Category Archives: In His Steps


Allow me to use a common introduction to horror stories to start this post: This time last year, it was a dark and stormy night.

This time last year, my parents, my best friend and I were carrying our important belongings through chest deep flood water across the street to our neighbor’s house, where they have been waiting for us to evacuate for a while now. The rain won’t stop, and we carried all the important things that we can to their house, where they welcomed us in one room. We cleaned up, changed and prayed and listened to the rain pour down. My parents fell asleep, but my best friend and I were too antsy to do so. We talked in hopes of calming our own fears and listened and prayed for the rain to stop so the water will not go up anymore.

I was expecting the worst the next day. We woke up to this, our house submerged, on our street that has never flooded for the 20 years we’ve lived there:

One year ago.

I’ve been afraid of typhoon season starting ever since that day. Hard rains freak me out, and I find myself always, always praying for sun, and stopping myself from complaining about the heat. Better heat than flood, right?

I always said that I just need to get through this one year anniversary without any major calamity and I will be okay. Just that, and I think I can really, and fully move on. I don’t know how I could say that, but I’m big on dates and anniversaries and all that. I’m not a human calendar for nothing, you know.

But you know what? I will never really know if there will be another Ondoy. It doesn’t matter how much weather watching I do — if there’s another one, it will come and I am only human. I can’t stop it from happening. I can only do so much, I can only prepare myself so much and read about all the life insurance premiums and acts of God on insurances I can read about, but in the end, it’s all…well, God’s. He commands the weather, and everything else in this world, after all.

Ondoy really changed my life last year, and even if I know I’d rather not experienced it, I am still thankful that it happened. I don’t think I would be the person I am right now if I didn’t. I still don’t understand why it happened to us, to me. I don’t know if I will ever understand it, at least in this lifetime. But it doesn’t really matter if I understand it, or know why it happened. It’s kind of hard to explain, but trying to figure it out will just stress me out, when I can just rest in the fact that God knows and God understands and He will never ever give me anything that I can’t handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). So…why worry, right?

I will never forget what happened on September 26, 2009. I refuse to forget because I don’t want to forget how it changed me and the lessons I have learned. It will always be a part of me. But I will also refuse to worry about it happening again. My God is bigger than any other typhoon or calamity, and I rest in the fact that He is always in control, and He understands even if I do not.

I don’t know if I have thanked everyone who helped, prayed and listened to me and my family during the entire ordeal and after — if I haven’t, well, THANK YOU. You were all God’s blessings to us. Thank you, thank you.

It’s been a year, and I am never more happy when I woke up and saw sunlight shining through my window. :)

And for the record, I want to say that despite all that happened last year, I’m not an Ondoy victim. I’m a survivor. :)

Blessed be His name.

Read other Ondoy related entries in Refine Me:

Related posts and such in the world wide web:

I will run this race

So. The Rexona Run was my secnd 10k run, and I wanted to be ready. My brother, his girlfriend and I registered early and I have been training for it for it ever since we registered. I know I can run 10k, but I wanted to at least try beat my personal record of 1:17:16.

Thing is, about two weeks before the run, I had a bout of asthma. Wait, change that — not a simple bout, but an almost week-long asthma that I wasn’t sure if I would be able to run properly. I couldn’t even try to run on the treadmill without running after my breath. Ahh it was so frustrating.

But still. The run was actually…good.

So! In bullets!

  • For the first time, we were actually early for the race. We arrived at the MOA grounds just before the 21k runners left, so there was plenty of time to warm up and prepare for our gun start.
  • I noticed that there were more 10k runners this time. I figure those who started out with 5k are now running 10k now, like me.
  • My Nike+ didn’t start properly as the race started, so there the data is kind of inaccurate. I think I need to calibrate it once again. The time is 2 minutes off, but I ran farther? Unless it’s really not 10k? Or something. I like how my graph looked, though:
  • If you’re wondering why that’s so squiggly, I decided to follow my brother’s strategy: to just run at a certain pace and slow down every now and then, but not really slow down. I have a feeling that every time the graph dips it’s a water station. I slow down there because (1) I don’t want to slip and (2) I had to get a drink. By the fourth water station though, I had to skip it because I felt that I needed to pee. And we know what happens when I run and I need to pee. :o It’s a good thing I skipped because the only portalets were at the end of the race.
  • Longest last stretch ever. When I saw the last 1km mark, I was excited and I thought I could run the entire kilometer already. But when I turned to the street, I realized that the finish line was so far away! :( I only ran again after there was about 200 meters left, after a college friend called out my name.
  • I love the quotes at each marker — funny and inspiring at the same time. I think this post summarizes that well.
  • But I have the most unglamorous running shots. I should learn how to project when it comes to running photos. This may be the best shot I have among the photos:

    Well look who loves running.
  • Official time: 1:15:12. That’s two minutes off my first 10k, friend. I just broke my personal record (and raised my muscle mass without noxycut — I haven’t been lifting weights, but my muscles went up after the run).

