2016prayboldly

Pray Boldly

My 2016 word found me around mid-November, during our SFC cluster’s Christian Character Weekend retreat. It found me, unsurprisingly, after the talk about courage (hello there, old friend). I remember talking to a friend about this that weekend after I was done with Confession, and I told her that I had several variations of this in my head, but it seemed like the word demanded that it be a verb, not a noun or an adjective. And I figured that it might as well be, because action words require, well, action. 

It wasn’t until two weeks later, at our Sector Assembly, that one of the speakers said this:

And I was all: Well, thanks for the affirmation.

So my 2016 word is PRAY. 

The first time I picked a word in 2012, I admit that it didn’t feel as heavy and it didn’t really make me feel as committed to it. 2013 changed all that, obviously, as well as 2014. 2015 brought me to a slightly different and quieter ground. Having the word FAITH felt more like a display of God’s faithfulness in my life, as if He was saying, Look at what I am doing in your life, look at how much I love you.

So it seemed just right that my 2015 word would lead me to pray.

“What’s your next word?” This has become a usual question to me from other friends, and when I told them about PRAY, they asked, “What more can you learn about praying? Don’t you already pray everyday?

I do, I pray. But what do I pray for? What do I really know about praying? You grow in your relationship with God when you pray, but is my relationship with Him growing with every prayer I say? With every mass I attend, with every time I open my journal to write my prayers down? Or am I going through the actions?

Do I really understand what it means when I promise my prayers for people? Do I really know how it is to intercede, to knock on heaven’s doors for this world that sorely needs prayers? Do I really know what it means to ask for prayers from the saints, from Mama Mary?

When I pray, do I expect God’s answers? Do I approach His throne with humility? Am I confident that God will answer me, or do I shy away from praying for some things because I’m afraid of letting God know (which is kind of useless because He knows, anyway), and I’m afraid that He will not answer. Why am I so afraid to give God what’s inside my heart by asking for it?

So see, no, I don’t know much about praying. Even if I pray everyday.

So, PRAY. I’m not going to call this easy because the days leading to the New Year already showed me a struggle with my prayer time. Heh. But by God’s grace, I am looking forward to where this word – and all the prayers – will bring me in 2016. :)

Here’s to bold and brave prayers for 2016. :)

Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. – Philippians 4:6 (The Message)

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faith2015blog

It’s the end of 2015, and we’re okay

Earlier today, while doing some last-minute grocery shopping, my friend Isa retweeted this:

And I thought, Yes, this.

I admit that I have been putting off this 2015 recap for the past few days and was intent on doing other things (like writing) because I wasn’t sure how to go about this. I mean, 15 is a pretty big number to fill (maybe I should quit doing this numbers thing for my recaps), and I guess a part of me is a bit in denial that this year is ending now.

And perhaps there’s a bit of dread coming in, unlike the previous years, and it felt a little disconcerting because I love the New Year. I love it because it meant so many things: new beginnings, new goals, new everything – even if really, not all of them are new. Everything’s fresh and just brimming with possibilities, and I like to make January 1 always awesome so I could carry it for the rest of the year.

But the ending of 2015 and the start of 2016 is a little bit different. I admit that it’s also probably because I’ve been on vacation, and I am loving the fact that I didn’t have much to do nor work to think of and the new year coming meant I’m closer to going back to the office again. Haha. I guess another factor is that I’m turning thirty next year and how about that for some growing-up anxiety.

I mean, thirtyFriends who are already past that age tell me that it isn’t a big deal afterwards, but I bet you were also freaking out slightly when you were approaching that age. :P But really, I guess there’s that feeling that I should have a grasp of my life better now that I’m reaching a new decade. Like I should have this and that, like I should have a plan and an answer to some of the questions that I had back when I was 20, or 24, or something.

But you know what? Those are lies. No one has all the answers and no one has things figured out right now. And Stephanie Kay Sharp’s tweet reminded me that it’s okay not to be completely 100% ready for 2016 by the time this day ends, because who’s completely ready, anyway? I don’t think anyone really is. The best I can do now is reflect, be thankful, and pray for what 2016 has in store for me, for us.

