The Takeaways: The War, The Surrender and Everything in Between

What if your life is crumbling down before your eyes? What if all you know is starting to look like a lie? What if being in control brings more trouble than surrendering?

Finally, I’m done reading War Room. It’s been 3 months since I’ve started opening it and tried to read. But unfortunately, haven’t read it continuously because I’m too busy reading other books.

Only this February, I picked it up again from my bookshelf and read it. And this time, with the intention of finishing. And boom… this book hits home… and it hits home hard enough to make me fall on my knees and surrender.


WAR ROOM TAKEAWAYS:

  • You cannot win a battle on your own.

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  • There is no sense on fighting a battle that has been already won by God.

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  • Praying is not a matter of God granting a wish, but it is more of aligning your heart desires to His plan.
  • Stop taking control. Stop doing it on your own. Let Him do driving.
  • So much God can do to your life, allow Him to work with your heart.

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  • Praying is the best battle plan to defeat the enemy.

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  • Trust God.
  • Praying for other people is liberating.

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to be continued…

Why does it is easy for us to assume the worst in a person?

Why does it is easy for us to assume the worst in a person?

Psychologically speaking, humans are naturally negative thinkers. Social psychologists say our mind is built to look for negative information. We tend to see the glass half empty.

It is also true on how we deal with other people. We assume the worst in a person, most especially the first time they disappointed us. One single moment of disappointment and it get stuck in our minds for a long time. Then, we generalize people. We tend to see everyone also disappointing us. The cycle goes on; we meet other people, only to end up thinking about their negative traits or their worst parts or their bad habits. In the end, we are unconsciously building a nation of hate towards people.

However, staying this way is a choice. We can either be comfortable with the negativity but we can also choose to start the positive. However, staying positive is an effort, a conscious effort; because as I’ve said earlier, our minds our wired to see the negatives of this world.

What if next time, even though people close to us keep on failing us, we choose to look for their best qualities? What if next time, before assuming the worst in a person, we see them as a human being, prone to faulty decision and screwed up life, yet, still has caring and humane heart? What if next time, we see the glass half-empty, instead of dwelling on its emptiness, we get a pitcher of water and fill it up, so that it may be full again?

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What Does It Take to Start Over Again

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Do we need a certain amount of courage to establish ourselves to move on? Or do we need just a little and start from there? Do we need to fully trust our vision? Or to trust it partly and wait for signs that what we are doing is right? Do we need to achieve a level of faith? Or a small faith would do?

“No, you cannot quit…” “No you cannot start over again because you only have one life, don’t waste it…” Books, movies, songs told me that. “Stay where you are, make that happen, you cannot reroute and start over again, you have wasted so much time…” And sometimes, I also hear my brain giving this pep talk to myself.

All our life, we are taught not to give up, to continue even how painful it is to continue. Because giving up is only for the weak, the coward and the light-hearted. No, we cannot give up because we only have one life to live, wasting time is not an option. If you have invested so much time on something, you should continue it even though your mind is telling you otherwise. Just because, you call yourself courageous.

But real courage lies in knowing the right thing to do; walking in faith without foreseeing the future; believing not on yourself but on Someone bigger than you; knowing that Someone bigger than you gives millions of chances, that it is okay to give up and start over again even how much you invested on that one thing you are not giving up on.

It is okay not to pursue your graduate course. It is okay not to finish a sentence. It is okay not to hold on to people that hurts you even though you love them so much. It is okay to let go of your plans that are not working out even how much you invested your time on it. It is okay to let go of your lifelong dream. It is okay to lose grip on what you are supposed to be doing. It is okay to give up. But also in giving up is a chance to start over again. It is okay to start over again; to pursue what God’s want you to do, to hold on to your life, to walk in faith with Him. You can start over and over again.

Yes, we only have on life and we should not waste it. Do you want to spend your one life continuing what you thought you want knowing that God has given you so much more?

So what does it take to start over again?

No it is not about huge amount of courage. It is more of one pinch of courage and whole lot of God.

Starting Over Again

*Disclaimer: the following thoughts are not cohesively written.  So please bear with me.

Slipping away. I have slipped away. Feeling guilty of how I became too comfortable with silence; how no voice can penetrate my self-loathe; how I see life as black-and-white.

The past months have been a great struggle, looking for other ways to make my life purposeful, forgetting that my life, our life is in purpose when we are walking to the Light, not from it.