One last, but I won’t put it in bullets: I just found the best running play list ever, at least for me. I discovered it one time while I was running on the treadmill. Break Free by Hillsong United played, I suddenly felt energized. It’s been a while since I last listened to them, and I realized that if there was any song that I needed to listen to when I run, it’s got to be about the One who’s made me run. The One who made this body to run. Who am I running for, anyway?

I think that was what made this race better than the previous one: I spent almost the entire run in prayer. The songs helped, and I even broke into song every now and then while I was running. There was this lightness in my heart, a voice inside me that tells me I can do it, and tells me that He is pleased with me. It was almost like a mountain-top experience, and I loved that I got to talk to God for almost a whole hour. Running can be a spiritual experience, and I proved that during the last run.

So will I run again? Of course. I’m planning to just keep doing 10k (and maybe 15k once) for the rest of the year and then maybe, maybe break into 21k by next year. I just need to make sure I’m conditioned for that length.

Yeah, I will keep running this race, these races. Thank You Lord for giving me running so I can see Your glory. :)


My friend Gel and I were talking yesterday after she said something about Facebook delivering bad news to her about some friends. After learning the news, I felt sad too because they were also my friends. :( Then we got to discussing other situations, which ended up with us talking about how we are as friends and how we were as Christians.

Sometimes I can’t help but feel like I’m an antagonist, especially when it comes to other people’s relationships. Like, say, if a friend got into a relationship too hastily. Or if a friend is leaving other people for a guy or a girl. Or if a friend is too focused on something that he/she is missing other things in the process. I hope I’m not being selfish, but sometimes I just get this gut feel that something isn’t right, or something will not turn out right. Ever had that feeling? Sometimes I’d like to think I’m prophetic. It’s not exact science like Phentermine 37.5; sometimes I think I just happen to have good instincts.

Anyway, I can’t help but feel bad about feeling those things though. I feel those things because I am concerned, but I never had the guts to say them out loud, in fear of being labeled as jealous, or again, an antagonist. Kontra bida. Sometimes I wonder if I feel those things because I am just envious of their situation (especially when it comes to love related matters), or if there is really sound reason to why I am feeling that way. Still, I never had the guts to voice those concerns out loud. More often than not, I end up hiding, because I don’t know if I can talk to the person without saying anything wrong. When things fall apart, I am always there to help my friend…but sometimes I wonder if that is too late. If I had said something before, would it have lessened the blow to my friend?

I don’t think I’ll ever know the answer. But the thing I always, always have to remember is it’s better to be loving than to be right. I think I just have to remember and discern which is the more loving thing to do than what is right. If there’s anything that I should do first, it’s to love. Doesn’t matter if I’m wrong or the other person is wrong, or whatever. I must always, always choose to love.

Because in the long run, whatever they are going through, whatever junk they have stored, I know I have something in me, too, that is junk. Maybe even bigger than theirs. So I really have no right whatsoever to say what is right; I can only just love.

Reposting a quote from an old post, because it fits:

“And remember this…the junk in your life and the junk in [his] life aren’t really all that different when you compare them to the holiness of the One who forgives them both. They’re both just pretty much junk.”
– Jake Phillips to his daughter Savannah, Savannah by the Sea, p. 256

Have a blessed Wednesday, everyone.

Taste and See

Psalm 34.

Whenever this Psalm comes up in my prayer time, I am always left in awe. I remember my parents used to sing one song that was based on this Psalm, but I never memorized it. It wasn’t until thesis time, when I was freaking out at the dorm, when a friend sent me this Psalm to encourage me.

The basic message of this Psalm is God is good. Taste and see God’s goodness. He is a good God, and He will not leave me, and because of that, I will praise Him. It’s such a simple and beautiful Psalm that it always takes my breath away and my heart brims with thanks with the affirmation that this Psalm brings.

I may not be able to go online again until tomorrow to blog, chat and look at apidexin reviews because I’ll be spending the night in Ortigas for our 10k run tomorrow, so I’m leaving you with this Psalm. :)

Psalm 34 (The Message version)

1 I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise.

2 I live and breathe God;
if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:

3 Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.

4 God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.

5 Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.

6 When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.

7 God’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.

8 Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

9 Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.

10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but God-seekers are full of God.

