All These Things (1)

I meant to blog more before July ended (because that last post can get a bit too maudlin, right? Also, I haven’t used the word maudlin in ages), but alas, work, a typhoon, several SFC events, and sickness got in the way. Before I knew it, the month was over and we’re well into August, and I…well, look, we’re in August.

I realized something recently, though, in my new-ish job (can’t believe that I’ve only been here for less than 3 months – feels like forever already): the more you do something, the better you get at it. I mean, okay fine, I know that already, but being in this new role proved it. I haven’t done any major designing stuff since 2008, 2009. Now that one of my job functions is to design ads for work, I have been stretched in an interesting way and I find that it is getting easier for me to be more creative in making ads.  I am learning to use Adobe Illustrator more now, and I am really liking vectors. And I have used the Pen tool properly! How about that. Excuse me for being a noob, but it’s all so fascinating. (And to think I used to say I was a graphic designer. Heh.)

Then I realized how much that principle also applied to other things, particularly, writing. I admit that being so busy in all this newness has stopped me from writing – here, in my book blog, and even creatively – and I missed that. But if I can get better in designing because I do it everyday, then I would get better at writing if I do it everyday regularly more often than I do now.

Like I said, nothing new there. But indulge me a bit.

To put that in action, I am starting this little, semi-regular thing called All These Things. Because I don’t always have to write about oh-so-serious stuff – sometimes, I just really need to write. So let’s start.

If there’s an award for a song that has given me the most massive case of LSS, this would win. I heard it in my friend’s car last week and I have been playing it all week. I haven’t played it today yet, but I bet later I would play it and sing it and I don’t know if it would end anytime soon.  And there, I just played it again.

I just finished reading Jojo Moyes’ Me Before You, upon recommendation of a friend. I liked it, but I have very mixed feelings about that ending.

mebeforeyou

But this is not a review, so I won’t talk about that. There’s this line from the book that I want to print out and frame so I would remember it everyday:

Some mistakes…just have greater consequences than others. But you don’t have to let that […] be the thing that defines you.

Book season is starting in the Philippines. Book season = time for sales, book fairs, and reader conferences. And just this week, we kicked off the 3rd Filipino Readers’ Choice Awards. Nominations are now open! Nominate your favorite 2013-published book by a Filipino author. There are thirteen new categories! :D

I’ve had my gym membership frozen since March because I wasn’t going there anyway. I’ve been contemplating on having it cut because I haven’t been using it as much. I forgot to have the freeze extended, so I got billed for August. I decided to use it again and went back for a dance class yesterday. I forgot how fun it was. And how much I missed dancing. :) This little fella dances way better than me, though:

Baby-dancing-Groot

One of my new favorite bloggers, Hannah Brencher,1 wrote this post a couple of weeks ago. I keep going back to it because…because:

And while I’m not an expert or a ghost buster, I think a ghost gets born out of a constant wish that maybe you and another person might have more to say to each other. Like maybe you never reached the point of finally saying everything. And maybe, just maybe, if you can manage to keep a person in your orbit or your memory a little while longer then you’ll never have to face the real truth: you can’t fix everything.

So many powerful words in this post that I can’t pick. But what she said about having final words, about how “Final words shift the atmosphere” give me hope. And it reminds me of this quote from Yann Martel’s Life of Pi:

So you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.

Maybe all I really need are those words.

* * *

Have a great weekend, everyone. :)

** Featured image credit

  1. Hannah, who actually inspired me to come up with this thing with her Field Notes feature []

Lost in Transition

So I open my laptop today, after using it last night, and found myself staring at the stats of the Facebook page that I now handle for work. Then I thought, Cut it out, Tina. It’s Saturday.

This day a month ago was a Wednesday, and it was my first day at my new role at work. I wanted to blog about it, but things got really busy with our SFC Christian Life Program and then the Japan trip and then the transition at work that I couldn’t find the time, and now it’s just a month later that I am finally telling myself to sit down and write if I care for my sanity at all.

So hello, there, random blog readers. I missed writing. I missed a lot of things that I used to do before I jumped into this new role, namely slacking off. Or, I mean, doing all the other things I do. But yeah, slacking off, too, I guess. ^^

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t hate this at all. It’s a tad bit stressful, because many of the things I do are new to me and I’m scared of messing up and I like being in control but everything’s so unpredictable sometimes that I just want to scream in frustration, and that kind of makes it feel like I hate it. But I don’t. When things go right – and most of the times, they do – I feel very happy. And I like being challenged. It’s just when things happen fast and I have to deal with the stuff I need to do, then I remember all the free time I had before this, I feel like maybe I shouldn’t have agreed to this, that I shouldn’t have jumped.

