When Go Speaks, We Listen

I have been in an emotional turmoil these past few months. It is crazy. I couldn’t even think straight. I am an emotional disaster in the most beautiful kind of way.

But, at the same time, a disaster is still a disaster. There’s no way to sugar coat it. I am a mess and it took me a lot of courage to admit that.

So, that’s it. There you go. I am a mess. What do we do now?

What did I do?

Even though I have heard a million times that isolation won’t help. I isolated myself countless times. I just know that I cannot stand being in a crowd.

So, I began choosing when to show up.

I tried to enjoy my own company in the comfort of my tiny room. And yes, I surprisingly did.

There were days I felt my room is a sanctuary. I never wanted to leave it.

But there were days I felt like it was a prison cell. I was confined with my own toxic thoughts.

Until one day, it consumed me. I became lost. I did everything to redeem myself.

I tried doing things that usually make me happy but failed.

I watched feel good films, documentaries, etc but failed.

I tried eating everything that I crave for but failed.

So, I don’t know what can make me happy anymore.

I prayed trusting that I will be redeemed.

One time, around two in the morning, I had the most powerful prayer time. I cried it out to God. I surrendered everything that hurts. I prayed for Him to take it all away.

But, the moment I woke up, I got the opposite of everything that I prayed for.

I even remember telling God; “Lord, I don’t wanna be like Job. Please don’t test me like that.”

I was ashamed. I was ashamed of my faith. What a weakling.

Until I realized that there is something lacking in my life. I lack intimacy with God. I was blinded by my sufferings.

I was never willing to carry them. I wanted God to take them away. I kept on asking Him for an easy life. But, life is never meant to be that way. God didn’t promise that it will be an easy life. He just promised that He will be with us every step of the way.

But, I am not fine with that. I wanted an easy life. I started feeling bad. I was rebellious.

I was fighting it but I knew it wasn’t enough.

I started staying away from Him.

After a long time of isolation, I was invited to attend our household, small group prayer meeting. I set my mind, I won’t go. I will decline.

But then a friend made me realize, it wasn’t an invitation from our group leader, it was an invitation from God. Why would I say No?

With trembling knees and hesistant heart, I confirmed.

I had no expectations. I just wanted to show up and get it over with.

But, WHEN GOD SPEAKS, WE LISTEN.

God sent His message to me.

 

Courage, Dear Heart

Dear heart

I know you have always wanted to do it. It’s about time that you brave life and do what you have been praying for.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Dear heart

I know you have been holding on for so long. It’s about time you let go.

It might hurt but things will start to feel better eventually.

Dear heart

I know you are tired. You have all the right to feel that way.

You deserve a break. Go take it.

Dear heart

I know you are scared. Who is not anyway?

But sometimes, you have to do it afraid.

Dear heart

I know you are broken. I understand. You have been through a lot. I don’t even know where you got all those strength from.

It’s okay. Don’t you know that broken crayons still color. Broken hearts still beat. God gave you life and He will sustain you wherever you go.

Dear heart

I know you still want to try. I think that’s brave.

But, is that you’ll ever do? Just try?

Dear heart

I know you’re not doing this for yourself. Oh yes, that is selfless.

But, isn’t it time to put your dreams first? Stop putting them on the back burner.

Dear heart

I know you can still hang on. But, it doesn’t mean you have to.

Stop making yourself believe that you can do it. Because it’s okay to admit that you can’t.

Dear heart

It is okay to quit. That’s the only way to be free.

Do not lose yourself in the process of chasing dreams that aren’t even for you.

Dear heart

Let your dreams die so you can start dreaming again.

Life failed you a lot of times. You failed at life a lot of times. But, it only made you better and stronger. And now that you are stronger, you can conquer more of the world. You can dream bigger dreams. You can aspire greater heights. You can jump into the unknown. You can jump higher. You can jump. Believe me, you can. Do not be afraid. Do not hold back. Just go for it. How many times did you promise that to yourself? Isn’t it time to give yourself what it deserves?

Trust God more. He knows what He is doing. You passed His test of resilience. It’s okay to tell Him that you cannot do it anymore. He will understand. He always does. He is a God who has big dreams for you. Do not confine yourself in the tiny little world that you are in. There is more to life. See it. Experience it. God knows you deserve better — the best even. Don’t chase dreams. Chase God who has dreams for you.

