Tag Archives: In His Steps

Last Day of 2008

Even after spending up to midnight yesterday cleaning up this site, setting up Wordplay (for 2009!) and my brother’s website, I woke up almost in time today, off by an hour on my alarm. Heh, snooze buttons are evil, I tell you! But at least I don’t feel like my day is going to be wasted. :) I hope I can keep this up for the next year.

It turns out I won’t be spending New Year at home but at the condo, where we’ll be able to watch fireworks and such at the rooftop. This means I can go to the gym tomorrow morning (yeeees I’m turning over a new leaf — start early!), but it also means the midnight introspection and long prayer/journal times that I do literally at the start of the new year (as in 12 midnight) won’t be done in the privacy of my bedroom. But it’s okay. That only means I have to get creative.

Honestly, I feel kind of bad because I did not get to finish everything I listed here. I might be able to cross out two more from the list there…but the others will just have to be finished by next year, or at least, before I go back to work on Monday. And speaking of which…I still don’t feel like going back to work on Monday. Who’s with me? But, like everyone always say at the end of vacations: time to face reality. Then again, not yet. ;)

I’m rambling, I know. I may not be able to post again until tomorrow, where the year officially ends in 9 (at least in my timezone that is), and a new year and month will be added in my archives down there…so let me share the last reflection from Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost For His Highest. I hardly read this one this year, but I always liked the reading for the last year. No matter how blah and apprehensive I feel about the upcoming year because of all its challenges, somehow this brings me comfort because of the truth it carries. So I leave you with this reflection as the last hours of 2008 tick by (did I say that right?).

December 31
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

“You shall not go out with haste…for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 52:12)

Security from Yesterday. “…God requires an account of what is past” (Ecclesiastes 3:15). At the end of the year we turn with eagerness to all that God has for the future and yet anxiety is apt to arise when we remember our yesterdays. Our present enjoyment of God’s grace tends to be lessened by the memory of yesterday’s sins and blunders. But God is the God of our yesterdays, and He allows the memory of them to turn the past into a ministry of spiritual growth for our future. God reminds us of the past to protect us from a very shallow security in the present.

Security for Tomorrow. “…the Lord will go before you…” This is a gracious revelation — that God will send His forces out where we have failed to do so. He will keep watch so that we will not be tripped up again by the same failures, as would undoubtedly happen if He were not our “rear guard.” And God’s hand reaches back to the past, settling all the claims against our conscience.

Security for Today. “You shall not go out with haste…” As we go forth into the coming year, let it not be in the haste of impetuous, forgetful delight, nor with the quickness of impulsive thoughtlessness. But let us go out with the patient power of knowing that the God of Israel will go before us. Our yesterdays hold broken and irreversible things for us. It is true tha we have lost opportunities that will never return, but God can transform this destructive anxiety into a constructive thoughtfulness for the future. Let the past res, but let it rest in the sweet embrace of Christ.

Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.

Goodbye soon, 2008. Hello, 2009. I hope I’m ready for you. :)

From My Love

As if to answer my post yesterday, I found this post in Boundless. This part made me tear up:

Nothing Can Separate

Later that night as your Daddy tucks you into bed, there’s one thing bothering you. You know that even when you do your best, you can’t be good all the time. Some of the kids in your group home talked about their Daddies hitting them, or calling them bad words that hurt more than the hitting. And because of their stories, you can’t shake off a hidden fear that one day, your new Daddy will stop loving you and send you back to the home, deciding you aren’t worth the trouble anymore.

So just before he turns out the light, you screw up all your courage and ask a question: “Daddy … what makes you stop loving your kids?”

“Me?” he says. “Absolutely nothing.”

“But what about when I do something really bad?”

“Nothing can separate you from my love,” he replies.

“What if I can’t figure things out in math and get an F?”

“Nothing can separate you from my love.”

“What if I get hit by a car and die?”

“Nothing can separate you from my love.”

“What about when I come home and it doesn’t look like you’re here, and I wonder if you went away?”

“Nothing can separate you from my love.”

Your Daddy can tell you’ve run out of questions for now, so he gives you a kiss on the forehead and a big hug. But before he leaves the room, he sits down on the edge of the bed and looks you in the eyes.

“I love you, kiddo,” he says. “I love you in good times and bad. I love seeing you seek after me; helping you and comforting you. I loved you before the world began, and I’ll love you all the way through eternity.”

Then he starts to leave the room, but before he goes, you have to say — not just because it’s habit, but because it’s the deep truth in your heart — “I love you, Daddy.”

And he responds, “I love you too, my chosen one.”


