Halfway Through Twenty Seventeen

Today is the first of June. I am currently typing this sitting in a church friend’s home salon getting my kinky, long hair touched up after almost a year of leaving it alone to grow out. Just like my hair needs its periodical touch-up, I believe I also need a mid-year self-evaluation.

Time relativity

I had a theory once that years accelerate as we get older, but I concluded that it depends on the amount of life-altering happenings that happen that year. However, I still slightly find it to be true.

2017 is halfway done, my daily journal is more than three quarters full with experiences and learnings, and I am appalled at the speed that time is passing by at. I can still remember starting this year with prayer and fasting and writing down all my hopes for the year, praying over them and committing my plans to the Lord. Since then I have established new relationships, took on challenging roles in school and in extracurricular activities, and made plans in involving myself more in the ministry.

Moving… Again?!

Well the year is halfway over, and my plans have already been altered. Not completely, but things are going to be different for me and my family this second half of this year.

Thankfully, God has given me the grace thus far to be resilient to handling this adjustment, but this is only the beginning. I know I must continue to place my trust in Him do that I can experience the continual outpouring of His grace.

When I got the news however, I was not particularly mournful of the change itself, but was downcast on how the change would affect me and my personal plans. That called for a heartcheck. I knew my thoughts were stemmed from selfish intention.

After five days of prayer and fasting and asking the Lord to search my heart and reveal Himself to me, I realized just how self-centered I’d become.

It’s an effect of being a pastor’s kid I guess; God calls our parents, our parents respond, and we the kids just kinda have to put up with it. But just putting up with it shouldn’t be my response. I’ve learned that after the plenty of adjustments I’ve had to make for my parent’s ministry. Just putting up with our parent’s ministry will eventually just make us miserable. Once I realize that God isn’t only going to work through my parents, but he’s also giving me the opportunity to be used by Him, I see being a pastor’s kid as a blessing.

I am confident that this next shift in my family’s life will be a good experience, because it’s within the plan of a good God.

Resolutions

Meaningful Relationships

The one new year’s resolution that I wanted to focus on this year was making and developing more meaningful relationships. That’s sort of a broad topic to call a focus, and I don’t think I even knew what I exactly meant by it. But I just knew it is what I desire and something I want to put into importance.

I guess, my idea of meaningful relationships was to just have an intimate circle of friends or community that I can just be myself around. It’s still that issue of being bi-cultural I guess. It’s a bittersweet attribute to be able to identify into both the American and Filipino culture, because while I can blend in both ways, I do still encounter some identity crisis here and there. But, I try my best to not make it a problem. God’s been good in helping me handle that issue.

I asked for more meaningful relationships, but for God that meant taking away some or showing me that there are certain relationships that are not meaningful. Sometimes when we ask God for something, He’ll reveal it to us by taking away the unnecessary.

So far this year, I’ve found myself meeting with people who I never expected to be so close to and discussing faith on a level so personal. So while I’m not really getting my personal idea of having that meaningful relationships thing, God has given me a greater revelation:

Christ connects people, and Christ gives meaning to any relationship centered on Him.

Reading the Psalms

One of the Christmas gifts I received on the first day of the year was a special print of the book of Psalms. from my high school discipler. I saw it as a great opportunity to make it a goal this year to meditate on each of the 150 Psalms.

I began the year faithfully reading a Psalm a day, reflecting on the chapter and journaling about it. But to no surprise, I skipped many days here and there. I joined a 21-day Bible challenge in the month of May which focused on chapter 119 of Psalm. It was then that I realized it’s not about really getting to read a whole chapter everyday, but more on getting the substance of the message.

Although I’ve had lapses, my quiet time so far this year has been very fruitful compared to the past. It is so refreshing to fellowship with the Spirit each day and I find myself hungry for it the more I experience it.

I pray I remain hungry for His word and His presence and continue to fervently pray in Spirit and truth.

Looking Ahead

There are still six months left in 2017, and 3 more months of being twenty. I’m glad I decided to do this evaluation because writing always helps me see the bigger picture. The first half of the year was just an introduction of the whirlwind of trials and triumphs coming in the next six months. I have a whole list written in my journal that just scares me yet excites me at the same time.

I walk in confidently knowing God is fighting for me, Jesus has overcome the world, and the Spirit is walking beside me step by step.

“Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in Your ways.” Psalm 119:36-37

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October Fifteen Twenty Sixteen

These days, I’ve only really felt compelled to write on special occasions, or when I’m feeling particularly emotional. But today is a normal day, and I just happen to have extra time on my hands, since it is semestral break. I haven’t written on this blog at all this year!
The first semester of my second year is over. And I thought first year went by fast! I don’t think the years ever start slowing down. I once asked my dad, who is well experienced in life at sixty years old, if the the years get faster and faster as you get older. Because, since I turned sixteen, every year seems to accelerate. As always, he replied bluntly, with a “nope, not really.” I guess, maybe it depends on the events that transpire year by year. In my case, there have been several life-altering things that have happened, so I guess that’s what causes the apparent acceleration.
This semester has been relatively uneventful compared to my first year. I think a lot of it, I’ve felt more in tune with my college and the people there. Although there have been issues and some hard feelings toward some people, I’ve really seen, felt, and experienced that my department is really a family. However, there is still the burden that there is a division between the three departments. But that is an issue we can talk about next time, hopefully.
I’m still really excited about what God is doing in my life. That is an attitude that I’m trying to keep in every circumstance and season. I know God is constantly working, so I must keep myself in a position to be molded and go with His plan in my life. I still have 3-ish more years of college, and I know God can do so much through me in that time. There is no other thing that gives me more comfort than knowing that my life is in His hands. That’s the point I really want to make through my life. and I guess, through this post since I really have no direction. Just “yawyaw” as we would say in Bisaya. Hehe.
This sembreak, I’m just hoping to rest, relax, help around the house, practice more piano and clarinet, bond with my family, and prepare myself for this upcoming semester.
I’ll try to write more. I can’t promise, but I’ll try!
~over and out~

Misunderstood

They say, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”
So you decide to try and read
You might  discover that you have a lot more in common than you thought
Or you might find that there is nothing more that interests you about her than her cover and back page synopsis
But you keep reading
You will read her and translate her crooked, trying smile as a fabricated facade
You will read about where she has been and who raised her and how she won this and failed that
You will read carefully how softly her voice mutters when she speaks
yet amplifies when she sings out her heart
You will translate her actions and words into reasons to create hostility
You will discover that she is a walking paradox
And then you decide that you’ve acquired enough to create your own judgement
But you don’t realize
That every individual  is written in his or her own exclusive language
And she was written like Chinese characters against your ancient Latin
A language you cannot ever really truly understand
There is no dictionary to decode the darkness or the distinct dance in the delivery of her words
But instead, you use your own interpretation to make sense of her peculiarity
Instead you label and define as if it were as simple as typing in words into Google translate and clicking the translate button
You will not realize that her silence is her loudest cry for help
No, you will not understand
You will not even try to
Because you, too, have yet to discover how to translate shadows into smiles.

On Home and Longing

One thing I have long envied from other people is the feeling of having a hometown. There comes a point in high school as graduation approaches when students and teachers take the time to give sentimental speeches to the graduating seniors. Many of these consist of tales about how they’ve known the person since kindergarten, or reminiscing about the time they first became best friends during their freshman year.

I, on the other hand, have never stayed at one school for longer than two years.

I scroll through my news feed these days and see those same five girls from the fifth grade still regularly in touch and best friends. I see that girl who was a senior when I was a sophomore who is about to have a baby, with her high school friends still at her side throwing her a baby shower. I see that squad of boys & girls I knew as a child who have practically been friends since they were in the womb. My high school friends still going out to the same places I used to love going to.

Even here, in my present school, I listen to my classmates tell me about their hometowns and classmates and childhood friends and how excited they are to go home for vacation to see them.

Don’t get me wrong; I am looking forward to going home just as much. But not the same way they are.
They go home to mom, dad, brother, sister, grandma, grandpa, cousins, aunt, uncle, best friends, acquaintances, classmates, house they grew up in, favorite hang out spot, church, old school; all in one place.

I grew up in an apartment. When I was a child, the 3-story building felt to me like a palace. When my parents immigrated the family to the U.S., they also made the choice to raise my brother and I far from the comfort of having nearby relatives. At some point, I remember telling my mom, “Mommy, I wish that all our family in the Philippines and all over the world could own this whole apartment and we could all live here together!”
I remember really believing that my wish could come true. I can only imagine how much my innocent words broke my mother’s heart.

In college, it’s assumed in every new introduction for someone to ask you where you’re from. I struggled with this, at first.
“Taga asa ka?” (Where are you from?)
“Ah, uhm. Nidako ko sa States. Sa California. Pero, taga Zamboanga na ako karon. Heh.” (Ah, uhm. I grew up in the States, in California. But, I’m from Zamboanga now. Heh.”)
They find out I’m from someplace far away, so a dozen different questions ensue. I don’t mind, really. Of course they’re curious.
I do mind, however, when I notice that the way they treat me is significantly different when they find out where I’m from.

Now, I choose to be more present.
“Taga asa ka?”
“Zamboanga City”
No obscure questions asked. Just like that.
Yes, I grew up in America, but that is in the past. It’s still a part of who I am, but now I am from Zamboanga City. Because that is where my family is.