All this time, God is fighting battles with and for you. Isn’t it enough assurance that He will fight for you whichever path you choose?

Dear heart

You are the happiness that you are longing for. You are the joy that have been missing for so long. You are that one thing that can fill the emptiness that you are feeling. You are the dreams that you are afraid to pursue. You are the strength that you need. You are the courage you never thought you have. You are the love you never received. You are loved. Because you know why, dear heart? All this time, God is inside you.

Now, go and let God take you to paradise. Let God heal you. Let God fix everything that is broken. All those years of pain, dead dreams and heartaches, they’re worth it. It’s about time to be happy. Just do it afraid. God will carry you through.

Dear heart

I can’t wait for you to be whole again. Chase life. See you in wonderland.

Courage, dear heart. Courage.

p.s.

I will always be proud of you. I know God is, too.

Cheering you on,

South Korea 2017: Seoul Searching Day One

Friend: Let’s go to Korea.

Me: Okay.

The next thing I know, we were already booking our ticket and preparing our requirements to apply for a Korean visa.

This is my most impulsive trip so far. I had no idea my friend was serious about it. I just went along. But, one morning of January, I was on my annual leave; we found ourselves traveling to the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to catch our flight to Incheon International Airport in South Korea.  Hours later, we already set foot in the land of KDramas and KPops.

I was never a fan of Korean Dramas. But, this trip excited me to the bones. I even planned my OOTDs months before the trip. Right even before my visa gets approved. When you have been staying in the Middle East for quite some time, traveling to a cold country is like a break from life. Yes, there is a winter season in this country but it doesn’t stay long and my annual leave usually falls on the winter season. I was so excited to see snow for the first time. We heard, it’s snowing in Korea on January.

Just like any tourist, after checking out from the airport and buying our T-Money card- the official card that you to pay for public transportation and other convenience store purchases – the first thing we did is to check into our hotel – K-Grand Hostel located in the shopping district of Myeongdong. The airport is quite far from the city so we had to take a long bus ride to our hotel. Our hotel is not that hard to find. It was a small hostel in the heart of the city. But, it has a home-y feeling. Not to mention that the receptionist is a K-Drama worthy handsome man. There’s a kitchen where we can prepare our breakfast before we head outside. Traveling abroad means less time sleeping and resting. You’ll be out most of the time. You’ll only go back to the hotel when it’s time to sleep so staying in a small and cheaper hotel is not a problem. K-Grand gives value to our money without compromising our comfort.

   

  

We didn’t even think about rest. Once we get into our hotel room, we immediately put on our thermal clothes,  layered it with our winter clothes, and went out to explore the place right before the sun set.

Our first stop, the Ewha Mural Village. My friend has this thing for grafitti walls and there’s a mural of angel wings that she saw in the internet and our goal was to find it. You have to climb your way up to explore the village. You have no idea how tiring it was to go there right after a long flight without food in our tummy. We were hungry but our eyes were full. The view from up is amazing. You can see the whole city from where we were. Lights and buildings everywhere. We were even trying to guess which one is Lee Min Ho’s house. Being up there is just so calming. There really is so much to see in this world.

Here are some of the photos from Ewha Mural Village.

   

         

This is not the angel wing mural that we are looking for but yes, this will do.

After walking around, we knew it was time to eat. We walked some more to check on the restaurants and cafes around. To our surprise, majority of the food establishments near the area are coffee shops. No matter how cute their interiors are, we were really planning to eat a heavy dinner. But, our energy only lasted until the nearest CU convenience store where we made our first purchase. You wouldn’t believe what we had for dinner on our first day in Korea. We had cup noodles! Well, it was just right for the cold breeze. Not very satisfying though.

If there is one thing I remember about Korea, it would be that the whole surrounding smells like pancake which makes us crave for it. There was this cute waffle/pancake stall near the convenience store so we decided to grab one along the way. The owner of the stall was kind enough to let us use their toilet. He even went an extra mile and prepared us free signature tea to make us feel warm. He told us how much he loves the Philippines and that he goes there as a part of their church mission. This leaves a lasting impression on us on how nice the Koreans are.