One morning, I wake up from a boiling water… where I am? How did my life turn this way? From His silence (or  more of my deaf ears), I heard Him (more of I read it but that’s the same in a sense). I heard Him say “START AGAIN.” And I am dumbfounded, not because I am shocked by the revelation but more of I am now beginning to understand what He is trying to say all along.

START AGAIN

Remember Paul? Before being Paul, he was Saul, killing Christians, or those who dare to follow the path of Jesus Christ. But then, Paul was renewed and started to believe in Jesus.
God gave Paul the chance to start again a new life with Him. And the story of Paul, along with the many stories in the Bible, is a proof that our God is the God of second chances (third/millionth).

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He wants me to start again. He never gives up on me (because If I were Him I would be giving up on me now). He has given me another chance after chance to see His unfailing love. He never gets tired in making me understand that He is the God of second chances that even though I slipped away again and again, he will never let my hand lose its grip, because in the first place, His hands are the ones holding me tight.


My thoughts have been incoherent these past few months, but I hope you get what I am trying to say. I am just amazed by His unfailing love. So amazed that I wanted it to share to the whole wide world but I seem to fail on delineating it cohesively.

-Yien-

The Year of Realizing Things

Hello there! Before I start this long mumbling and rumbling about the year that is about to end, let me just share to you this:

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So going back…………

2016 has been a very challenging year, not only in personal aspect but most likely, to any level and aspect imaginable by human mind.

I started this year in high hopes, listing down faith goals which I wanted to accomplish this year. There you have health goals, writing gigs, new house, camera, attend Church service, salvation of people close to my heart, art opportunities, Psychometrician board exam goals, and to grow spiritually. However, the problem with these goals is not that it is unattainable, but, I don’t have the faintest idea where to start. It is as if, I wanted an apple fall down in my lap in an instant without putting an effort in getting it. As we all know, that is not the case about life.

We need to do something, in order to get what we want.

And also, there you have the external and internal battles I need to brave, those uncontrollable happenings, those roadblocks, those feelings of insecurities and doubts.

Yet, there are those things that I have accomplished that are not part of my conceived plan. And that pal, is the most wonderful thing about this year.

As Spotify put it, this year has been the year of realizing things.

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2016

  1. Discovered the art of lettering.

Going back to February 14 of this year, I feel down about my art skills. I know I am not that good at arts. I mean, I am decent in terms of sketching and drawing but not that outstandingly great. So my frustration grew, I promised to myself to never again choose to believe that I will be great in arts. I bid goodbye to my first love.

But March 3 of this year, my friend introduced me to this art called lettering. And because of my love of arts, I cannot help but to fall in love to this new kind of art. And that my friend, is the short-lived break-up of me and arts. And now, my love for arts grew more than before.

  1. Rekindled my love for crafts.

You see, I love crafts, I still remember my late night project-making when I was in High School designing my notebooks and take home projects. But of course, college came and I don’t have any choice but to bury the crafter in me and raise the technical person in me.

But then, because of the rise of handcrafted stuff today, I joined the bandwagon (even though I hate bandwagon) and voila, the creative in me dances in the tune of crafts.

  1. Founded Your ArtsyCraftsy Companion

So here, due to my love-hate relationship with my day job, I came to believe that I should better get a side-hustle. With the help of my hobby of scrolling down Facebook, I stumbled upon the life-changing blog of all times, Arriane Serafico’s blog. There you have those posts about productivity, creativity, braving the freelance world, brainstorming side-hustles and FREE COURSES!!! Her blog inspired me to be passionately involved on being creative in a world full of monochromatic.

So I took a brave step forward, I ask people close to me if it is okay to be a support group with my ArtsyCraftsy idea. And not to my surprise, they said yes. And that is the beginning of Your ArtsyCraftsy Companion. (Shout out to Angel, Jed and Monique!).

Right now, I had my first paying client, she ordered 13 personalized notebooks, as in I did everything from scratch. The experience is humbling and as well as invigorating. More art projects to come.

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  1. Finally I gained weight!

Yes, I gained weight! I know most of you will cringe if you find out that you gained weight, but not for me. I am delighted to gain 2 extra kilograms. As all the people who knew me, I am a thin 25-year old lady, underweight it is. My metabolism is so fast. And I am tired of hearing people telling me to eat more because seriously, I eat more than you can imagine me eating. Follow me on my journey to 50 kilograms (no pun intended).

