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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Be Still

 Quiet and be still, God has already overcome the world. Take heart and have faith!

This pretty sums up the 3 day-yielding-more-to-God’s-presence-mid-year-sesh.

Every mid-year, I reevaluate myself, where I am, how’s my heart, how’s my relationship with God. And to tell you frankly, I think I am not in the right frame of heart.

I was very frustrated with my life… too frustrated in fact. I, for once, did not have some encouraging quotes to tell myself. Even my ever reliable fave verse in the Bible couldn’t encourage me. No Galatians 6:9 or even Joshua 1:9 could even make me leap for joy. Because somewhere in the middle, I felt I am slipping away.

Can I be true for once? One uneventful day in a non-suspicious day, there came to my mind questions that I know I should not be entertaining, I ask myself, “What if I am an atheist?” “What if I do not believe in God?” “What if I just stop believing?” “What if, what if?”

Yet… I still choose to believe because I deeply believe in Him. I believe He created human and all those beautiful things. I believe in Him in such a way I cannot explain.

I still have many doubts. Everyday I read the Bible until I drown into sleeping. Nothing. God was not speaking. My heart has begun to wonder… questions, questions, questions… too many questions.

I was praying to God about many things… As in many: the visions He has for me, if what he told me the past years is ever true and really happening. It is frustrating that nothing is happening, dreams that have not translated yet to reality. I know, Jeremiah 29:11… But still!

Then midyear prayer and reflection came:

Take Heart and Have Faith

1st day of midyear prayer and reflection:  Take heart and have faith. God didn’t give you that particular vision to frustrate you. But to keep you going and learn to YIELD to Him more.

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elle-takeheart.blogspot.com

Quiet and Be Still

2nd day of midyear prayer and reflection: Don’t be afraid just believe. Quiet and be still. With many things distracting you, it is hard to quiet down and be still in His presence. But He commanded you to be quiet and be still for a reason. May be by quieting, you can hear most of His voice, His answers, or even the stories He wants you to hear. You are too afraid to be idle that you forget that His only loving presence will satisfy.

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theodysseyonline.com

He has Overcome the World

3rd day of midyear prayer and reflection: Overcoming the things and battles you thought you’ve already overcome. Remember, God already overcome the world. The only thing you need to do and have is faith with His mighty power and love.

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I am stupefied. For so long, I’ve been waiting for answers to those questions in my heart. And God answered: Quiet and be still! I have overcome the world. Take heart and believe! Only dare to believe and God will surely unfold what’s in store for you.

Trust the process. The process is, most of the time, tedious but it will be worth in the end.

Julienne

Who Would Stand Up with You?

… I want to be her… I want to be like Ruth — bold and courageous.

Sometimes, when all things seem not t0 go according to plan and things shatter in front of your eyes, you want to shout for help as if you are drowning into an 8 feet deep sea. And you will ask, who would take that extra mile to help you? Who wouldn’t give up when you already at the verge of giving up.

I want to know someone like Boaz — kind and called ‘the redeemer.’ I want to know a person who is kind enough to listen and kind enough not to judge. I want to know a physical person who would save me from drowning, who would redeem the complacent me; who would make me believe that I can be courageous, that I can be bold, that I can be like Ruth.


Read: Ruth 3:1-18

Read the first installment of this 4-part series: Would You Stand Up for What You Believe In?

 

 

 

Would You Stand Up for What You Believe In?

Would you stand up for what you believe in? It takes great courage to stand up for what we believe in, in a world full of different kinds of people with different culture, different principles, different faith, different belief system. Some people will find a way to obnoxiously alter our beliefs.

Have you ever been in a situation wherein you just take and swallow what they feed you in order not to create chaos? A situation wherein you become complacent of your belief because of the fear of nonacceptance of the faith you choose to believe?

It is easier to stand up to the people you do not know, a far friend, online colleagues, co-workers. But in a situation where you need to stand firm to the people whom you treasure, that’s the risk.

It is easier to let your co-workers know that you are a Christian than to your mother who is a full-pledged Catholic. It is easier to let the blogosphere know why choose what you choose than to your father who is a non-believer. It is easier to let your friends know that you believe that Jesus is your Savior than to your siblings who believe that their life depends on themselves. It is easier to be rebuked by the people outside your circle. But if your family will rebuke you for the belief you choose, would you still stand up for what you believe in?