I realized a few days ago (while I’m all so down about my novel) that I hardly have posts in my blog that are in the In His Steps category. I can post book reviews, novel updates, but this category has been long quiet. It’s been a long time since I wrote something related to my faith, and I kind of miss it.

So how have I been?

It’s been…difficult. Not difficult that I can’t bear it type of difficult, but just difficult that I don’t really know what I’m doing. I don’t know where my spiritual life is going, I don’t know how I’m going to fix this. I’m not having a faith crisis, as far as I know…it’s just that everything feels like it’s in limbo.

You know how easy it is to fall back into the world and not remember who you are and whose you are? It’s kind of like that. I admit that I haven’t been exerting that much effort into my faith as much as I do before. I still go to mass, and I do my best to go to mass every first Wednesday and first Friday. I’ve had “God” moments too — moments that I feel enlightened, that I feel that He is talking to me. I try my best to revive my prayer time, to pray the way I used to back in college, where the first thing I hold when I woke up is my Bible. Right now…it’s just not the same.

Sometimes I’m scared that I’d get used to this thing, this limbo. I’m scared of not feeling scared of me losing this “battle”. I’m scared of the possibility of getting used to God not being near, to see Him as Someone I’ll run to when I need Him, not someone I need like the air I breathe. I don’t want that to happen. I can’t lose Him.

I still don’t know what I’m going to do, but I am taking baby steps again. It’s me being stripped of all my ideas about faith once again to start anew. Cliche as this may sound, this is a journey, and God values what happens in the journey. So…as a baby step, I finally did something about this limbo last weekend.

I went to confession. After one and a half years. :)

It’s a start, right? I’ve got a long way to go, and by God’s grace, I’ll get to where He wants me to be.

 God wants you to understand that it is a life off aith, not a life of emotional enjoyment of His blessings…Faith by its very nature must be tested and tried. And the real trial of faith is not that we find it difficult to trust God, but that God’s character must be proven as trustworthy in our own minds. (Oswald Chambers)

Life and Death

Last night, I went to my high school friend’s younger sister’s funeral. Yes, funeral. She died at 20 because of cancer, a few months after graduating from college. I heard about it last week, but I was a bit busy, and to be honest, I sort of didn’t want to go. It’s not that I am afraid of funerals or of dead people (I can safely say that I’m one of the people who’s not afraid to look into the coffin), but because of the fact that I’m afraid to see someone so young yet dead. :(

But anyway, I ended up going yesterday with some high school friends. My mind was running a mile a minute because of all the things happening in my life, and I was also talking so much, trying to keep certain emotions at bay and not wanting to think of how I would react when I finally see our friend who lost his sister. A little while later, we entered the place to pay our respects, and the moment I saw her coffin, lined with her photos and flowers and finally, when I peeked to see her, I couldn’t help but cry. I hardly knew her, and I was only close to her brother during freshmen year…but seeing her — so young, so accomplished, someone who had a very bright future ahead of her — inside a wooden box, dead because of a very unforgiving disease…it’s just surreal.

It was like I was staring at my own mortality. Back then, I only hear of cancer from people who are aging, from people on TV. It wasn’t a possibility for me or any of my friends before — we’re too young and the world’s so big and there’s so many things to do for us to suffer from a disease like that. But seeing someone even younger than me pass away, not even getting to experience how it is to be outside of school…to imagine someone like her going through chemotherapy treatments…it doesn’t feel right. It’s so unfair.

Cliche as this may sound, but being at the funeral last night made me realize yet again how fragile life really is. I’ve always believed that when it’s your time to go, it is your time to go, but it never hit me smack in the face as it did last night. It made me think of how I — or anyone of my loved ones — could just go anytime. How one person could be there at one moment and gone the next. How God can just take anyone of me away when He says its my time to go.

That made me wonder — what am I doing? Is everything I am doing even important? At the end of it all, would what I am doing right now even count? When it’s my time, will what I am doing right now be even worth it? All these things that are bothering me, are they even supposed to matter? What am I living for? Am I living for the world, for now, or am I living in the light of eternity?

So many questions and so many thoughts that, interestingly, gave me a fresh perspective of everything that’s bothering me in my life right now. I keep on complaining on what I am going through right now when what I’m complaining about is just a small thing — even smaller than the usual furniture catalog! Why am I even wasting my time and energy on things that are so petty, when I could use that time to be a better and more loving person? Why am I worrying over something so small, when there are so many more people worrying about things even I can’t grasp?