   

After dinner, we went straight to Dongdaemun History and Culture Park where the 25,000 LED roses are located. This one is on my Korean Bucket List and it is just so glad to checked it off the list on our first day. The place was so romantic. I pictured out a romantic date in my head. Walking hand in hand and just talking while walking along the shining roses. No wonder Korean Dramas are full of kilig moments because of places like this.

             

                                                                       

We ended our first day with a little stroll along Myeongdong Shopping District. It was a tiring day so we decided to call it a night to regenerate more energy for the next day.

I am leaving you with some random shots during our first day in Seoul. Stand by for photos of our amazing and rich in Korean culture second day. Anyeong!

Glad to share,

Let’s Drink to That

“Cheers to the great people we already are and to the great people we will be!”

My friends would always utter these words before taking the first sip of our favorite drink. For some reason, it sets our mood and it makes us want to celebrate no matter what is going on in our lives. It is a common habit to talk about anything under the sun over a cup of coffee or any drink. The main purpose of Cafe’s and Restaurants is to bring people together so they can catch up. Over the years, I have been to countless cafes and restaurants. I couldn’t even pick a favorite. My friends and I love to try out different cafes. Though I have a staple drink in every cafe I visit, and I am really a fan of matcha. I still make it a point to try different drinks from time to time. Here are some of my favorite drinks.

1. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf – Ice Blended Matcha Green Tea

This is an all time favorite. One of my comfort drinks. The matcha flavor is just right. Plus, it is mixed with Soya that makes it even better. I usually get this during my Me-Time. I can have this all day everyday.

2. Argo Tea – Iced Matcha Green Tea

Here’s another favorite. Instead of the usual hot tea. I would rathe have my matcha drink cold. Argo Tea’s matcha green tea is perfect to my taste.

3. Orange Cafeteria and Restaurant – Avocado Shake

No, this isn’t matcha again. I have been looking for the perfect avocado shake in Doha ever since I can remember. I have tried different juice stalls and restaurants all over the place but can’t find the one. But, this small cafeteria inside Quality Hypermarket called Orange Cafeteria’s avocado shake is surprisingly good with a very reasonable price. A delicious avocado shake in an orange cafeteria, isn’t that ironic?

4. Al Mandarin – Mandarin’s Special

This is our first time to order this one. We thought it might be really special and it deserves a try. It did not fail us. This drink is packed with different fruity and creamy flavors topped with different kind of fruits that leaves you thrilled. This smoothie would make your stomach full that you don’t even have to pair it with a sandwich. And we got a bonus funny waitress that kept us entertained.

 

5. Bubbles & Boba – Taro Milkshake

We were in a mall when my friend started craving for a milkshake. We’ve been hearing about Bubbles & Boba so we gave it a try. We asked the staff to recommend their best seller and she recommended Taro milkshake and Buko Pandan. My friend got Buko Pandan and I went for the Taro Milkshake. I made the right choice. No regrets. The creamy taste of Taro is perfect. It’s a little bit costly thought. Glad I got it for free. Thanks to my friend.

6. Max’s Restaurant – Buko Pandan Shake

 Max’s is one of the all time favorite Filipino restaurants. People endured long lines when it first opened here. I recently went with my family. I usually order their Buko Pandan dessert but this time, I decided to order the drink instead. The coconut taste is natural. I really have this thing for white colored drink and food so it added to my delight. This one makes me want to go back home and pick buko (coconut) from our tree in the backyard. It has a fresh pandan leaf, too,

7. Meesh Cafe – Oreo Milkshake

Your childhood isn’t complete if you never tried twisting, licking and dunking an oreo cookie in a glass of milk. Worry no more. Meesh Cafe blended your favorite oreo cookie with milk. I used to order the usual strawberry milk shake or iced chocolate from Meesh but that one particular afternoon, I was feeling down and I needed an extra comfort so I tried their oreo milkshake. It cheered me up instantly. I might have this again when I visit my favorite Me-Time Cafe.

 

8. Caribou Coffee – Iced Chocolate Drink

This simple drink never fails to satisfy me. I don’t care even if people say that I can do this at home. That this is just like Milo or Ovaltine. There’s something in this chocolate drink that boosts my mood. And, I love the color of their straw and their plastic cup with life quotes written on it. Plus, it is a lot cheaper than other beverages on their menu.

