Hello Hillsong, Finally

January 28th, 2009 § 7

[Backtracked: Oh yay I have posts in my drafts folder, look! Why I didn’t publish this at the time I wrote it, I don’t know. So yeah, here’s something I wrote sometime in November when I was in Sydney. Hee.]

God does have a flair for drama. He paints the Makati skies with a breath-taking sunset just when you start complaining about how awful your boss or your day is. He shows you a 500-peso bill stuck in the backpocket of your jeans, just when you realize that sweldo is still several days away and you don’t have enough lunch money for the week.

And then He answers prayers just when you start thinking that He’s already closed all doors.

In the past four years, I’ve gone through all sorts of phases in this quest — from excitement, anticipation,  and “this is it” moments; to frustration and discouragement; even to the point of giving up.

But hey, Hillsong happened to me last night [November 16, that is]. And if you followed my blogs from day one, you’d know how much this means to me.

How great, how great is our God, indeed.

[Until we meet again, Hills. See ya soon.]

Hillsong Conference 2008 Yay!

May 13th, 2008 § 23

With my new apartment now officially the worst thing that’s ever happened to the history of apartment-hopping (no Globe Visibility signal in my room, landlord’s PLDT connection gone blpht, cable connections not compatible with the TV, not to mention the leak that drown our stuff on the first day but don’t let me rant about that one), I nominate last week as the newest candidate to my worst weeks ever.

But that is, until yesterday, when THIS was delivered to me. Waah. :)

Yup, that’s right. There’s my ticket to one whole week of Hillsong bliss at the Acer Arena, happening on July 7-11 of this year.

But of course, I’m still not even halfway through making it. It’s just that teh boyfriend and I registered for the early-bird promo around November last year, so I’ve been getting all these mails since the start of the year — (1) confirmation letter of my registration and full-payment, (2) support document for my visa application, and (3) just yesterday, the ticket to the Hillsong Nights which comes free to those who registered.

Just the sight of my ticket, and my very own seat (well, at least the seat number), has kept me elated until now. So.. up next, Australian visa application. I just hope my fingerprints starts to cooperate already. Uggh, the fingerprints? That’s another story.

Come to think of it, whatever happens within the next 60 days — I know for sure that in the long run, I can smile and be happy with the fact that I got this far. :)

Missing Dad, Eleven Months Now

February 27th, 2008 § 10

Among the gazillions of memories that my Dad left us with, these two photos are probably the ones that will forever be etched in my head: the black-and-white photo from the last sermon he gave in church, and the color-ed one (with that eternal smile) from a medical-dental mission from way back.

For the past eleven months since Daddy’s death, I’ve gotten so used to seeing these two pictures around — on my Mom’s office wall, in our living room, on a mural in church — that I’d sometimes find myself automatically saying “Hi Daddy, how are you?” everytime I pass through them.

Then again, there are times, such as last Sunday (or NOW), when staring at his pictures would make me cry uncontrollably again. There are just no words to describe how much I miss Daddy. Sometimes it would feel as if the pain of his death is being relieved in my heart over again like it just happened.

I didn’t realize until earlier today that it’s been almost a year already since Dad left to be with the Lord. A lot of things has happened ever since, and there was not a time when I didn’t wonder how different things would have been if he was still around. How I would have made better decisions if I got to have a piece of his wisdom, or how it would have been happier to celebrate special days and victories with him, or how trials would have been easier to bear if I could talk to him, get a piece of his mind, or probably laugh my sorrows away with him.

I guess these are some of the things I will always remember about Daddy. He always had a way of staying calm even though he’s got a gunk of problems to think about. He had this ability to trust God wholly in spite of all the discouragements that this world is made of; and to smile even through trying times.

Smile though your heart is aching, Daddy would often sing — while taking a bath, or while driving, or once when I was so brokenhearted from breaking up with my first boyfriend. I guess he knew that these lines would never fail to bring the smile back on my face. Coincidentally, Daddy also sang portions of this song during his last sermon in church, unaware that it was going to be one of the last memories he’d be leaving us with forever.

The song’s been playing over and over in my head the past few days. It also happened to play on the stereo while Mom and I were in the car the other day, and as tears started falling down my cheeks, Mom sent reassuring smiles my way as if to say that it’s okay to cry.

The irony of this song is, the manner by which it tells you to NOT cry makes you cry EVEN MORE. Pfft.

But I needed it then. And I sure do need it now. Even though it’s making me CRY MORE than SMILE, I’m okay, because there’s something so refreshing about being able to cry things out, while holding on to the simple truth that in this cruel world, God will always give you reasons to smile. And what do you know, hearing Daddy’s faint voice from a distance as if he’s singing the song to me makes the thought even sweeter. His memories shall always live by.