  1. The Purposeful Personal Branding

Earlier, I told you how Arriane Serafico’s blog helped me on my way to being a productive creative. She helped me a lot (which reminds me to email her about how she changed my life). Right now, I am undergoing a paid course of hers, The Purposeful Personal Branding. This course helped me in understanding myself and my journey to being creative. It helped me to understand my brand, my niche, my strengths, what works and not work.

And thanks to this course, number 3 would not be possible if it wasn’t for this.

  1. Lastly (I know I have more highlights than this, but as of writing I have 792 words now so better cut it short), NEW HOUSE!

So if you are a reader of my blog from the start, you will know that one of my faith goals as I started blogging is to have a new home. And this faith goal is 4 years in the making. At first, I thought God forget my prayer or He just doesn’t like my family to move away from our past house, but I stand corrected. Everything is in His season. Everything is in His plans.

Hey self! Please don’t doubt again the power of God’s faithfulness to His beloved.


So there are good (or even best) things happened this year that is not part of MY PLAN. But who cares about my plan. God is faithful!

However, of course, we shouldn’t expect a year full of rainbows because there are always rains and that is okay.

LOWLIGHTS OF 2016

  1. Mom had an accident.

Remember what I said earlier, those uncontrollable situations, so here is one of a good example of that. My mom had an accident but she is okay now, alive and kicking.

This is one of those moments of rain I am talking about. That time when my mom had been injured because of the accident was the moment I am rekindling my *art skills.* But that season was not the time to be selfish about my time.

  1. My first ever niece died.

I didn’t understand the feeling of mourning but now I did. It was fast. One day she was born and the next day she’s grasping for dear life and a week after she died.

To tell you honestly, this was the moment I stopped reading the Bible and hearing all those repetitive clichés about God. For me, he must have been deaf that time. But again, I don’t know what to do without Him. So I don’t have any choice but to trust in Him because who can I trust in this fleeting world?

  1. Budgeting

I somewhat started of this year having a budget in mind, but because of those uncontrollable things that had happened this year, I begin to drift away.

  1. Procrastination

Haha. This is controllable but sometimes all I wanted is to sleep or look at the ceiling for hours. Procrastination leads me to less books read this year, didn’t finish daily devotional, not having to read the Bible for weeks, less socializing (which I badly needed at this point of my life). I could be angry at Facebook because it is the cause of all my procrastination but as I always say…

we are our choices.

Yet, all these lowlights bring me a lesson to be learned. I am glad for these lowlights, for if it didn’t happen, I would not see another aspect of human lives and faith.

This year I learned that….

To see beauty, you must create it.

To be happy, you must create it.

To have what you want, you must at least try to get it.

Faith without action is not faith at all.

To believe is to see.

Trusting the process is painful but worth it.

Being grateful is the way to purposeful life.

We should not be afraid to start over again, because by starting over you will learn the value of what you are doing.

Our day job will not satisfy our inner being, it is more of what we do outside of work can fulfill our hungry souls. Do side-hustles. Be passionately in love with your goals.

At the end of these all, when we fail or succeed… make sure that what you are doing translates to God’s unfailing love.


Happy Holidays to all!

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Fake It ‘Til You Make It

Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the situation at hand? But realized that you have no choice but to fake confidence, or fake a smile, or fake a nod, or fake a reaction.

Fake that you are a good writer, until you are one!

Fake that you are an expert in calligraphy (even you know you are far from good), until you become one!

Fake that you are a crafter, until you are one!

Fake it until you make it!

Sometimes, you need to lie to yourself in order for you to be confident of what you are doing. You need to tell yourself that you are good at something for you to be able to do it, to make it. You need to trick your mind, mind over matter, they said.

It is not a matter of being an expert on something that makes you an expert. Most of the time, it is a matter of how much you want to learn about it and do something about it. The more you fake it, the more you self-study, the more you explore. Because, at the end, after all this fake confidence, you will realize that you will no longer faking it, but you are actually excelling on it.

So if you are passionate about some thing, always bear in mind that everything is a process. It is okay if you are  not so good in crafts (or in whatever you are passionate about) because you are still in the process of faking ’til making it!


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The Cowardly Lion

It is not enough to have the right talent and the right tools. Most of the time, it all boils down to timing and how badly you want it to have it.

How badly you want it that you courageously go out to your comfort zone? That fine line between your cowardice and bold goals.