I guess if there’s something that could really silence people, it would be death, just like what it did to me last night. I can’t say I’m not afraid of death, but being in its presence last night made me remember that life is short compared to eternity, and I must remember where I am, where I am from, where my real home is. Most importantly, I must remember whose I am and what I am living for. Because really, at the end of it all, it’s going to be between me and God.

Last Forever

Some of my friends have been doing this, and I thought I’d do it too to bring some interactivity into this blog. Let’s see if some people would actually answer. :P

Today’s question is insipired by this PostSecret image:


In case you can’t see it, the card says: If I could make this last forever, I would.

So, the question is: If there’s one thing you’d want to last forever, what would it be?

Yes, I am throwing deep questions on the first time I’m doing this. :P But hey, it’s a valid question. :)

My answer:  The easiest answer would probably be I’d wish for all the happy moments to last forever — those days when everthing seemed perfect, like the Switchfoot day, or when I get free Hilton Head rentals. But as much as I’d like those to last forever, I guess I wouldn’t too because it would lose its novelty. So maybe…one of the things I’d really like to last forever (but I haven’t experienced in the longest time :( ) is the peace I get after I pray. The refreshed feeling, the one where I feel that whatever happens during the day, be it good or bad, I know that I can conquer it because God’s with me. I know God’s with me still, but I’ve been having a hard time staying “connected”, and if it weren’t for the daily mass the past weeks, I would’ve probably been totally disconnected. I’m still working on this one, and I hope I can finally find a way to be back in tune, because I really, really miss it.

How about you? What would you want to last forever?

Two Years Later, How's that Heart?

It’s been exactly two years since I wrote this entry, which has been one of my most read/viewed posts to date. I’ve received lots of comments on that entry, all of which are inspiring and touched me at one point or another, from people I know to strangers who just found my entry online (which is on the third position when you search for singlehood in Google :P).

So now, two years later…how am I? More importantly, how’s my heart?

Yes, that’s everyone’s favorite question. :>

But seriously now. Here’s me, two years after the entry:

Continue reading Two Years Later, How's that Heart?

Stressed much?

Yes I’m stressed.

The moment I woke up today, I knew I wasn’t in my normal chipper mood. I have been feeling quite lethargic since yesterday and today was just…blah. The only thought that is running through my head is, “I’m so tired.” And believe me, as many things that I do and deal with, I hardly ever say that I am tired. I actually thrive on being busy, because it keeps things so interesting.

But this week has felt like such a chore. There are two ways for me to deal with stress. The ideal way is to be focused and keep moving forward, finishing all the things I have to do in the best time possible. Then there’s the other way, where I squirm out of commitments, where I try to ignore my responsibilities and just try to get away from everything. Thankfully, I’ve been doing the former, but lately it’s been so tempting to do the latter — I just want to disappear and then go back when everything’s over. Preferably done by someone else.


So anyway, I was browsing around a new website I discovered through Sarah, The Boundless Webzine. It’s kind of like Lifeteen, only it caters to people in the college and post-college people. Ah, it’s kind of like Bustedhalo. :D There you go. Anyway, so I was browsing it earlier while eating breakfast in my workstation, and I was looking for articles about faith, about being weary just to refresh myself in some way and I came across an article called Venting and Losing. I read it, and right from the start I knew it was for me. :)) Here’s some parts:

I’ve always been a glass-half-full kind of girl. My friends will tell you I’m quick to look for the bright side of most situations. I’m not a complainer. At least that’s what I like to think.

A couple weeks ago, I found myself in a depressing cycle. It started with my dissatisfaction with a certain relationship. The person was failing to meet my expectations, which disappointed me. That disappointment led to anger, which led to grumpiness.

Feeling the need to “process,” I vented my frustration to my exercise buddy. Although she tried to console me, my venting caused my self-righteousness to rise and made me even grumpier.

Over the next few days, I stewed over the situation and “vented” to several other people. As I griped about my unfair situation, I found myself not only being frustrated with the initial relationship but being critical of others as well. Soon it seemed as if everyone was letting me down.

My dissatisfaction grew until I reached a breaking point. Tearfully, I took it out on a friend who happened to call at the wrong moment. When I hung up the phone, I realized something had gone terribly wrong. Instead of helping my situation, venting had blown it out of proportion…

…My complaints, on the other hand, are trivial: Perceived mistreatment by another person. Less than ideal circumstances in my personal life. Not getting things I believe I deserve. OK, so I may not be wandering in the desert, but these things can still seem unfair…

…Our world is marked by complaint. Complaint against our government. Complaint against the educational system. Complaint against those who bring us food, bag our groceries, let their cell phones go off during movies. Our freedom of speech is the freedom to complain. And we take that freedom very seriously.

