Grateful

My life, so far, summarized in a thanksgiving list..

well-provided-for childhood

having gone to the sea several times

studied in the best schools

restoration and healing each time I run away or get sick

godly, loving and supportive parents

sisters who are also friends

intact family

a job even before I graduated

finishing my (undergrad) thesis

being a member and leader of the youth worship team

camps and other events

meeting interesting people and friends for life

learning from life

discovering and knowing myself

learning how to deal with different people

gadgets (the ones I need)

food on the table everyday

place to call home in each place I move into

laughter

love

pain

loss

courage and hope

dreams

books

still small voice and learning to listen to it

music and poetry

a world to discover

people to love

God to love, to worship and to treasure

new chapter I’m facing

hello hurricane year

December 30, 2011

Hurricane #1: The Unfinished Thesis

Seven years into college and the only thing left to do is finishing the dreaded THESIS.  After recently finishing a 10K run, I finally experienced what they always say; the most difficult part of the race is the last stretch just before the finish line. You’re whole body is telling you it can’t take anything more. That’s what I felt while finishing my thesis. I thought there won’t be an end in all of those drafts. The thesis was surely the last stretch of the race. But I thank God He gave me my second wind. Prayers, wise advice and loving support from family and friends. At the end of hurricane #1, I thank God for this:

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Hurricane #2: The Event

One of the worst feelings in life is suddenly being left behind. And at the wake of almost experiencing it again, I felt so shaken. Thankfully, things weren’t like they were before. This time, the leaving was for a good reason and it was just for some time. And there were stronger bonds forged after it. Though short of time, through planning and hard work by God’s grace, we were so blessed with His message for us of His kingdom. At the end of hurricane #2, I thank God for this:

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Hurricane #3: Near-Death and Sickness

Almost losing 2 brothers; one through a gunshot, one through serious illnesses. Tears, sleepness nights, uncertainties, worries, agony. But also prayers. A flooding of them. Faith. Hope. Love. Generous help. Answers. A flooding of them too. It’s a most humbling and overwhelming experience of God. Who He is. How He speaks. How He moves. At the end of hurricane #3, I thank God for this:

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Hurricane #4: Dying to Oneself

This one’s a privilege. But it surely isn’t easy. Preconceptions, misconceptions, biases, prejudices, pride, priorities, favorites, standards, routines, plans. Everything built in me that aren’t part of His will are being smashed down and the process is not without pain. It’s a life-long process I know but this year has been the most intense yet. Grace and thankfulness in all circumstances aren’t easy to learn. But as one dies more and more to oneself, one becomes more alive to Him. A greater capacity to experience God’s original design and order is well worth the pain. Hurricane #4 doesn’t end til life does. But at the end of this year, I thank God for enabling me to see things this way:

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But there weren’t just “hurricanes” this year. There were also these super awesome moments and surprises!

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You turned my wailing into dancing;

you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,

that my heart may sing to you and not be silent.

O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever. ~Psalm 30:11-12

the switchfoot experience

May 1, 2011

I’ve waited for months. Ever since I heard they were coming here, I knew I had to see them. Not so much to watch as to LISTEN.

Last night was one of those few moments in life that touch you to your very core. Music and poetry have a way of doing that to anyone who was shaped to appreciate them beyond the senses. And one is left with an echoing of not just sights and sounds but of moments and memories.

Hello hurricane! You can’t silence my love!

Your love is a symphony. All around me. Running through me. Your love is a melody. Undermeath me. Running to me. You’re love is a song.

When it feels like my dreams are so far, sing to me of the plans that you have for me over again.

We are one tonight!

We’re awakening!

I made a mess of me. I want to reverse this tragedy.

Love is the final fight!

There is no sound louder than love!

We want more than this world’s got to offer. We want more than the wars of our fathers. ..Everything inside screams for second life!

I’m learning to breathe. I’m learning to crawl. I’m finding that you and you alone can break my fall. I’m living again..

Hallelujah! I’m a wretched man. Hallelujah! Every breath is a second chance!

Where can you run to escape from yourself? Where’re you gonna go? Salvation is here! I dare you to move!

Poetry, right? They’re beyond mere lyrics.

But of course we can’t remove the fact that we’re fans. We also did some things that real fans do.  Smile. Giggle. Swoon. Head bobbing. Head banging. Jumping up and down. Scream. Sing. Take lots and lots of pictures.