11 Come, children, listen closely;
I’ll give you a lesson in God worship.

12 Who out there has a lust for life?
Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty?

13 Guard your tongue from profanity,
and no more lying through your teeth.

14 Turn your back on sin; do something good.
Embrace peace—don’t let it get away!

15 God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.

16 God won’t put up with rebels;
he’ll cull them from the pack.

17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
ready to rescue you.

18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

19 Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, God is there every time.

20 He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone;
not even a finger gets broken.

21 The wicked commit slow suicide;
they waste their lives hating the good.

22 God pays for each slave’s freedom;
no one who runs to him loses out.

Have a great weekend everyone. Taste and see God’s goodness! :)

One Down

I’m okay. So this is what Basyang did to us last night, as well as some thoughts:

  • I got off work about 15 minutes to 1 in the morning, and met my brother and his girlfriend at CBTL. I had to cross a very dark Eastwood street, feel the wind whip me all around (not really that bad), and then when we were about to go, we saw that we can’t get out of the Citywalk parking lot because the parking ticket booth fell over and they can’t bill us properly for the parking. Pfft. I felt kind of guilty for going home late, and thought we’d be stuck there all night. Good thing they let us go.
  • The ride home was scary. Dark and scary. Remind me never to attempt to drive home if it’s windy and dark like that, unless I am a very good driver already. Which I am not.
  • Slept at home in the dark with the windows open, so it was cold. I prayed the rosary all night to calm my nerves, and well, God was faithful even if I am not.
  • Let me repeat that: God is faithful, even when I am not. Thank You, Lord, for protecting us.
  • I promise to clean my room this weekend.
  • I also promise to start fixing a typhoon emergency kit. And such.
  • Our dog, Batman, freaked out like I did, and he looked thinner this morning. :( Aw poor doggie.
  • Everything was okay in the morning, thank God. And don’t you think it’s funny how bright everything is after a storm? Again, God is faithful, even when I am not.
  • Dark Eastwood is scary Eastwood. Boo. But all things are okay now, I think?

What perked me up today? Other than Flaming Wings with my teammates, and Looking for Alaska by John Green (I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist!), it’s this:

Ben and Jerry's Peanut Butter Cup
Ben and Jerry's Peanut Butter Cup - so sinful but so yummy.

Oh dear.  Ben and Jerry’s in Shopwise Libis is the best discovery I had this week, and probably the most sinful. If I keep on eating this, I might need to take some apidexin! Ack! That, or run and run and run. Anyway, so I think the storm is over. I hope I get enough breathing room before the next one comes. Please Lord? And before I go, I leave you with this quote from Lie to Me S02E10:

So sometimes, when there’s nothing you can do, you just have to believe that everything’s gonna be okay…and you write a song. You can’t be worried and write a song at the same time, right?

Well in my case, it’s to write a blog. :P I’m okay. I hope you are, too. :)

Scared Senseless

Hello typhoon season.

I just have to let this out: I. Am. Scared.

Oh dear Lord, I never thought I’d be this afraid of this. I mean, I was okay by the end of the year, and I had a long time of peace without storms and lots of sun and all that, and I thought I’d be ready for the typhoon season. But now that Basyang is here and the wind is howling and there’s rain, and there’s power outages and all that…I’m just scared. Aren’t there some kind of vitamins that I can take to take the fright off?

Oh dear Lord. Still my heart. I claim that there will be no more floods, and we will be safe, but I can’t help but keep on checking the weather, I can’t help but keep on tracking the storm, I can’t help but be scared and remember what happened in September last year. I prayed, and I claimed that it wouldn’t happen again, and I know God is protecting us, but I can’t help but feel scared.

Go away, fear. I don’t need you.

And just my luck, all the songs I used to listen to are not in my iPod, and I can’t seem find calm and be still. I’m seriously freaking out. And this is just one typhoon — I know there is more coming this year! I should be used to it, I should be okay with it, but I feel like breaking down and crying right now. I just want it to stop. I don’t know if I can take it for every single typhoon that comes here, one or two or three could hit Metro Manila and could pour rains all over, and…I can’t keep freaking out for each one. Where is that calm that I used to have?

I don’t know, maybe the flood carried it away?

Oh dear God, I’m really scared. :(

Oh dear God, please help me be still and believe in Your protection.

I remember this one reflection I wrote in Didache that got lots of replies, one that I entitled Scared Senseless. I’m reading it right now and I think I’m too frazzled to really read through it, but I hope I take those words I wrote in my heart and believe that God is taking care of me even now that I’m so scared that I don’t know what to think.

*breathes* Relax. Relax.