A person who doesn’t criticize something is a novelty. He makes you wonder why he’s satisfied. As believers, we have a compelling reason to not complain. We have been shown undeserved grace and given unfathomable riches through Jesus Christ. In light of this, complaining about anything seems — well, silly.

I say I trust an all-powerful, good, loving God, but when that trust is put to the test through less-than-ideal circumstances, I often fail. Instead of acknowledging that God controls the details of my life, I moan and groan about how unacceptable they are. A life where grumbling is absent, however, speaks volumes about a person’s trust in God.

[Read entire article here]

Ouch! How about that. But thank You, Lord. You always know where to hit me.

I’m still tired, yes, and I still feel stressed and somehow I feel like I’m going to spontaneously combust (thanks Yam for the term) anytime…but I’m going to do my best to follow Philippians 2:14-15 : “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.

By God’s grace, God and I will go through this. :) One of my favorite Bible verses back in high school, during my stressful times was: “I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13). This is even better than any venting session or the best diet pill or even the new Starbucks Dark Mocha Frappuccino (which I really, really love). I will hold onto this, and to the promise that God is with me every step of the way. :) Great adventure!

Are you stressed? :)

Some Life Updates

A lot has been happening in my life lately, most especially at work. Here are the things that has happened, which I’ve tried my best to put in order:

  • Hillsong United in Manila
  • Grace’s last day (Which I have yet to post about…but for now, I miss you dear!)
  • Battling sore throat and colds so I won’t get sick (Orofar-L for the win!)
  • Celebration dinner at Italianni’s with a whopping bill (as in!)
  • More news which I really don’t want to talk about yet. :|
  • Meeting up with Street Team friends for World Pyro Olympics and bonding until midnight with my best friend who I haven’t seen for the loooongest time
  • Shopping with my mom and seeing our new (but bare) condo.
  • Getting a Sun SIM card and a phone due to popular demand (especially the Street Team. Hah).
  • Work annoyances which I don’t know if I should talk about here.

In fairness, I’m not really busy right now, which is kind of unusual. I still have some email blasts to do for the club, plus the normal work. I am ashamed to admit that I’ve snapped one too many times at work. :( Some things I realized about myself though:

  • I don’t look stressed, but my stress comes out in bursts of anger. And I believe I’m not yet done having short tempers. :( Ack, I’m so sorry.
  • Changes are really unnerving. I know it’s normal and all, but still, it’s hard when people decide to leave all of a sudden. Their changes vary, of course, and I can’t blame them for choosing that way. It’s just hard when the people around you who make you happy aren’t happy with what they have or where they are. Or are forced to choose other things over you. I know it’s very selfish to only think of what makes me happy, so I try my best to understand. It’s just hard and uncomfortable and sad, mostly on my side. Hay. How I wish adjusting to change and my feelings could be changed as quickly as car parts, but no. Life isn’t like that.
  • I miss hearing mass everyday, like the way I did in college. I’m glad that God has given me the chance to revive that; even if I am doing it for a specific intention. I’m thinking of still going to mass everyday, no matter what the outcome of the Sydney waiting game is.
  • I am truly a work in progress, as I find myself coming face to face with some old challenges (as if God is giving me another chance to really apply what I’ve learned) and some new challenges (where He seems to be asking me to be a better person…and it’s hard :| ).

Life’s good. Not always easy, yes, but as Ayiesha Woods sings, If everyday was an easy day, you’d never be able to say that Jesus brought you through. Amen. God is good, no matter how hard life can be.

And now I am off to mass. :) Have a great Tuesday everyone.

Altar Boyz will alter your mind

Rating: [rate 5]

Altar Boyz

It’s no secret: I am a Christian, and I am a boyband fan. I am a self-confessed Backstreet Boys fan (sorry Julie, N Sync is just second on my list ^^), and I have spent some years of my life collecting stuff about them, playing their albums nonstop, crushing on Nick Carter, and even writing stories about them. I used to watch MTV all day just to catch their videos, even if I’ve watched that a million times before. I’ve moved on from that, but every now and then I still love singing boyband songs because they’re such great stress relievers.

So the moment I heard about Altar Boyz, a musical about a Christian boyband from Julie, I knew I just had to watch it. I am all for Christian rock/alternative (hello Switchfoot!), but I still have my boyband roots, and combining the two would just be fun.

And it was AWESOME.