Because 2015 is all about FAITH: being assured of what is hoped for; being certain of what we cannot see. 

Now that I’ve got that word vomit out (I just watched Mean Girls the other night, haha), I’ve decided not to the 15 things, because really, 15 is not enough, and also already daunting for this Tita to remember everything. ;) I think I’m the only one pressuring myself to do the same things I did in the past years. So, instead, an unnumbered list.

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heneralluna-mixtape

2015 Mixtape, Part 3 of 3

And this is the last part of my 2015 mixtape. Will 15 songs even fit a single tape?

To be honest, I had a hard time coming up with 15 songs, and I highly suspect it’s because of two things: there’s not a lot of feels in this year (or hugot, if I must use that word), and I don’t venture out too much from my playlists. I can’t really remedy the first one (do I need that?), but I can work on the second one. Like maybe next year, explore more playlists on Spotify (did I ever say how much I love Spotify? looove Spotify!), and get more recommendations. So friends, if you’re reading this, throw me songs, artists, playlists for 2016 and I’ll listen to them!

Here we go, the last 5 songs for 2015. (Spotify playlist at the end of this post!)

11. Not Over You by Gavin De Graw

If you ask me how I’m doing
I would say I’m doing just fine
I would lie and say that you’re not on my mind
But I go out and I sit down at a table set for two
And finally I’m forced to face the truth,
No matter what I say I’m not over you, not over you

No, no, no leftover relate feelings for this song! I was randomly jumping around artists on Spotify and found this. This screamed Faith!!! on first listen, and I just had to put it on her playlist.

12. Perfect by One Direction

And if you’re looking for someone to write your breakup songs about
Baby, I’m perfect
Baby, we’re perfect

So 2015 is the year I really became a Directioner, haha. Two songs in this list! But this song is pretty fun to listen to, and this pretty much spawned a lot of plot bunnies for our little romance writing group. Also, look at how good these boys look (even if Zayn is already out of the picture)! I think Niall is my favorite boy now. :P

13. Masterpiece by Andy Grammer

One, you get one heartbeat so, take it seriously
This is your masterpiece, don’t forget to dream
And taste the colors in the air you breathe
It’s your masterpiece, go ahead and feel it all
Don’t stop till it is beautiful

I discovered Andy Grammer this year and his songs are some of my favorite cheer-up songs. And finally his album, Magazines or Novels, is already on Spotify. This is my favorite in the album, and it reminds me to really to make my life a masterpiece. (And it also helps me in my writing!)

14. Mary, Did You Know? by Pentatonix

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

I’ve heard of Pentatonix before, but I didn’t pay attention to them because I thought they weren’t the kind of group I would listen to. Then I came across this version of Mary, Did You Know? and I am blown away. Gosh, what a beautiful version. Plus points because I’ve always loved Christmas songs that were about the people surrounding Jesus, because it kind of helps me try to comprehend the beauty of His birth. :) (Listen to MercyMe’s Joseph’s Lullaby  and Jars of Clay’s Bethlehem Town!)

15. Hanggang Wala Nang Bukas by Ebe Dancel

Ang makita kang malaya, at umibig ng payapa
Mabuhay sa mundong itong ligtas sa takot at gulo
At makita kang malaya ang nag-iisang panata
Yayakapin, mamahalin kita
Hanggang wala nang bukas

I have so much love for this song because I have so much love for the Heneral Luna film. The last time I felt so moved about a movie was at The Passion of the Christ, and but then I was more remorseful than angry. Heneral Luna made me so angry even at the second watch, but even so, I look forward to watching it again (hi, DVD!), and to watching the rest of the movies that they will be making based on our heroes. I think this is one of the most important movies that came out this year, and it’s really something one has to watch to understand and think and be moved by it. And this song by Ebe Dancel is just perfect for this movie.

* * *

And that’s it for my songs for 2015. :) Here’s the playlist on Spotify – currently missing Ben Rector’s Favorite Song because it’s not on Spotify, but you can play the video, anyway! :D Till then, more songs in 2016! (Seriously, recommendations, please? :D)

 

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