I will be okay. I think I just have to survive this typhoon season and I’ll be okay again. Survive the typhoon season without any disaster,I mean. and I claim there won’t be any, because God is our protector, and my brother is getting married this year. Please spare us, Lord. Please Lord. By God’s grace, I will be okay.


Father, please help me see You in this storms and the storms that will be coming.

But he said to them, “It is I. Do not be afraid.” (John 16:20)


I can’t believe I’m still in this…funk.

I can really relate to this image right now:

It’s been weeks, and I still feel like I’m in some kind of funk. Like…there’s something missing, but not really. I wish I could blame PMS on this, but I just finished with my period (sorry, TMI!), and yet I’m still feeling quite…down.


It’s so frustrating.

It’s not like I have some kind of problem. As far as I know, I don’t. I’m pretty okay with everything, but that’s just it. I’m just okay. I’m not asking for any problem of some sort, and I’m thankful my life is relatively peaceful…but I just wish there’s something else I can look forward to in the next days, weeks, months. Something big. Something exciting. Something to awaken my passion and all that shiz.

An adventure of some sort.

But alas, there’s none.

Sigh. I guess this is some kind of holding pattern once again, a waiting moment, a time where I should sit still and wait. Wait for what, exactly? I don’t know. I know it doesn’t involve any cigars, though. I wish I have some clue…but right now, I really have no idea. Is this a part of growing up, again?

Surprise me, Lord? Please give me something to look forward to.

Junk, Joy, Jesus


For the first time this week, I woke up and did not feel stressed. How about that. I really think getting through the call last night turned the tbales around for me. My to-do list is long for today, but I don’t mind — I can do it in 9 hours. I think. I can, of course!

So yes, I’ve never been happier that it’s the weekend, and the call is over. I have a feeling we might have more of that sometime soon, but at least I know I can handle it. Scratch that, that God and I can handle it. I couldn’t have spoken that fluently if it weren’t for God’s grace. :)

To put another positive note on this Friday (yes, let’s keep on being positive), I thought of doing something that the guys of In Between Sundays do with their podcast. They call it the 3 J’s, or the Junk, Joy and Jesus moments. With the 3 J’s, they’re supposed to give their Junk, Joy and Jesus moments during the week. I thought I’d do the same thing too, and regularly, to put things into perspective (because we all need to have the right ones, right?).


My junk moments this week is mostly the stress. I’ve been so stressed and depressed early this week that I didn’t feel like doing anything at all. :( I just wanted to lie down and read and do nothing, accept no responsibility whatsoever. Ah, don’t you hate it when that happens?

Another junk, at least for now, is the new shift that I seem to be having a hard time adjusting to. It’s only semi-permanent, but staying at work up until 1am got me really tired, and I feel rushed all the time. Plus it’s wrecking all kinds of havoc on my circadian rhythm, and now I fall asleep at 3:00am. Not good. :/ I end up reading and surfing for random things online like new books and activities and treatment for eczema, it’s crazy.


Okay, joy. I guess  my joy is finishing the call last night, and rewarding myself with new books. :D I’ve been resisting Amazon’s Kindle store but drooling to get new books for review, and at the end of the call last night, I got myself Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce and The Rise of Renegade X by Chelsea Campbell.

So now no more buying, not yet. I need to make a dent in my reading list first.


I’m going to have to repeat myself now because my Jesus moment is also my Joy moment: the success of the call last night. It felt like I passed thesis again. :P Plus, it was nice to hear that our clients appreciated my work, and I have to remember that if not for God’s grace, I wouldn’t be able to do all that. So credit goes to Him, always. :)

Hm, now that I think about it…Jesus moments are always Joy moments, right? :)

There you go. I really think I’ll do this on a weekly basis to remind myself of the more important things.

And now I need to get started with work. :P Or at least, get ready for work. Have a great Friday everyone!

Try and try and try and try

I’m sorry for the sort of depressing entry last Friday. I was having some kind of weekend blues, can you believe that? But all’s better now, it’s just a spur of the moment thing.

Plus, some things happened that kind of made me realize (yet again) that I’m really okay. Really and truly okay. Sometimes I tend to forget that, and I tend to look at the things I lack before I appreciate the things I have. Yes, I’m channeling Shrek Forever After here, but what he said made sense. Sometimes we don’t know what we have till it’s gone. It’s a good thing I get reminded of it, and now I get reminded often, and it keeps my feet on the ground. And it keeps me from flailing, too. ;)

This is one thing I keep on forgetting lately: God is a good God. It’s strange how I forget something as basic as that fact. It hit me last weekend that May is ending, and we’re entering June, and June not only means the start of school, but also the start of the rainy season. And you know what the thought of rain does to me, right? Right. I wouldn’t have been as nervous if our house has been renovated, but up to now it’s not. I don’t know when that would start, and the idea of rains coming and our house still the same still kind of freaks me out.

