One Hundred Days

Not to freak you out guys…but if I counted it correctly, we only have 100 days left in 2014. 

Okay, never mind, you can freak out now.

So in the past days since my last post, I had been working (not new), working on releasing something (eeee), been to Pangasinan and almost got caught in the middle of a typhoon on the way home, and got stuck at home for a weekend because of another typhoon, effectively missing a wedding because of all the floods. If I hadn’t been paying attention to Twitter, I wouldn’t have realized that there are 100 days left because somehow, my days just seem to blend into each other. Sometimes I even forget what happened at a certain day because other things get in the way.

I don’t want that.

I don’t want the next few days in the rest of the year to just blend into one another, for me to forget the things that happen in everyday. I don’t want to be so consumed with work, with being busy, being worrying about work and being busy that I forget the essential things. You know, the things that bring joy, the things that make me choose joy. Take delight.

It’s just 100 days left. Soon, it will be 1.

One of the things I learned in the past years is intentionality, and with that comes mindfulness. I want to make the last 100 days of 2014 to count, and for that to happen, I need to take it one intentional and mindful day at a time. I know that there will be moments that will fall into the cracks, that will get lost in the busy-ness of the days, but I don’t want them to just be forgotten.

So this is the plan: remember that #100happydays challenge? Well, I enjoyed that so much the first time, so I thought, why not another round? Except maybe I won’t use that hash tag anymore but stick to my own. I will still post photos in my instagram account, but maybe not all of them will be photos. I’m not entirely sure yet.

But I do know that I want to count down the last days of 2014 recalling at least one blessing in a day. I want my 2014 to end with me learning and relearning to choose joy, and to take delight.

Because…Joy is a choice to believe God when He calls what He has made very good, and a choice to draw near to that very good world in its ache and terror and sadness.

Are you with me? :) Happy last 100 days of 2014, friends!

* Image 1 and Image 2 (combined from we heart it

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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The Thing About Happiness

Here’s an outrageous theory: I think we’re afraid to be happy.

To be really and truly happy.

A few days after the New Year and posting my 2013 word, I got hit by the usual post-New Year’s quarter-life blues. I was brooding over several things, thinking about things that I want to have and want to achieve in the coming year and then I felt that familiar grip of fear, the one that makes me wonder what the heck do I want to do with my life now, the one that makes me want to curl into a ball and hide and wish that I’m one of those people who gets handed things on a pretty silver platter.

Then I got up, took a deep breath, gathered courage and told myself: Keep calm, it’s only January.

So in the next days, I found myself brooding again, more on the financial side. I was thinking about something that I wanted to get, something that I’ve been meaning to get myself for a while now but never got around to because I prioritized other things over it. Now it felt like the best time to get it, but then maybe it’s not because there’s this big trip I’m planning take this year and it’s either one or the other. So I let it go.

Then the next day, my boss offers me the thing I want, for a lesser price.

And I was all, I can’t believe you’re doing this to me.

It feels like a huge coincidence, someone selling that thing I want just as when I was thinking about it. I didn’t want to get it, because it felt like an impulse buy and I couldn’t possibly afford it given the other plans I have. But it niggled at me. I talked to my brother who told me that it’s too good of a deal to pass up on, and taught me several ways for me to get it. I considered what he said and did some computations, and realized that I may actually afford it. It’s going to be a bit tight, but I can afford it, and it will really be way cheaper than if I get the same thing brand new.

But I didn’t know if I should do it. Like I said, it felt like it was an impulse buy. It felt like I shouldn’t get it. It felt like it’s a test, it’s something that I shouldn’t fall for and getting it would mean I won’t be going to the trip I want to go to after all.

But what if it isn’t? What if this is God’s answer to my prayer?

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