Somewhere deep in me, I want to be Ruth — bold and courageous. Bold to stay with her mother-in-law and help her. Courageous to stand up for what she believes in. I want to be her…

…(to be continued)…


“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple.” – Luke 14:26

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13

How Sweet Can a Lie Be?

“You can believe in whatsoever you like, but the truth remains the truth, no matter how sweet the lie may taste.”
Michael Bassey Johnson

Media has been part of our daily lives. Almost everything here on earth (and out of this world) can be seen and heard in social media, television and radio. But have you ever pondered how much of what we see and hear are true? How many are noble in their intention to share? Are we smart enough to differentiate the truth and the lies, instantly delivered to us through media?

Have you ever heard the cliche, “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? We cannot understand a book if we only look at the cover. We understand a book by reading it with comprehension. Likewise, we cannot see the true meaning when we don’t stop for awhile and analyze. Almost everything here on earth is covered, sugar-coated. We cannot delineate the whole truth by only seeing the cover. Even lies are sugarcoated and covered by colorful words, sequined clothes, cool dance steps, instant breakthroughs and melodic songs. Sins are sugarcoated by “the world so-called love, faith and knowledge.”

What I am trying to say is our world is full of sugarcoated sins and lies. And the hard fact is we never realized that we are bombarded by lies. Michael Bassey Johnson was right when he said that the truth will always be the truth, even how sweet a lie may taste. And if I may add, the truth remains the truth even it is not popular. Truth is never popular, lies are.

Have you recently watched a music video of a pop singer (no need to name one) with those “booties twerking”? Or have you heard a song with this beautiful melody and catchy chorus, only to find out it is about alcohol and drugs? Or have you read a Y.A. novel where teenagers had a premarital sex just because they are “in love”? Well, those are popular these days.

No, I am not righteous. I also have watched, read, heard those which I mentioned. The difference is I analyze. I always analyze (most of the time over-analyzed). However, it always left me thinking, how about others, are they analyzing things? Can they differentiate the truth and the lies? I hope… Yes!


-Reflection while I was all by myself at home last August 9.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

-Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

The Question that Never Goes Away

Calamities. Death. Accidents. Pain. Suffering. Why these need to take place? Why do we need to suffer? Why do we need to endure the pain? We are the children of God, aren’t we? Why does he allow things like these to happen most especially to His precious children?

We prayed. We asked. But we didn’t receive. No response. Simply silence. It is as if no one hears our silent prayers even God. We try to shout at the top of our lungs. Maybe this time, He will notice. But nothing. We reason out ourselves. Maybe this is His plan.

We begin to doubt. We start to hate. We find ourselves cursing the God we once believed. Why, God, why? We want to still believe, to have faith, to surrender all to Him. But the long silence only drains all of our strength.

“I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to all.”

-Ecclesiastes 9:11

Calamities happen to all, so as death, accidents, pain and suffering. No one is pain proof, even us Christian. But why? We thought having faith to God will give us abundant eternal life. No way are we experiencing all these suffering.

We cannot fathom the unfathomable. And that’s God. He is the unfathomable. Our fate, even how depressing it might be, is God’s great providence. As man cannot find out what may or may not happen, he needs to use every opportunity with all his might. There are seasons for everyone, casual to men but known to God.

There is no pain, no suffering, no frustration, no disappointment that cannot be cured or taken up and used for higher ends.
~Why? The Question that Never Goes Away by Philip Yancey


At long last, I’ve posted my reflection to Philip Yancey’s book. After 3 months! 🙂

Second Chance

Everybody deserves a second chance.
A second chance in life.
A second chance to live again.
A second chance to feel.
A second chance to do good.
A second chance to laugh.
A second chance to hope.
A second chance to make things right.

The truth is I don’t like to write about second chances. Why? Because it was once a foreign idea to me. An idea which was only read in a book or watched in a movie. An idea which was hard to fully accept.

It was hard for me to give people a second chance when they did wrong. It was hard for me to forgive those who wronged me. It was hard for me to be good to people who once was bad to me.