So hey, I’m gona grab some Kleenex now and cry some more. :) Meanwhile, here’s the song — click to play — just in case you need to hear it too. (Lyrics after the jump.)

Smile, whats the use of crying?
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

Smile by Nat King Cole | CLICK

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My Grown-up Christmas List

December 28th, 2007 § 4

So how’s your Christmas? :)

Mine was fast, I almost didn’t notice it. (I mean, I only noticed it now that I’m back in the office like a zombie after the pseudo Christmas break — I swear, I go like, “man that was fast” every now and then). It was different, to say the least, as it was our first Christmas without Dad. Like I said before, there will always be that empty seat, and I will always miss my Dad especially in occasions such as this. There’s a combination of sadness and joy remembering last Christmas, yes, but I’m thankful because I feel as if there’s some sort of a force-field around me this Christmas season, protecting me from any depressive attacks due to excessively missing my Dad, thus making this Christmas tear-less for me. God is good.

Anyway. I know it’s three days too late to be making yet again another Christmas list, but whatdaheck, Christmas happens only once, you can never have enough lists. So even though Christmas has come and gone already, here’s an addition to my beyond-budget Christmas wishlist (which I probably won’t be able to get myself UNTIL next Christmas, haha). Not that I’m complaining, really. I’m happy enough completing my shopping list, and giving away gifts for everyone. There’s much greater joy in that. :)

But of course, beyond the material things, one needs to have wishes that are.. intangible.

So this Christmas, I wish..

..to have a sense of direction, to decipher the road signs being sent my way and take the right turns and course of action without wasting time;

..to have the courage to do what should be done — to get out of my comfort zone if need be, or to have the patience to stay if it’s not yet time to go;

..to have peace of mind even in times when I can’t see what’s at the end of the road;

..to be more trusting and less pessimistic, to talk less and listen more, to plan less and act more;

..to have more time doing the things I love, at my own pace, at my own time.

..to be mindful of the more important things in this life — investments, relationships, family, the people I love, God;

..to be able to support more missionaries, holistic ministries and outreaches, both financially and in prayers;

..to have a fruitful coming year, after all I’ll be turning 25;

..to spend more time with my family.

..to go places.

I’m talking in riddles again, I know. But, well, these are my heart’s desires. I pray God desires these for me too. ;)

As an end to this post, here’s a song that I always love playing even when it’s not December (composed by Kuya Reeve, a dear friend, and sung by Sheila Juan, one of my girlfriends from college), which I post now because December’s almost over, and I don’t want to wait another 12 months before I could have a chance to share it with you guys. Hehe.

Now if I would dedicate this song to anyone, I’d dedicate it to those whose hearts are full of hope. I wish you find joy and love this Christmas in the simplest of things. :) Enjoy the rest of the holidays, everyone! :)

Lyrics after the jump.

[audio:http://past.chasingdreams.net/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/december-dawn.mp3]
December Dawn by Reeve | Download MP3.

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Buhbye July, I'll See You Again Soon

August 2nd, 2007 § 19

The past month flew by in a bliss I almost didn’t notice it (probably because I was too busy floating). But before I say hello to August, let me just say that July has successfully climbed the charts as my, by far, most favorite month of the year. (Or, possibly, of my entire 24 years of existence.)

July came and went, and I’m never the same.

And it made me smile to realize that some of the most important milestones in my life happened in the month of July — coincidence or planned, I wouldn’t know for sure. But I always believe in God being mindful of the details and timelines in our lives, and how they mesh together with everyone else’s. So yeah, perhaps He’s got His hand on this after all. :)

It was July last year when my parents allowed me to move out of the house and experience full-blown “adult” independence for the first time. I can still remember how it felt being a spoiled little girl stepping out of her cage, a bit nervous, a bit unsure, a bit too careful, but excited just the same. It has been a year, and what do you know, I can actually say now with conviction that I’ve grown to a large extent, and in a lot of aspects too (sadly, not in height, sorry naman). But still. :P

Apparently, the annual Hillsong Conference happens every July too. And I wouldn’t re-tell my Hillsong dream anymore in detail, and how I feel about it every time July comes by, as I did the previous years. But just a rundown, I had my passport fixed about three years ago because of that Sydney dream, but ever since, something always comes up and stops me from flying to Oz. My passport expires in less than two years. I have 11 months til the next Hillsong Conference. The desire to go there is still here, intensifying each year that passes. Get the picture? :)

I wish Trish can read this now. She would always comment on my Hillsong drama and tell me she’d “see me there in Sydney next year“. She never got tired saying that every year. This year could be the right time to say it again. 11 months. I can wait.

On another note, I usually hate transitioning from one month to another ‘coz to a lot of us it means month-end reports, deadlines, and bills to be paid. I hate to see July go, but I’m excited to tear down another leaf off my calendar because it only means I could be getting closer and closer to The Dream. ;)

Well, bye July, for now. Hello, August, what do you have in store for us?

