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.

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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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.

End-of-Year Resolutions

October 19th, 2006 § 0

Just a thought. Sometimes I wish my bloglife is not as public as it is now. I mean, yes, I’d hoard site traffic anytime. Being exposed to Internet Marketing the whole of this year (and beyond), I think I’ve managed to grasp the idea.. of Google, and search engines, and the internet, and websites, and links, and web blogs, etc, etc.

Then again, I hate it that my blog, so it seems, has also become a subject of unsolicited criticisms. And inasmuch as I want to say JUST LEAVE IF YOU DONT WANT WHAT YOU SEE HERE, I have no choice but to take in comments as they come. After all, each one of us is entitled to his/her own opinion.

Then again, SO AM I (entitled to my own opinion). So, please, please, people, haay, please. Just.. respect. That’s all I ask. I guarantee you, I’m aware of the things I post here, even the words I use. I do not wish or intend to stumble anybody. Yes, even you.

* * *

On to the lighter side of things, this I blog in between piles of articles to proofread at work (coupled with short breaths towards a looming deadline by the end of the week). Gaaah. Petiks Mode used to be a way of life in my previous job. Now, it’s luxury. I’d hoard any chance to get away from my tasks, seriously. BUT it’s not like I’m complaining. This is what I want anyway. To be more productive, to lessen idle moments, to focus on developing my career, blahblah. Haha. Go pep talk. :P

But really now. Take me away from here.
Take me, I’ll come with you. Anywhere.

It’s nearing the end of the year, but just the same, I’m making a set of new years resolutions to salvage whatever’s left of MY 2006. It’s (almost) always never too late for resolutions, after all. Right? Right.

So just because Jasper chose to celebrate his birthday (last night) at some Brazilian resto at Metrowalk that serves a sinful oh-so-sinful menu of about 17 types of meat (eat all you can, mind you); and I’m nearing broke because I’ve maxed out my credit card limit the past three months; and I’ve been overspending on food, fashion, and vanity; and it’s the BER-months already and I haven’t started my Christmas shopping yet; here’s what I resolved to do:

  • Lessen the shopping sprees (case to case basis)
  • Avoid places like St. Francis, boutiques, online shopping sites
  • Lay off on meat for the next few weeks days
  • Manage my finances wisely, FOR STRICT COMPLIANCE
  • Open a savings account and start being a responsible mother to my future kids haha
  • Spend more quality time with my mom and my dad than with the computer (this has a bit to with the credit card hehe)
  • (and this just in) No more tardies from here on ppffttt, I shall do my utmost.

Well, that’s all for now. My brain’s gone home already and is not really in the mood to cooperate.

* * *

And then at the back of my head I start hearing my ever favorite ONE DESIRE by Hillsong. It was soooo hard singing it last Saturday, during the band practice. It breaks my heart to sing the lines, “this is my ONE desire”, “just to be where you are Lord”, “the one thing I ask is to be with You”– when I’m aware that God sees my heart and that He knows full well that it’s a mesh of desires that is apart from Him. *bugtong hinga na malalim abot hanggang dulo ng pacific ocean*

Work in progress, I am.

Then again, all of us are.

Maybe we just have to strive to be more cooperative each day to make the work an easier toll. Maybe this is what life is about.

So let me add that one to my growing list of year-end resolutions.

  • Focus. Focus on things that matter. More so, Focus on Him.

So there. I’m off now. Someone’s waiting.

Quarter-Life Monologues

September 12th, 2006 § 2

I was reunited with an old girl-friend last Sunday, and I learned that she recently broke up with her boyfriend (now ex) after almost a year of ehem, romance. I’ve gotten so tired of hearing about breakups. It’s as if breaking up is the IN-thing, the ultimate solution to life and love’s greatest problems. Heck, there’s a whole movie devoted to it. Suddenly, we have, right before us, a generation that is full of hurt, pain, heartbreaks, and more reasons to reject love.

I lost count of the number of breakups I’ve heard since I experienced one myself. It has become a regular thing. Sometimes it’s no surprise anymore when I hear of another relationship down the drain. Even in this blog, love has become a topic I dare not try to discuss–to dig in. Not anymore. Sometimes I feel like it’s a waste of time. You try to dig into it, and you open up a can of worms–questions, hurts, struggles, etcetera. You ask yourself, and you ask yourself over again.. how come that the one thing–LOVE–that makes your heart flutter like crazy, is the very same thing that will break your heart like shattered glass?

Then, after all the pain, you pick up the pieces of your battered heart and decide to jump blindedly into the pit of love again. Then you become mushygushy and lovestruck and hopeful again. Then you say to yourself, maybe, just maybe, you won’t have to cry THAT WAY again. Maybe, just maybe, this one will last.