Swallowing the idea of second chance was not an overnight process. It was never easy. As I write this, I cannot still fathom how I changed my stand about second chances. One thing is for sure though, when I started to have faith in God, slowly everything became clearer.

The stories in the Bible is all about redemption. It is all about second chances… It is not about who did wrong or who did right. The stories in the Bible is all about who are willing to be redeemed. All the great people and prophets in the Old Testament were given second chances. Even they had lapses or they did wrong or even murdered others, God still gave them second chance. In the New Testament, the greatest story of redemption was when Jesus nailed at the cross for our second chance in life. Jesus doing that made me realized that nothing in this world is irredeemable. Nothing is undeserving of forgiveness and second chance.

We are the story of second chance. We are given another day to pursue greatness, to pursue God. This is the day we have to learn to love ourselves. This is the day of forgiveness. This new day is our second chance. What now if we did wrong yesterday? This day is a new day to make things right. Everyday is a chance to do good. Salvation. Redemption. Second chance. What more can we ask for?

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The Wrong Kind of Good People

“We become weary when we do stuff we are not cut out for.

We become weary when we do things to please ourselves and others.”

Doing good

Most of my life, I tend to do extra miles for other people. I give more to people than to myself. Even at the end, my kindness is not reciprocated. I say yes to responsibilities I thought I can to please everyone. People take advantage of my goodness. My younger self would think to revenge but I still end up doing good even how much it irritated me. Those times, I asked God, “God, all my life I’ve been good to people, why is that I still feel lacking, incomplete, doubtful, worried and sad? I thought doing good to other people will make me happy.”

Almost four years ago, I read a verse in the Bible, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up (Galatians 6:9).” It made me realize how wrong I am to think that the kindness I am showing to people will never be reciprocated. Remember: people may disappoint you but not our Father from above.

The wrong kind of good people is those people who depend on people in satisfying their unhappy lives. And I can honestly say, I was one of those people. But now, I learn to focus more on God, more on His power, more on His grace, more on His goodness, more on His love. Because when I started focusing on Him, being good and kind become as simple as 1, 2, 3.

Being good is not easy but yet simple because of God.

Being good is not a seasonal thing.

Being good is not satisfying yourself and others, it is more of the result of God’s love.

Faith, Aspergers and God

The question isn’t How can I have faith? The question is How can I not?!?

His explanation why he believes in God is also my explanation to myself. That we believe Science and Logic, but to discount a higher power for all these things are just illogical to me.

This is a great read. 🙂

Bryan Patterson's Faithworks

A writer with Aspergers talks of faith

I was asked one day, “if you see everything so black and white, how can you believe in God?” My answer dumbfounded the inquiring person : I said “because everything IS black and white, how could I NOT believe in God?”

Yes I live in a literal world. No doubt that I do not work in subtleties. So I can understand asking how can I have faith. Isn’t faith believing in something you can’t see?

To me faith in God as related to Aspergers has three elements: logic, hope and acceptance.

Let me insert my honest disclaimer here before we begin. I am not one of those self-righteous people who thinks I am better than everyone just because of my faith. I am actually quite the sinner. I can cuss a sailor out of the room, I smoke, I am FAR from perfect…

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The Year of Excellence

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness, and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…” – Titus 2:7,8,11,12 (emphasis mine)

How will unbelievers know that we already received the grace of God, if we are not setting an example of what it looks like to be saved and redeemed?

The grace of God brings salvation…

…which means we need to to say NO to any ungodliness (ehem conformity) and world passions.

…which means we need to have self-control, and to be like Jesus (humble, loving and all the good characteristics you may think of).

By setting an example, unbelievers will have nothing to say about us. And if we are blessed enough, those unbelievers may be inspired by our lives and begin to believe.

2015 is the year of EXCELLENCE!

I need to be excellent in all aspects of my life. By this, I may be a living example of God’s grace.

Excellence doesn’t mean being the first but being the best version of yourself.

Excellence doesn’t mean being on top but pleasing God and being humble at the same time.

Excellence is living in God’s grace and believing in the impossible.

May we reflect God's grace with our lives.
May we reflect God’s grace with our lives.

I don’t know if you get it, but I get it. Haha. Monologing again.