 

9. Dairy Queen – Strawberry Milkshake

Whenever you find me inside DQ, you will only see me sipping one thing – strawberry milkshake. This has been comforting me for years now. Aside that it is pink, I love the fact that it has a balanced taste of strawberry and cream. Just perfect. I only visit DQ for this.

10. Luxe Lounge Westin Hotel – Lychee Cooler

It tastes like any other lychee drink except that it is cooler. Know why? Because it’s blue. This is perfect for a hot summer weather. It’s so refreshing you can’t stop sipping.

The list continues next time when I try something new.

Hoping to share a drink with you in the future.

Cheers,

This is How Letting Go Feels Like

“So, I uttered the serenity prayer, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference…”over and over again until what seemed to be too difficult becomes, not easy, but less difficult.

Sometimes we are put in a confusing situation of choosing between letting go and trying harder. That is one of the hardest decisions we will ever have to face in this lifetime especially if both will cause your heart to break into pieces.

My life has been a series of letting go. Letting go of my pacifier when I was a kid. Letting go of my mother’s hand on my first day of school. Letting go of my comfort zone when I studied away from home for college. Letting go of my youth when I decided to work abroad right after graduation. Letting go of my pride for my first job. Letting go of my hope when my first business attempt failed. Letting go of my dreams when I realized that I don’t have one anymore. Letting go of everything that is beyond my control simply because it hurts. My hand is like a broken vessel where everything just slips away uncontrollably but not surprisingly because I know losing is a part of life and I am wired for it.

I am wired for it but I am tired of it.

Why can’t I just keep them?

I wish I could say that losing things, people, and other stuff taught me a reflective life meaning. But losing those just broke my heart over and over and over and over again. Losing those just made me ask if I am really meant to be happy. Losing those made me wonder how happiness feels like. Because I don’t know how it feels like anymore. But certainly, I know how letting go does.

Letting go feels like a long sleep where you are relieved but still feels tired.

Letting go feels like keeping tears from falling and finally releasing them. You feel lighter but the pain is still there deep down in your heart.

Letting go feels like flying back abroad after a short vacation in your home country. There is a physical pain in your heart, sometimes intolerable, but once you are done with it you will feel liberated and brave just by being able to do it. At the same time, it also excites you of what will happen next.

Letting go feels like having a butterfly riot in your stomach. The butterflies that used to give you a happy feeling now started to fight against each other.

Letting go feels the same or worse than dysmenorrhea. The pain is sometimes unbearable. You just curl up under your sheets and forget about the world outside the four corners of your room.

Letting go feels like a blessing and a curse.

No matter how I find words to describe how letting go feels like, nothing seems to be accurate.

Letting go is relieving but there is one thing I am certain of, letting go hurts.

Letting go is painful. Letting go is hard. But, letting go is inevitable. Letting go won’t kill you (even if it sometimes make you feel like dying) and we all know that what can’t kill you will only make you stronger. Stay alive for the ride.

Letting go made me realize how brave I am.

Letting go made me feel alive.

Letting go made me more prayerful.

Letting go allowed me to put my complete trust in the Lord.

By letting go, I have learned the meaning of full surrender.

As much as I want to keep a grasp of the things that I want to keep in my life, I just opened my hands and let them slip through them. And now, my open hands are ready to receive greater blessings from God who made me let go. The God who provided me grace and courage to let go of things that I badly want to keep. The God who gives and takes away.

I have read somewhere that God won’t give us things that somebody else is supposed to have. God takes away for a reason. It might be painful and hard to understand sometimes but God knows what He is doing. Let go, get out of the way, and let God do what needs to be done. Trust. Have faith. Surrender.

It is only in losing that we gain. We gain better understanding of ourselves. We gain a clearer view of how we want our lives to turn out. We gain more realizations of what deserves a spot in our lives. We gain more self-worth and self-love. We gain more strength and faith.

We only lose what we cling to. If letting go of things, people, and other stuff is the only way to keep them in my life, I am willing to go through the pain. The pain and the fear of uncertainty. The pain of longing for what was once constant in my life. The pain of seeing my high hopes stumble down and die. The pain of seeing my broken walls that seem to be irreparable. The pain of seeing myself that I can’t recognize anymore. The pain of seeing my future that used to be so clear becomes hazy. The pain of not recognizing happiness anymore. The pain of realizing that what was once a reality is now a memory. The pain of losing myself. The pain of missing things and people. The pain of feeling like I could never be the same again. The pain of dealing with anxieties. The pain of the aftershock of letting go. I realized that I don’t really fear letting go, it is the “what could have beens” that I fear. The act of letting go is painful enough, nobody wants to deal with what comes after that.