Continue reading Altar Boyz will alter your mind


This week has got to be the most book-filled week. I think I finished four books this week, and not all of them were short. Wow. Talk about enthusiastic reading.

But that is what happens to me when I take away one thing that has become more or less an essential to me every night and day – my computer and the Internet (okay, so they’re two things). And although I have successfully avoided them last year (I don’t know how I did that, really), this year proved to be a bit more difficult. Not only in this particular fast, but also in the other fast. Let’s see how I fared this Lent:

  • The first fast I told myself I’d be doing this year was the 40 days of prayer and fasting…which I failed miserably. Last year I did the seven days of prayer and fasting, which I was kind of successful in doing. This year was just…hard. Every Friday of the fast, I’d end up eating too much. I didn’t even mentally prepare for the fast. And come Holy Week, I had it in my mind to really fast…but then the Holy Week started with my birthday! Ack.
  • The next, which was what I mentioned earlier, was the no computer and Internet fast. I almost made it…but not without me going online for an hour each on Thursday and Friday, and finally breaking the fast yesterday. How about that for conviction. :( I bet even taking away my laptop wouldn’t help; I probably would’ve just stolen some online time from my dad’s or from some laptop rental out there. :(
  • And to top it all off, I didn’t get to confess this Lent. :(

So conviction and fasting wise, I had a pretty crummy Lent. I did manage to stay away from meat every Friday…but it doesn’t feel like it’s a worthy offering, you know?

I’m sorry Lord.

I know I shouldn’t be too hard on myself with that, but I just feel like I took away some of the gifts that I planned to give to someone special. Or that I broke a promise to someone and although he says it’s okay, I can’t help but feel guilty.

Or like Peter, who promised that he would never turn his back on Jesus, but denied Him not once, but three times, a few hours later. How’s that for conviction.

There’s one book I’ve always loved reading and going back to especially during Holy Week: Max Lucado’s No Wonder They Called Him the Savior. Here’s the particular part that always makes my eyes fill with tears:

Look in Mark, chapter 16. Read the first five verses about the women’s surprise when they find the stone moved to the side. Then feast on that beautiful phrase spoken by the angel, “He is not here, he is risen,” but don’t pause for too long. Go a bit further…the verse reads like this: … “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee.”

…If I might paraphrase the words, “Don’t stay here, go tell the disciples,” a pause, then a smile, “and especially Peter, that he is going before you to Galilee.”

What a line. It’s as if all of heaven had watched Peter fall — and it’s as if all of heaven wanted to help him back up again. “Be sure to tell Peter that he’s not left out. Tell him that one failure doesn’t make a flop.”

pp 93-94, No Wonder They Called Him the Savior by Max Lucado

St. Peter is one of my favorite saints (together with St. Paul). His stubbornness (“No, you won’t wash my feet!”) and his short temper (he cut off an ear!) were definitely his flaws, but I can’t get over his intense devotion that made him say those words, “Even though all the others fall away, I will not.” (Mark 14:29) I’d like to believe that Jesus gave him a rueful smile before he foretold of his denial, to which Peter stubbornly insisted, “Though I have to die with you, I will never deny you.” (Mark 14:31)

I see myself in that moment, especially in the past Lent. As much as I’d like to be John, who stuck by Jesus’ side all through out, I think I was more of Peter, who promised such and such to Jesus, but didn’t follow through. And I knew Jesus knew that would happen to me this year, just like He knew Peter would deny him.

I’m not saying that what I failed to do in the last few weeks was excusable, that I shouldn’t do it again next time since I failed this year and still God loves me anyway. I’m not saying that I shouldn’t bother to fast or confess next time. That’s not the point. The thing is, even in my lack of faith, in my lack of willpower, God still grants me the grace and forgives me. Jesus knows that this would happen, and yet He forgives me. And although I know God appreciates that I promise to try harder next time, He’s asking me to accept the grace He is offering. Because He wants me — as in the WHOLE me — more than He wants any of my sacrifices, just as how He wanted Peter more than His promise of sticking by Him. :)

It sounds a bit absurd in some ways, I know, but what’s faith if you’re certain about everything?

As we start on this Easter season today, I leave you with a quote I got from one of the books I finished reading this weekend:

Easter cannot exist for you and for me without a deep willingness to embrace the mystery of love at its most fundamental: he who was dead now lives; I who was lost am found. I don’t ever pretend to understand that. Even that willingness is a gift…His death paid for my sin; his Resurrection opened the door for me to new life.
– p. 264, May Crowning, Mass and Merton: 50 Reasons I Love Being Catholic by Liz Kelly

Happy Easter, everyone. :)