Love Letter

May 21st, 2007 § 21

Dear Daddy,

Hi! I didn’t cry today! Proud of me? :) Er, except for that one time when Ninong Dave prayed over lunch, and, well, I’m sure you heard his prayer (thanking God for another year, and for all those people He brought into my life, and all the blessings, and well, the rest I won’t blog anymore because they’re un-bloggable and of course you already know them hehe). Did you see how all of us were giggling while we prayed? Was God laughing too when He was listening to us? :D So okay, I cried a bit there. But I don’t think that should even be considered as “crying” because I was just teary-eyed. You saw how I was able to hold the tears back and dry my eyes before everyone else opened theirs? Pretty clever huh. :)

I miss you, Daddy, today most especially. This morning, I woke up and found my mobile blinking with 27 text messages, waiting to be opened. 27, Daddy, 27!! You see how many people remembered? Not counting pa those who texted before I fell sleep the night before, and those who texted and called during the day! I am soo loved. But as I went through the texts and replied to each of them one after the other, I couldn’t help but wish I received a text message from you too. I can imagine it now. It would just be the usual, and you’d still be sending it even though you were just in the other room, or even when you already personally greeted me. It would simply say “hapy bday nak! luv u!“. But it would mean the world to me.

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6 Weird Things & 5 Happy Thoughts

May 19th, 2007 § 13

I’ve been tagged, so I’m hitching a ride in the bandwagon as I try to hit these two blog memes with one stone, este, post.

So okay, I know I’m weird, but do you really have to make me highlight my weirdness by tagging me, Marc? Hehe. And Joni, I know this is long overdue already, but last night I had a grand time counting blessings and thinking about the great things that are happening in my life right now, so hehe, let me do this, late as it may be.

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It's Hap-py-slip!

May 10th, 2007 § 9

Tonight, my friends and I were having our usual talk over coffee (and siopao, and mais con hielo, and whatever finger food was available) with Pastor Dave (who happens to be my Ninong too) and his lovely wife, Ninang Nory. Being about 20 years older than we are, I sometimes feel as if they’re in a constant lookout for ways to “connect” with our generation. And I have to say, as far as the generation gap is concerned, they are pretty much successful bridging it in. They’re definitely the coolest forty*bleep* yearolds in the planet.

There are, however, some bloopers here and there. And here’s the winning moment tonight:

Pastor Dave: “What’s that site you were talking about again..? Uh, pantyhose.com?”

The rest of us, staring at him, confused.

Pastor Dave: “The one with those videos you were all laughing about..?”

And then it dawned on her.

Normi: “Ohhh you mean happyslip.com!!
All: Oooohhhh!!

It was, of course, followed by an endless round of laughter. Pantyhose.com pala ha. :P

I guess there’s still generation gap, after all. :)

The night went on like that. But on top of all the laughter were insightful views about life, and relationships, and faith, and God, and family, and making the right choices, and just about anything under the sun. From as serious as spirituality and Bible doctrines to as trivial as pantyhose.com, er, happyslip.com, we all had our triple dose of self-reflections and realizations (more like reminders) that somehow fueled us up to face the world again.

My happy thoughts for the day: Faith. Friends. Laughter. And love everywhere. I’m stuffed. ♥

Oh, and Ninong Dave, if you’re reading this, it’s hap-py-slip, ok? :)

Happily Ever After

May 6th, 2007 § 3

As if reading old blog posts was not enough, I found myself reading random pages from my old journals too. And then I found this one journal entry I wrote 2 years ago, on May 1, 2005. It was my Mom and Dad’s 31st anniversary then, and apparently, it was a few days after Dad was released from the hospital following his heart surgery.

Thirty one years of being together, whoa. I can only imagine their joy now that their love was able to survive a series of trials, and tears, and fears, and tests. Today was indeed a time to celebrate as their 31-year-old vow — the one which says, “for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health..” — was made real right before their and everyone else’s eyes.

Dad’s heart surgery (and our fear that we could lose him anytime) was surely a part of a plan grand-er than anything we could think of. Perhaps God, the Great Author of love and romance, planned to make this year’s anniversary more memorable, sweeter even.

Someday, if God wills, I’d get to make that vow too.. And if that happens, I shall look back on Mommy and Daddy’s love story, knowing full well that God had been the One writing the script.

Someday, I’ll have my own love story to tell too.

There goes your 21 year old Rhiz. (Eek!) A lot has changed since then, (somewhere along the way I have become somewhat bitter and cynical, haha), but one cannot deny that in a world where breakups and failed marriages and broken families are staple, one still hope for a love story worth telling the grand kids.