It’s an endless, endless, torturous yet magical rollercoasterride (emphasis on “magical”). Don’t say you haven’t been to one.

* * *

I’m serving my last week here. Just one more week and I’m off this company for good. I don’t know why I even bothered to go back, hehe. My name’s off the priority list already so haha, I have nothing to do here anymore, really. Maybe Mommy Reah did not expect me to report to work today. Still, I’m back, coz I duno, maybe I just want to spend a couple of days more with them (Joni, Romz, Karen, Sarah, Mommy, Sir Jo, and the rest) one last time.

Anyway, I just heard of the recent developments in my soon-to-be-former team and suddenly, the place starts to feel like ghost town. It doesn’t feel like home anymore. From an active player in the ball game, I become just one of the spectators, watching my friends (my former workmates) play the game I’ve gotten tired of.

And the place. Hay. The place starts to feel like a waiting room of sorts. Some waiting for a better job offer to come. Other(s) waiting for the effectivity of their resignation. Some just waiting to go home so they can face another day of the same ordeal. Others waiting for a promotion, or an increase.

I’m just glad that for me, the waiting will soon be over. One year and a month. Everything boils down to this final week. I wonder how I’m gona be remembered. Then again, maybe it doesn’t matter.

* * *

Let me just say that I’ve been so sensitive lately. The littlest of things make my heart react violently, my moods swing uncontrollably, and I get depressed at a rate beyond normal. I may just be PMS-ing, my friends would say. Or this may just be another one of those quarter-life syndromes. Does hormonal change really affect emotions? They say it’s normal to be feeling the way I do now. I say, if this is normal, then I don’t want to be normal ever again. It’s tiring to have several shifts of emotion in a span of say, an hour. Sakit sa ulooo!! Oh sanity, where art thou at a time like this??!

Sometimes, I try to pinpoint the cause of my depression, just to pacify myself. It’s funny coz the normal way should be something like this: there’s a reason to be depressed, so you get depressed because of it. But for me, it’s the other way around. I get depressed, so I try to pinpoint reasons why. Haha, I give up. This is too psycho to handle. ROFL. Haha.

For a control freak like me, I become restless whenever I feel depressed and I DON’T KNOW WHY. Jenny and I were talking about it last Saturday. She said she’s been having episodes of depression herself the past few days.

I want to understand WHY!! Why o why do women have to suffer additional amounts of pain when they already have enough load to carry? I want to get to the root of all this and try, in my helplessness, to save the female population from the cruelties that come with coming of age and womanhood (haha, go Gabriella Silang). It’s stressing me out, really. Especially that part where I DON’T KNOW WHY.

It’s easier to be depressed five months ago.. because it’s easier to pinpoint WHY. I broke up, and that’s it. Every other reason branches out from there. It was hard adjusting, I felt unloved, unworthy, un-beautiful. I could cry everynight and it’s okay.. at least I KNEW WHY. But now, it just doesn’t connect. I feel like betraying God, my friends, my family, those who are close to my heart.. because I don’t have a reason to be depressed and yet, I still have these episodes just the same.

Life should be running smoothly for me now. I have a new job to think about, someone cares about me, I have a thriving (uhuhmm!! haha) social life, I’m at the prime of my life and it’s in full swing. So why the drama? Why am I so scared of what lies ahead? I want to know why.

I do know a couple of things. I know it’s beyond PMS. I know that it’s beyond my physical sickness–the one I’ve been trying to cure with medicines and checkups and prayers since last week. For sure it’s beyond this career shift–which I happened to have embraced with eyes wide open. Bottomline is, this is BEYOND ME. I have no control over RAGING HORMONES. I have no control over CHANGE. No control over LOVE. And QUARTER LIFE CRISIS. All of this is beyond me.

Then again, I know, I know. What I can have under control are my THOUGHTS. So maybe, that’s what I should focus on now.

Hi Papa Lord, why is this so hard??! I know I’ve asked forgiveness on this many times over and yet I still fail you in my thoughts. Like I mastered the art of failing or something. See? There goes the pessimism again. Please breathe in Your thoughts in my head instead. Teach me to focus on Your desires, not mine. Please drown me with thoughts of You until my brain’s all filled to the brim and there’s no more room in it for anything (or anybody) else. Maybe, in so doing, I can appreciate your blessings more. My life, my family, my job, my friends, him, your provisions.. all of these are from You. Please let me see them in YOUR eyes.

Ok, ok. I’m done monologue-ing now. Dinner anyone? Pfft, I’m such a schitzo, it’s tiring. c”,)

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