But then, there is God. A God who never lets go. A God who makes letting go bearable. A God who listens, answers, and saves. A God who empties us so we can be filled again. Let us trust the process.2017-05-09

Hey, winner!

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        To anyone whose goal is to bring joy into people’s lives or to at least just remind people to be joyful all the time. To anyone who knows how to choose when to fight and when to put down the sword and back down for a while. To anyone who believes that sometimes moving forward means taking a step back even if it means breaking his own heart. To anyone who loves without conditions. To anyone who gives without any anticipation of something in return. To anyone who always puts a smile on people’s faces. To anyone who serves God joyfully and willingly. To anyone who patiently listens to people’s rants, outbursts and tantrums. To anyone who always go the extra mile. I want you to know this.

       You deserve all the joy in the world. You deserve to have a genuine smile painted on your face all the time. Never let someone steal that smile because no one can wear it better than you. Remember those battles you chose not to fight? You’ve won them all. Remember those battles you chose to fight silently on your own? You’ve won them too. You are a winner in many ways, in many forms. It may not seem like it but believe me, you are. You may not have the prize but the lessons and realizations that come along with it are your greatest reward. I’ve never seen a courageous warrior who is strong enough to choose not to fight and love himself instead. Everything is a part of your preparation. So by the time that you will be faced with a battle that is worth the fight, you can triumphantly come out of it. You deserve all the love that you are getting or even more. You deserve a love that will sweep you off your feet and a love that will allow everything to make sense. A love that doesn’t just feel good on the outside but a love that brings peace in your heart. You have so much love to offer. I pray that you find someone who deserves it all. But for now, if you will love someone, may I suggest you love yourself? Because among everyone, it’s you who deserves it the most. Never forget that you are likable – lovable even. I hope everything that you are giving to everyone – time, attention, affection and care – be given back to you generously. If you find it insufficient, I hope you find what is lacking within yourself. God appreciates all your effort and your service. I am sure He has a wonderful reward waiting for you; more than what you are praying for; more than what you can handle. Be prepared and let Him surprise you. I hope you find ears who will patiently listen to your sentiments as well. Someone who will sit with you and let you do the endless talking on how your day was. Someone who won’t just nod and pretend to be interested but someone who will take everything into heart. I hope you find someone you can call home. Someone whose presence is more than enough. Someone who will make you say “I have won the fight.”

With the love of the Lord,

In His Time

I prayed and God listened.

I prayed and God talked to me.

He calmed my heart as if telling me to be still. He reminded me and assured me that His plans and ways are perfect. He will guide me through anything. He will unfold His plans slowly and perfectly.

He will eliminate all the fears and replace it with excitement, joy, and peace.

When we pray, God opens our hearts to greater possibilities until our doubts slowly fade away.

When you start doing things in God’s way, surrender to His will, and you trust His timing, you’ll be surprised to where God can lead you. After all, He is a God of surprises. He will do things for you. Just let Him. He will enlighten you. He will make things happen…in His time.

While waiting for His time, just serve Him joyfully in whatever way you can. Anticipate good things. Look forward to better things. Wait patiently. Be sensitive to what He is trying to tell you. Trust that He will make things happen.If something is true and meant to happen, it will come, it will happen effortlesstly.

Most of all, pray without ceasing. Pray to God as if you are talking to your best friend. Offer your fears and hesitations to Him. He understands and He won’t judge. Do not hide anything from Him. Tell Him everything.

Prayer will be your armor when doubts cloud your heart and mind. You will find comfort in praying. Receive God’s warmest hug through prayer. Let God meet you in your prayer time. He will tell you what to do. Listen and you will never be afraid again. The fear that you once knew can never control you. Your heart will be at peace and when your heart is at peace, you’ll know that God is making it happen.

Take small steps. Follow where God commands you to go; for anywhere God leads you is worthy. When you get there, you’ll find God with open arms. He will hug you and He will tell you:

“I love you, child. I love you enough to lead you here.”

Joyfully Waiting,