So I was trying to calm myself down over that fact on the weekend. I’m sorry if I’m not one of the people praying for rain even if I am also dying of heat here — I’m just scared. But sometime during the weekend, as my brother and I were talking about some wedding stuff, I felt an odd sense of calm. I thought, It’s my brother’s wedding late this year, and I’m sure God won’t let us run into any disasters that would stop that.

I don’t know if it made sense. Not that I’m bargaining to God and all (although I know I do that often), but I felt as if God is quieting my fears and telling me, “Don’t forget that I am a good God, and I won’t give you anything that you can’t handle.”

It doesn’t mean that any flooding is guaranteed not to happen again, but it meant that God promises to take care of us. So I need not fear. God is a good God.

And then I found out another thing about a friend who I used to be close to. I say used to because I felt like we were drifting apart. Now, I mentioned a couple of times that I suck at keeping in touch, so drifting away from old friends isn’t a new thing, but this one particular friend mattered a lot, and I found that I had a hard time letting go — I even wrote several entries about this. I tried, and something that happened after the flood made me start picking up myself and moving on. I thought I had moved on and all, but then I heard something, and I’m back to square one.

I talked to another friend about it because I was so unsettled last Saturday. Strange, because I should be moving on — I shouldn’t care anymore. I mean, I didn’t even learn the news first hand, I had to hear it from someone else! I was so pissed about it that I wanted to cry and throw stainless steel drums! However, after praying last Sunday, I heard this gentle reminder: It’s not about you, my daughter.

So yeah. It’s not about me. Yes, I’m pissed, I’m hurt for being left out again, but this news isn’t about me. Whatever I’m feeling, it doesn’t even compare to what my friend is probably feeling. So I cannot complain. I can’t throw a tantrum and not offer my presence just because I wasn’t one of the people who heard the news first.

I could move on from this, now right? I mean, yes it’s not about me, but it doesn’t mean I should say anything, or care, right?

But it bothered me. So after a day of wallowing, I reached out to that used-to-be-close friend. I figure, there’s nothing wrong with offering. If I get a response, cool. If not, at least I did my part. I was telling all this to Jana and Gel yesterday, and they told me I’m such a nice friend, because they would have done what I initially wanted to do if it happened to them. They wouldn’t care, because in the first place, the other person didn’t care. So why make an effort, right?

I asked the same question, too, and sometimes I still wonder. I can say, “Oh, but we were friends, and it’s just the right thing to do.” While that is true, I personally think that it’s not really enough reason for me to reach out. I can remember a lot of disappointments with this friend, and I was hurt more than once, and I have all the reasons to move on with my life and all. But there’s just something inside me that bugs me, and sometimes even begs me, to try again. Even just one more time. And if nothing happens, try again. Try and try and try.

I guess there are just some people who you can’t give up on. I found mine, and well…I’m hoping this changes things. I’m not saying I’m glad my friend got hurt — that’s mean. I’m just saying that…well, I don’t know the reason, either, but I know God works in mysterious ways, and this is one thing I can’t fully comprehend just yet. What I do know is, God never gave up (and will never give up) on me, so why should I give up on my friend?

I guess this is what loving really means?

Ah, growing up. How lovely and painful, but it’s all okay when God is on your side. :)

Dreaming of Happiness

I swear, I miss this. I miss hearing God everyday. :) This is just awesome. Thank You, Lord.

I kind of have a lot of work to do today, but I need to share this one before anything else. Yesterday, I went to the gym to go for a run. I usually have a running play list made by MoodAgent to keep me running (I’d use a Nike+ playlist, but I don’t have it yet, and I’m too cheap for a Garmin GPS), but instead of playing that, I decided to listen to the two Lifeteen The Mix podcasts that I haven’t listened to yet. On the latest episode (eighth), there’s this long talk by Matt Smith that almost made me cry while I was running. I know, awkward, right?

Anyway, the talk was about this specific quote from Pope John Paul II, that I thought I’d share with everyone because it was just so amazing, and it spoke straight to my heart. I leave you with this quote this Monday and I hope it’s gives you something to think about this week. :)

* I tried to choose specific parts that I liked, but I couldn’t. So I emphasized the entire thing. :P

Pope John Paul IIIt is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness. He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you. He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.

It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be ground down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, makng the world more human and more fraternal.

– Pope John Paul II

Have a great day, everyone. :)