How badly you want it that you can risk every known familiarity? That fine line between your cowardice and the unknown.

Many have died believing their talents are enough. But it is not. It is deeper. It is the courage from within. The courage to believe, to start, to fail and to start again.


Inspired by The Cowardly Lion of  Oz Series

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Borrowed Time


“Life is short.” I have heard this cliché many times; so many times that I have never imagined that it will hit home and it will hit home hard enough; so many times that I have never imagined that it would be literal as 6 days, 14 hours and 55 minutes of living.

It is already 9 days after my niece died (as of writing), but I still couldn’t comprehend how and why this little baby girl, innocent and full of potential, should suffer and feel the pain even adults couldn’t bear. Why in her young age, she should undergo angioplasty? How her young body could bear all the pain?

Life is very short for this young little girl. She hadn’t seen the world. From the day she was born, she was taken to the heart center for operation. 6 days in the ICU.  She didn’t see her mother; her mother didn’t have the chance to hug her.  September 21 was her first breath. September 28 was her last.

In times like this, I want to tell every person I meet that life is short; that they should not spend it YOLO-ing but instead make out of most of their time loving and caring for people; that they should not be selfish to flick a cigarette while others are dying from lack of oxygen; that they should learn to value their health; that time is of essence; your time spent more to one thing is a time you spent less to another; that life is too fragile to break it.

Seeing my niece (7 days old) inside the coffin was heart-breaking. It is as if imagining how she suffered greatly, how much pain she endured. I would like to ask God, not to whine, but to have a conversation, just to know His plans, just to know what’s going on in His mind, to be assured that this little angel is safe and sound to His loving arms.

“A man’s days are numbered. You know the number of his months. He cannot live longer than the time You have set. So now look away from him that he may rest, until he has lived the time set for him like a man paid to work.” – Job 14:15

Yien 10.07.16

Everyday – different, shifting and free

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I still have to comprehend life (and death). I still have to organize my thoughts as they are racing in my mind. I still need to evaluate every emotions. Nothing is sinking in. Nothing makes sense. Does life make sense? Does it need to make sense? Or should I leave everything in oblivion? Leave it as unfathomable? Leave it as a case indifferent from others?

Right now, what I am sure of, life is like the sky: everyday – different, shifting and free.



“Don’t let go too soon, but don’t hold on too long.”
Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie


“There will come a time when all of us are dead. All of us. There will come a time when there are no human beings remaining to remember that anyone ever existed or that our species ever did anything. There will be no one left to remember Aristotle or Cleopatra, let alone you. Everything that we did and built and wrote and thought and discovered will be forgotten and all of this will have been for naught. Maybe that time is coming soon and maybe it is millions of years away, but even if we survive the collapse of our sun, we will not survive forever. There was time before organisms experienced consciousness, and there will be time after. And if the inevitability of human oblivion worries you, I encourage you to ignore it. God knows that’s what everyone else does.”
John Green, The Fault in Our Stars


“Every loss leaves a hole in your heart.”
Mitch Albom, The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto: A Novel


“There should be a statute of limitation on grief. A rulebook that says it is all right to wake up crying, but only for a month. That after 42 days you will no longer turn with your heart racing, certain you have heard her call out your name. That there will be no fine imposed if you feel the need to clean out her desk; take down her artwork from the refrigerator; turn over a school portrait as you pass – if only because it cuts you fresh again to see it. That it’s okay to measure the time she has been gone, the way we once measured her birthdays.”
Jodi Picoult, My Sister’s Keeper


“Death doesn’t just take someone, it misses someone else, and in the small distance between being taken and being missed, lives are changed.”
Mitch Albom, The Five People You Meet in Heaven


“The truth is, once you learn how to die, you learn how to live.”
Mitch Albom, Tuesdays with Morrie


“It is only with practice what we learn to say goodbye.”
Martin Davies, The Unicorn Road


“When someone is in your heart, they’re never truly gone. They can come back to you, even at unlikely times.”
Mitch Albom, For One More Day


“It’s cruel that I got to spend so much time with James and Lily, and you so little. But know this; the ones that love us never really leave us.”

— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


“The dream is ended- this is the morning.”
C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle



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Choice

Everything in life is a series of choice. Whatever, whoever we are is the sum of the choices we’ve made.

This is not really a new realization but sometimes I need to remind myself that life is like that. We are our choices.