But will I even be really happy if I didn’t jump? Won’t I regret knowing that I didn’t take this chance, simply because I didn’t want to be stressed?

So these are most of the thoughts that come into my mind in the past month. I tell myself to quit worrying, that it’s just work, and you don’t have to bring it home. Of course there are times when I had to take phone calls when I’m already out of the office, but it’s okay because I learn a lot about it. And it teaches me about necessary sacrifices. And it keeps me on my toes.

Some days, though, I just feel so tired.

“Of course you feel that way. You’re still in transition.”

One office friend told me that, when we happen to go into the office at the same time and I told her about this. She also told me, “The Lord is so good, He’s always watching over you.” And it was Truth. Because I really did pray for this, for change, for something new, and I knew for a fact that this was His plan that unfolded before my eyes. It’s just that I had this wrong expectation that when God’s plan unfolds before me, it will all be smooth sailing.

But hasn’t last year taught me that it’s not? Hasn’t my year of being brave told me that if anything, when God’s plan happens, it will always, always require me to hold on to Him a little more tighter?

Sometimes I think I expect too much of myself. Wait, scratch that – I do expect a lot from myself. I’m so scared of messing up sometimes, of disappointing the people, that I worry about everything to the nth power. But all of this is new to me, and different, and no one expects me to get it all right at at once – the one who expects that is just myself…and I shouldn’t listen to that. And I tell myself, over and over again, not to worry, because it’s useless, and don’t I know the One who has power over everything, and He’s got me? He’s always got me.

Funny how that could easily get lost in all the rush of the day.

In a way, I see this as a perfect exercise to choose joy, to take delight. Because again: Joy and delight are not happy feelings; they are choices to let love win. They are the choice to trust that love triumphant. Sometimes I don’t know what this love is, and then I remember that I know who Love is, and it’s God, and being joyful means trusting that God is always victorious. Always.

So this is what’s happening lately – transition.

Will you pray with me about this? :)

The Story of Brave Things that Roar

Can I say it? I know we still have a day before 2013 is officially over, but can I please, please say it?

MAN, WHAT A YEAR 2013 HAS BEEN.

I mean, seriously.

I know that when I chose my 2013 word even before the year rolled around that it wasn’t going to be easy. In fact, I almost decided to choose another word, but then I realized that’s cheating, especially after the word has owned me even before I decided to own it. I knew that I would go through a lot, and I knew that choosing to be courageous means facing fear head on. I wish I could say I was completely prepared, but I guess one is never really that prepared, no matter what.

So wow, 2013. You surely were something.

I could go on and on about courage and bravery, but to keep me from rambling, here are four important things I learned about courage in 2013. :)

1. “Happiness is a form of courage.”

This is a funny thing to think of, and the story behind this post about happiness is really me contemplating if I will buy myself the MacBook Air that my boss was selling me the day after I thought of replacing my 6-year-old MacBook. I know it’s such a shallow thing that I’d write about happiness in the context of buying a gadget, but that decision taught me a lot about how I thought of happiness in my life.

Because when you think about it, really, it takes courage to be happy. It takes courage to choose happiness because it’s easier to be sad, to feel down. It’s easier to dwell on the bad stuff than the good stuff, to see how things went wrong instead of choosing to see how right everything can be (even if you can’t really see it yet). I realized in 2013 that it really takes guts to choose to be happy, to be joyful, to delight. I have failed in this miserably, but I am holding onto this even more in the year to come. And like what my adopted little brother told me last Christmas: This sounds like a good plan.

Because joy and delight are not happy feelings: they are the choices to let love win. (Hilary Sherratt)

2. Courage and grace.

You know how sometimes, you think you’re such a nice person and all that…and then someone comes along, and it totally wrecks your perception of you being nice because they just grind your nerves to the very end? Or sometimes, someone seemed to do some things to spite you on purpose, so bad that you just want to lash out to them and make them feel your wrath because no one is supposed to say bad things about the people you love?

Yeah, I’ve had that several times this year. 2013 was the year that God decided I needed to learn more about grace. I ended 2012 with thoughts on graciousness, and that was just the beginning of it. 2013 saw me grappling for peace, getting really annoyed at people I don’t like, and being on a constant defense mode for the people I love because it felt like some people just won’t stop shooting at them. But the only way to learn to be gracious is when you’re given opportunities to be gracious. I wanted to be an unlimited dispenser of grace, and it was such a tall order that I kept on failing to do it. I learned that the more the important thing is to keep on trying. It takes courage to choose to do that, to give grace to people who don’t seem to deserve it, because in the end you’ll realize that you also need grace.

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