Wrote “WE (heart) JON FOREMAN” in our hands and a big red arrow in an arm (Nash’s), showed it to Jon and screamed like crazy when he nodded to us.

Got his half-empty water bottle after the concert and joking with one another that we’ll get his song writing and guitar skills because of drinking from it.

Crazy fans. Yeah.

So how we’re we able to do these? We had front row seats, dead center. It was one of the surprises of the night. I knew we were at the front row but I didn’t expect we’d be at the very center because when I reserved our tickets, I just did it over the phone. I looked at the sitting plan before calling but I didn’t know about the numbering scheme. I just hurried and made the reservation because I heard there were only 4 VIP tickets left. So when we showed our tickets to the usher, we we’re so surprised when she directed us right to the very center. There were people sitting in our place already so the usher went to get a security personnel and talked with the people and we thought there was going to be a skirmish but they couldn’t do anything because they didn’t have their tickets with them. Maybe they just got there through connections. Surprise surprise.

We also had our expectations on what songs they were going to play. We thought all of them were going to be from the Hello Hurricane album. We were waiting for Needle and Haystack Life and Enough to Let Me Go but they didn’t play these. But then they played old favorites. Gone. Dare You to Move. Learning to Breathe. Stars. Only Hope. And when you’re right in front of Jon Foreman playing his acoustic guitar to Only Hope, even though there are screaming fans around, you just stare at him and listen and feel and think, “Para akong hinaharana”. And the whole song washes over you as the whole band joins in. Yes, I am sentimental.

I could go on and on about details but nothing beats the fact that all of this was experienced with friends. Through our generous parents who were generously blessed by the God of overwhelming surprises and blessings.

insignificant

November 12, 2009

my adviser already told me before. but hearing it again feels like being stabbed in the heart the second time. overeaction? maybe. but i don’t know why it hurts that way. after all this time. after all i’ve learned..

she told me already before. maybe 2-3 semesters ago. i wouldn’t have a chance graduating with honors because i have underloads (less than 15 units). but the only real underloaded semester i had was when i dropped technical drawing when i was still an engineering student. and i only had 1 unit less than the normal load because of that. the 2 other sems that were underloaded were because i am a shiftee and all the subjects in our curriculum are seasonal. bottomline is, it was out of my control.

hearing it again today from the evaluator for graduating students.. well, i just felt like taking the same blow from before. why is it such a big deal anyway? i know well enough that graduating with honors is not my ticket to a bright future. still.. it stings.

i’m not an athlete. i don’t have memories from org events because i don’t have any. i didn’t join any contest whatsoever. i guess it’s the only award i am to have but it won’t be given. maybe that’s why it’s hard to accept.

add the fact that, right now, i’m 80% sure i won’t be able to be in the graduating ceremonies on april. they don’t want us to do our on-the-job training this semester. which means i have to do it in summer. then graduate only after that.

my sister, two years younger than me, will be graduating with honors. my youngest sister will be graduating from high school. they will both be able to attend their graduating ceremonies. me? i have to wait for another year to be able to march if i am to graduate after summer 2010. even the chance to attend the graduating ceremonies has been taken away.

no award. no graduating ceremony.

guess i kinda looked forward to the graduating ceremony too much. it’s an excuse to get dolled up in a white dress. and then you get to wear the sablay. and stand with the other graduates and feel great because formal school life is finally over. what would it be like without that? just get your records. ok, you’re a graduate now. no important ceremony to share your achievement with the important people of your life.

big deal huh? don’t know why it is for me.

insignificant. negligible.

i’m thinking that God wants me to let go of trivial things i’ve been holding on to. He’s again emptying my hand. and i know it’s all for the best..

And when you look at the sky, you know you are looking at stars that are hundreds and thousands of light-years away from you. And some of the stars don’t even exist anymore, because their light has taken so long to get to us that they are already dead or they have exploded and collapsed into red dwarfs. And that makes you seem very small, and if you have difficult things in your life, it is nice to think that they are what is called negligible, which means that they are so small, you don’t have to take them into account when you are calculating something. -Christopher Boone, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

i smiled as i read that this morning from the book i’m currently reading.. i’m such a geek.

an unforgettable weekend

March 15, 2009

a home away from home away from home.

they’re like my second parents (indeed i consider them my spiritual parents) but they’re also my friends. they took me in like they would a lost kid (which i think i am). they listened to me as they would to a dear friend. they gave invaluable insights and advice. they took care of me.