So, all the people all I love and all the places I cherish are scattered on different corners of the earth. The distance cultivates a longing that eventually leads to loneliness. That is why I envy people who can go to one place and have it all. However, my envy is  eradicated when I put my situation into perspective.

I have no doubt that there is someone out there who would envy me, too. Because distance is beautiful, and being far from someone or something makes them more valuable and makes you appreciate life more. Also, having experienced living in different  places and cultures and people, I like to believe I am becoming a more well-rounded individual.

I, truly am thankful for the distance, and the way everything is, because I know that it’s just one of God’s ways of molding me into woman after His heart.

november 30

Many times I just write for the sake of writing.
On the contrary, too often I have a good thought, but I am either incapable of interpreting it into words, or don’t have the resources at hand to express the thought.

Sometimes, I like to pretend that I’m a poet. I get singular thoughts in my head and words pop up in my brain and I think,’hey, that sounds like it would sound good in a poem.” Then, I proceed to forget the idea or thought and move on, because that is what I do.

I limit myself too much.

I could say much more about that, but I want to write something a little less sentimental today…

I thought about it again today. I read Friend and I’s previous conversation about it and I started to feel heavy in my heart. It’s different, coming from him, because he is probably the most reliable source considering how close they are. I just don’t know it all he said was true anymore. Everything between us was and is completely platonic and naive. But I haven’t lost hope just yet.

An hour and twenty minutes from now, we will officially be in the last month of twenty-fifteen. I’ll save the sappy emotional reflection for when new years’s is almost here, but for starters, this year was a year of triumph and tribulation, in a new way that I know I will experience again as I get older. I’m not quite sure how December will go down, but of course I’m hoping to end this year on a high note.

What is she thankful for?

Encoded from a written journal entry on November 25, 2015. 

In two days, it will be Thanksgiving day back in the United States. However, since I find myself in solitude this evening, I will tell you what I am thankful for, particularly:

The boundless grace given through a Savior that I am beyond undeserving of.
The Parents who guide and provide so tenderly, never pressuring me to be someone I’m not and nurturing the person I am inside.
The Brother who reminds me that I am never alone in life.
The Aunt and Uncle who show endless love and support even from afar.
The Boy who has caused my heart so much pain and longing, yet somehow inspires me simultaneously.
The school that allows me to pursue what I love and expand my knowledge and education.
The art of music and how it has kept me through every season of life.
The new found friendships I’ve experienced this year.
The girl who gave me company and friendship; then threw me aside. The girl who taught me to love more deeply even when you don’t get it back.
The moments of complete loneliness and solitude, the moments where I am able to more clearly see myself and seek my Creator.
The moments of joy and laughter, with companions; or even alone.
The feeling of missing a person or a place or a particular moment, and the feeling of being missed in return.
The voice I can sing and speak and express with.
The ears I use to hear and listen to the whispers and shouts of life.
The different food I have around me and in front of me each day.
This moment. This very season of life. SO much is still uncertain, but He has already brought me out of the pit. Only the best is yet to come. 2015 is almost over. Here we go…

 

November Twenty-one

Saturday is a  sleeping day.
Not anymore.

Every Saturday morning, I have ROTC, which is a requirement in the PI to graduate college. RO (what we call it for short) begins at 7 am bright and early. How thrilling! (sarcasm intended)
Today, however, I was out of the dorm by 5:50 am because I practiced frisbee with some classmates in preparation for intramurals on the first week of December. Around 6:50, an hour later, JK and I stepped out and had egg sandwiches before walking together to the field where we have RO.
To my surprise, our old company commander was back, which was good news because he was our favorite. But other than that, same old, same old. We take commands from our company commander and do the National Anthem and pledge of allegiance, then wait around until they dismiss us to go to the band room.

AA was still so cold toward me. Not just me, to us all. Honestly, I was still kind of hoping that she would have a change of heart and talk or even say hi to me but, nope. She has the capacity to say certain people are immature but can’t even see that her actions are even worse. I will not approach her anymore. At least, not for now. I gave her another chance during that last talk, hoping that that would be the last. But again, she turned a cold shoulder toward me out of nowhere. The next thing I hear, she doesn’t like me anymore because, “samok na kaayo.”(“so annoying already”) Okay? That is how cheap our friendship is to her, that’s how worthless I am to her. I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. You can’t push yourself on someone who has already decided that she doesn’t like you.
I am not angry. I am hurt, yes. But I still pray for her. I pray that she will stay strong in this season of her life. I pray that her heart would not harden. I pray that she would have peace. I pray that she would not treat any of her new found friends the same way she treated me. Surely, God has a reason for bringing her into my life. Although I can’t really see the good in it yet, I am assured that our friendship has a part in the bigger picture.