Last May 1, no matter how we tried to be happy (coz that’s what Daddy would have wanted) , I know there’s a deep longing in our hearts, wishing that Daddy was still here, and he and Mom were celebrating their anniversary as always.

Mommy and Daddy didn’t take a lot of pictures. The few ones they have, however, will always remind me, us, that in spite of all the differences and obstacles that married couples have to face, fairytales still do happen.


Christmas 2005


Our church’s medical and dental mission, 2006


Lola’s birthday, February 2007


Christmas 2006

Last May 1 would have marked my Mom and Dad’s 33rd year together. They would have continued serving the Lord together, and making a difference in other people’s lives, and growing old with each other. But God has something else in mind, after all, His ways are always higher than ours.

Dad’s death was not the end of their love story. Just as his legacy, their love story lives on too. Now, their 33-year-old vow — that part which says, “for better or worse, til death do us part” — was made real right before our eyes over again.

There goes my Mom and Dad’s happily ever after.

You Came and Stabbed my Teddy Bear

November 2nd, 2006 § 0

I thought of blogging bout this but my frustration got the best of me. So hey, just read his blog. I’m not mourning about it anymore. I realize there must be a bright side to this somewhere. Life is too short to be spent whining. By the way, thanks, Marc, for telling the story for me. ;)

* * *

On another note, I’m not sure if this is the best time to do this. I know I’ve always projected myself to be this tough-chic-slash-hard-core-guitarist-wannabe who doesn’t have a care in the world but, well, so much for an overstatement. I’m coming out in the open.

Confession #1.
I had four straight nights of greasy Burger Mcdo Happy Meals just to get all four Strawberry Shortcake characters the past week. I am such a loser. But I luuuurve them. (Why o why didn’t we have these toys back our time? Pfft.) Right now, the friggin dolls are sitting comfortably on my office desk, hoarding all sorts of (positive and negative) attention. Congrats naman. :P


So hey, meet the gang. Angel Cake, Orange Blossom, Ginger Snap, and Strawberry Shortcake. No touching, please. They’re ALL MINE. Wahaha. :P

Confession #2.
My mom has been feeding me all sorts of cough medications and vitamins the past few days. She’s been texting me, nagging me, and reminding me every so often to take my meds. Lately, however, she’s starting to worry why I still haven’t made it to recovery. What she doesn’t know is, her little spoiled brat of a daughter is feasting on endorphins when the cat is away. So hey, if I die at the age of 24, it’s all my fault. My parents did their best. :P


High on antibiotics.
And double doses of endorphins.
And triple doses of YOU.

Confession #3.
At night, I sleep with a bear. Ohh and I don’t just squish her, I don’t just talk to her. Sometimes, I take her out to shopping and buy her clothes too. And she has a bank account (haha, riiiight). I really intend to keep this one a secret but today is a day of honesty.

So guys, meet Vanie (yes, she’s/it’s a girl, mind you), the absorber of all my stress at the end of the day. She keeps me sane, she makes me laugh. She’s the closest thing I have to a family especially when the roommates are bitching on me (haha).

So imagine my fright when I found my baby in bloodshed on the eve of All Saints Day. Trick or treat??

At this point I’d like to thank my psycho roommates for proving once again how annoyingly sweet they are. You raaaak girlfriends. I’m soooo touched. And because of that I give you loadsful of sour candies, my very own virus, and a filthy dirty room courtesy of yours trully. May you cough all year round. LOL :P

Then again, I know these lovely ladies mean well (??!!). So thanks be to them, for remembering me this All Saints Day. Besides, I had my revenge. Bwahaha. :P

* * *

Ayt, confession’s over. Halloween, All Saints Day, and All Souls Day passed in a blur, I almost didn’t notice it. (*conscience* Coz you’re glued to One Tree Hill almost every chance you get, silly.)

I’ve never really enjoyed Trick or Treats, and Halloween parties, and going to the cemetery whenever this season comes by. This year, just like the past years, my family spent the whole day at home, pigging out. And watching One Tree Hill (I got them hooked too haha). And discussing scary stories and what the Bible says about them. Of course we remembered Lolo, but mostly, we just spent quality time together as a family.

If I had it my way, I’d rather we celebrate Thanksgiving Day whenever November comes (how come Filipinos don’t have Thanksgivings?). You know, have a whole day devoted to thanking God for the blessings, the unexpected people He allowed to come our way, and other beautiful beautiful things. After all, it’s almost the end of the year, and what better way to usher the Christmas season than simply being thankful. After all, God has been so good, and faithful, inspite of us.

Right. I never thought I’d see Novembers this way again–full of faith, and hope, and love. *ngiti hanggang tenga* (Yooonnn. Showbiz!)

Hay. Napagod ako magblog (at ngumiti). Next time ulit. :p

PS. A lot of things are happening over there.

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