, through books and movies, and in my own wanderings.

I am going to find love, in His time, and through His grace.

I am going to cherish every moment, knowing that as time passes, we are making memories.

I am going to laugh, sing, dance, hug, kiss, skate, make music, play with Twenty, daydream, live, love and learn, and praise His glory for giving me this wonderful, awesome, epic life.

2015 is MY year to be an angel to others, as they have been to me.

2015 is MY year to be more than I thought I could. 2015 is MY year.

I am claiming it.

Reading this almost a year to the date that I posted it and feeling… meh? 

2015 has indeed been my year — my year of surprises, of firsts, of many anxieties, and of stronger faith — not what I expected, but richer.

Re-reading this over and over makes me feel like I was psyching myself to believe in the positive, like it wasn’t a genuine belief that everything will fall into place because God has my life in His hands. I feel like I was pretending, because now I know how it truly feels to surrender everything to His will.

It feels lighter, calmer, easier… Life will get tough, but I know I am tougher, with Him by my side. I don’t need to plan my life to the letter, because He’s got me. I don’t need to be in control all the time. I just need to be.

So instead of feeling bad that for the most part, the stuff I hoped to accomplish this year didn’t happened, I am relieved that they didn’t. Because I know — I believe — that God has better plans for me. I’m not going to make a vision board for 2016, not just because I don’t think they actually work, but mostly because, this time, I am going to lift it all up to God, confident in the knowledge that He will lead me to where I ought to be, to reveal who I really am.

My 2015 Vision Board