i was so blessed with my brief stay with them. i felt like i was able to breathe after having shared my thoughts which i kept to myself for quite some time already. they are truly able to bless other people because God has blessed them so much. 🙂

どうも ありがとう おねえさん, おにいさん. (thank you so much ate and kuya.)

i am making everything new. -God

January 15, 2009

that was my year verse for 2008 and God has been faithful in fulfilling His words. you see, i always knew that He knows and is concerned about every detail of our lives and not just our Christian walk. but then, i’ve also looked at Him always as somewhat of a strict dad who was concerned only whether i did things correctly and didn’t mind much if i was enjoying life or not. but i was proved VERY WRONG. He was the one who wrote out our days even before we were born and last year He has let me experience that He really is the one orchestrating the events in our lives, be they important and big or just-the-ordinary-everyday things. He really stayed true to His words.

“I am making everything new!”. (Rev. 21:5)

He let me experience that firsthand. He gave me new things and also renewed many others in my life. i am writing this down as some sort of a milestone marker, so that i’ll always remember 2008 as the year in which God made everything new for me.

it’s my first time performing solo in a concert (sort of). on a post-valentines event.     i was not born a performer. i’ve always had stage fright since i was a kid. i’ve experienced song leading in worship services before 2008 but that wasn’t performing. i’ve even sang in a wedding december of 2007 but that’s also different. so this was really something new. just singing for the sake of entertaining an audience. that was really tough. even during practice, i had a hard time singing because i was nervous. there weren’t even 10 of us that time. so during the first 2 minutes of singing at the event, i was really really nervous but then i tried to think of happy thoughts and just like peter pan i was sort of able to fly.
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i became a soccer fan! who would’ve thought that when all my life i’ve only been watching basketball? after just one game that i’ve tried to play, i’ve come to really like it. and now i’m missing soccer-Saturdays. i hope we can play regularly again especially nowadays when the weather’s getting cold. think it’d be really fun playing soccer.

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new language! after almost a year of self-studying (since summer2007) i was finally able to have formal classes in Japanese last summer and during the first semester. i don’t know why but Nihongo is music to my ears. a lot of people are wondering why but I really want to be fluent in Japanese. hontou ni nihongo ga daisuki! in case you want to read my first japanese essay:

first international concert that i attended: PASSION Manila! this was a life-changing event for me. it’s something i’ll always remember. “Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your NAME and RENOWN are the desire of our hearts. ” -Isaiah 26:8 3

diving. this is awesome! i’ve always known how to swim but it’s really an entirely new thing with the mask, snorkel and fins. and He allowed me to attend our culmination activity in Batangas. i was able to experience up close the beauty of God’s creation under the sea. really awesome!

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first cosplay! fun! we met so many celebrities(aka anime characters). super thanks to bmay, kuya carlo and ate shelby! 5

eureka moment! first time to write a song! it’s so cool to be able to make your own music. I’m not going to post the lyrics here though. Title of the song is I don’t mind.

1st time to experience recording! as in, in a studio. This was quite an experience. I haven’t thought it would be so… detailed. Now I know why it takes months or years to complete an album. there are so many things to do. From setting up everything to the recording itself and even all the post-recording stuff. But it was really fun. there’s this weird feeling as you get to hear your recorded voice. Good, weird feeling. Thanks to kuya matt, kuya alfie, kuya jp and dabertte.
(we’ve no picture for this though.)

first surprise party ever! In our family, it’s unusual to have surprise parties so I was really touched with this special event from my DGmates. And because of the theme, it really looked like a send-off party (though I’m not going to Japan any time soon). super thanks girls!(this year wouldn’t have been like this if you didn’t let me join your circle.9

first time to go ice skating! really cold at the rink but this was really fun! 6

first time to have formal guitar lessons. when we were kids, our parents really wanted us to learn the piano so we had piano lessons then, my sister and i. but I really get sleepy reading notes then. And I didn’t want to play the piano. I just liked listening to others playing. It’s really the guitar that I’ve always wanted to play but the lessons only happened now. but better late than never! Thanks to zoilo who introduced me to my teacher. Meet Aaron sensei. 7

1st time to go to the beach on December. dec.29,2008. our family, no, our clan went to Pagudpud. It was like summer while we were traveling. Soaked up the sun thus the darker complexion though it’s only January. 8

These and many others are the things that God made new in my life. And one thing that I really want to share by posting all of these is to show that God does want us to enjoy life. That if we’ll just let Him, He’ll show us the things He wants to do in our lives. That if we just count our blessings, we really have more than enough.