Anyway, we went to band rehearsal and it ended quickly. It was KJ’s birthday today so we took pictures. We stopped by a convenience store where everyone had breakfast then went back to the field and waited to be dismissed. Then JK, KJ, AD, GD and I got on a pedicab to go to Robinsons, where we would celebrate KJ’s birthday.
I met up with VY when we were there and told the rest of the group to go ahead to eat. VY and I bought a cake from Sans Rival to surprise KJ. It was fun because we were circling the mall trying to find a lighter for the candles and we even asked a few guards to help us. Finally, we went to the restaurant and lit the candles outside the door and as soon as we walked in and started singing happy birthday, KJ walked out! It was a blooper. She had to withdraw money. We waited for her to come back and sang happy birthday, and all the workers in the restaurant clapped and sang along.
WE ATE SO MUCH. KJ ordered a feast good for ten people but there were only six of us. whoo! It was great. I ate so much. Plus the cake. Haha. It was a great time. After that, we parted ways and I went to school with VY and AD.
*I’m getting lazy so I’m just going to summarize the rest of my day through bullet points. I’m not good at blogging, haha.

  • Was oriented for my station in my college amazing race.
  • Waited around for an hour until one of the teams reached my station
  • Met two pretty chill Fine Arts students
  • Walked home with AF.
  • Took a nap.
  • Didn’t bother to eat dinner.
  • Now writing this.

That’s a wrap for my Saturday! I enjoyed it, for the most part. Looking forward to tomorrow because it’s Sunday! Thank you Lord.

Goodnight Earthlings 🙂

Oh, Bother.

I have probably tried writing like 10000 drafts of what I have been feeling these past weeks or even
months.

I am bothered. I am bothered by so many things.

I am bothered by the fact that my parents spent 10,000+ pesos last year buying acne medication for me and
although the acne went away for a few months, my face is starting to break out again like crazy.
I am bothered that I can’t feel safe in the very place I live in because I keep losing things. Last
Friday, I left two very important rings in the dorm restroom and came back later to find them gone. Now, I
just noticed that my only black pair of shoes are missing from my shoe rack.
I am bothered that I feel a sense of disconnection toward the person that I have grieved over not seeing
for so many months. I am bothered that we don’t talk to each other the same way anymore and I am bothered
over the thought that things may never be the same way again.
I am bothered that even though I am a native English speaker, I scored 27/30 in our first seatwork in my
basic English class.
I am bothered that most people here have little sense of empathy and I’m bothered that maybe I am like
them too.
I am bothered that people here generalize people by where they come from and what kind of phone they have
or how well they speak English.
I am bothered that I have 7 am classes everyday and get home right before 9 pm curfew.
I am bothered by my low resistance against buying food and my impulsiveness to spend money.
I am bothered that I am so easily controlled by people’s expectations of me.
I am bothered by my failure to manage my time better.
I am bothered by the feeling of worry.
I am bothered by the feeling that I won’t be able to pay back my parents one day for all they’ve done for
me.
I am bothered that so often, I don’t walk the talk.
I am bothered by other people’s opinion of me.
I am bothered by my inadequacies.
I am bothered by the fact that I am so aware and informed about my salvation in Christ, yet constantly
abuse His grace.
I am bothered by the mysterious love of Christ; that amongst my multitude of sins, He still loves me.

I am bothered, annoyed, agitated, anxious, disturbed, troubled, and upset.
I am human.

But

God is Love.
Jesus is Lord.
The Spirit is my strength.

In Him, I find the ability to be calm, happy, relaxed, satisfied, and untroubled.

Christ is enough for me.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, let your requests be made
known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in
Christ Jesus.” {Philippians 4:6-7 ESV}

Steadfast

Do not let fear overcome you.
For,

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.  -Master Yoda

Rather, have courage and be steadfast:

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. Romans 5:3-4

Even though I shouldn’t, I am going to whine.

Being human sucks. I know that it’s inevitable and we can’t really choose to be this way, but it really does suck. It’s like, things can never be going perfectly. Even if they feel like they are, pretty soon things crumble again. I hate that.

I hate that I can never be perfect. I hate that I always manage to fail or feel like a failure. I hate that as much as I want to please everybody and myself, I can’t.

But I love the fact that I know I have a God who is perfect.
Who I can rely on. Who will give me strength when I am weary. I love that I can rejoice in my weakness, because I can find my strength in Jesus. I want to be committed. I want to love Him with all my heart. I know how, It’s just so hard to execute my knowledge sometimes. I am trying, I really am. But despite my doubts, I am continuously trusting Him with everything.