Love Hype II (14 February 2017)

Did you go out on Valentine’s Day?

Because I DID! It was really crazy. I had to commute for 1 hour and 30 minutes on a non-rush hour (2:30PM) with a distance of less than 4km and everywhere was already traffic.

I really couldn’t care less at all about Valentine’s until I had to leave my house and meet up for our weekly book club meeting.

Despite that, I enjoyed my so-called alone time in CBTL. Well, uhm, who am I kidding? I love having an alone time with good coffee.

Anyway, the day started with me receiving a box of fancy cookies, a rose, and a bar of milk chocolate from my thoughtful parents. They’ve been doing this for 3 years. What made them do it? I wouldn’t even know, but it’s nice to at least get one thing on a day that celebrates all kinds of love.

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This is me starting on books I haven’t read for 2 years now.

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This is also the Feminist Book Club, that makes me look forward to Tuesdays. I really don’t like speaking up, I’m more of a writer and I write things, well, privately, on my notebooks and that has been the way I am since forever. It’s different now, I get to exercise speaking and I do have people who are listening to me.

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Photo grabbed from Marika
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Photo grabbed from Marika/Jamie
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The book that I got from the exchange! Thank you, Janine!

I gave Alice Walker’s The Secret of Possessing Joy and I got Marley & Me by John Grogan, which was the one that I didn’t expect during the meeting.

Anyway, to end this entry, I’d like to say that I had a great night and I wish that everyone had the same amount of fun.

Love,

Dana A.

Love Hype I (13 February 2017)

The love hype is everywhere and in everyone. Suddenly, it has become an another holiday in the Philippines; I wouldn’t be surprised if it becomes a non-working holiday soon. Filipinos love talking about love, and it’s universal that we all love to be loved and to love. This is the time when people all over the world will be spending money (actually, I saw the ATMs in Alabang earlier and men already formed a long line in front of it. I guess, it’s the Valentine’s day rush, eh?) on things like chocolates, flowers, and even gifts that they don’t need, some will use this opportunity to travel around and experience the great outdoors. I wish I could’ve done something different too; after all, it is a holiday.

But instead, this is how I spent the Valentine’s Day Eve:

  • I woke up at 11:58AM.
  • Thought about what I should do while listening to random worship music.
  • Reheated my mother’s Pot Roast and Hainanese Chicken for lunch at 1:30.
  • Played sims until 4:10PM
  • Waited for my dad to go off to work until 5:00PM.
  • Finally had the courage to take a cold bath at 5:15PM
  • Did my make up for my solo date with my books until 5:58PM
  • Reached Starbucks at around 6:30PM
  • Had my devo until 8PM

 

  • Read this book about Feminism and Theology (I had this book since 2014. I didn’t have the time to finish it. Now, I got plenty to finish all my books for pleasure.)

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  • Bought notebooks from the Common Room stalls in Alabang Town Center, which will be up only until tomorrow! They have wonderful finds.

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  • Talked to a friend until 1:00AM.

I don’t really feel lonely at all this Valentine’s day and that’s a big improvement. All these years of being single in my teens (except my 20th) made me feel like I was unlikeable. Triggered by so many standards, I knew I wouldn’t be taken seriously if I don’t change my appearance. Neither did I know that appearance would only attract people who don’t look on the inside of others.

This is the beauty of God. He sees what is beyond the fading beauty of everyone and He aims to cultivate and transform all of us from glory to glory.

 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 ESV)

This verse didn’t resonate in my heart for such a long time, but now is imbibed in my heart and spirit. My prayer actually involves a lot of transformation and redemption along the way. If only you knew how deep I am in my insecurities, you wouldn’t feel bad about yours; however, God and I still have a long way to go and what matters is the commitment for the refinement of my inner beauty.

I hope that before we get too excited about the love that is about to be poured out by others on us, we become more grateful towards the One who was the first giver of love. The One who doesn’t look at the outward appearance and judges by it, but digs deep into us and learns more about our hearts – which reveals our true self – and is willing to remove all the unnecessary and sinful things hidden in it.

See you at my next entry!

 

Love,

Dana A.

I Joined A Club: The Feminist Book Club

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I just decided to went off incognito after 2 months of being gone or out of reach. Last February 7, 2017 was our first meeting in the Feminist Book Club. The book club was pioneered by one of the most creative women in the Philippines, the lady behind “Woman, Create” and a Lasallian Pride, Marika. You can know more about Woman, Create here.

It’s an honor to be a part of a book club that caters to women with open minds, hearts, and souls just for the sake of uplifting Gender Equality and other issues. Would you believe that despite of our differences and first impressions, the first meeting went on for 2 hours? And if we didn’t have other responsibilities the next day, it could’ve gone for 5 hours more! We just love speaking up for the certain causes that we have in our hearts.

How great and inspiring to see women from different backgrounds, from advertising to stock brokerage, coming together as one for feminism. The book club has an encouraging and inviting aura that will make you love yourself as a woman even right after the meeting and the fact that you’re given a chance to speak up and to be listened to without the fear of being judged really drew us in. It’s rare to have a circle like that.

To be honest, I was there to basically have a book club because I am so in love with books and nobody reads as much as I used to. Having a book club gives me an avenue to talk about the books I liked and I disliked. The Feminism part was a bonus that is way better than some of the novels I loved.

Now, I feel like I’m part of a purpose — of a fight.

The book recommendations from the Tuesday group (or the group I attend) are:

– Milk & Honey by Rupi Kaur
– The Artisan Soul by Erwin Raphael McManus
– We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
– GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoroso
– Against Happiness by Eric G. Wilson
– Born After Midnight by A.W. Tozer
Better Than Jewels by Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio
– A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees by Kenkō
– Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
– The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
– The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials series) by Philip Pullman
– Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster
– Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
– Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Even if it was a secular book club, we have discussed Christianity for quite some time (like I said, we all came from different backgrounds and there was respect,). I personally recommended a Devotional Book written by Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio entitled, Better Than Jewels, for I have been a follower of her for like 3-4 years now and I thought that it fit our topic, which was: a book that encourages you.

Furthermore, I enjoy writing on Better Than Jewels’s “My Response” page. The book actually jumpstarted my year with God. I stopped reading my Bible for a year and I have forgotten how to get to know God through reading His word, but Ms. Rica was such an answered prayer for helping me to start my Bible reading habit again. I will share some of my writings on my Better Than Jewels book soon.

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Photo grabbed Jamie Chung
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Photo grabbed from Jamie Chung

 

So, here I am, looking forward to learning with these women again next Tuesday!

Love,

Dana A.

Travel Story: The Waves & The Good God

Two days ago, I went to a beach in Zambales with two of my friends. One of them had been urging me to go ever since the beginning of their planning, I wasn’t convinced enough to go so I basically kept saying no until I found myself traveling with a grumpy mood.

“What could possibly be nice about exhausting yourself in a long travel?” I thought.

However, it became an experience that I did not regret doing. It was actually fun immersing myself to a different thing for a while.

Our hostel, named The Circle, is actually known to hipsters. I’m not a hipster so I couldn’t care less about the things that go with their interests. The whole place is painted with colors and vandals. Every part of the place has a remnant of the ones who stayed in it. It’s like in every vandal that they made, they’re leaving something that were in their hearts during the travel. It’s beautiful because of the people; they are all accommodating, fast moving, and friendly. Yes, I was never bored in our stay.

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Tourists usually go there for surfing.

Well, the beach isn’t the best beach that I’ve been to but it is beautiful on its own. It is inviting and it will really calm you down.

I usually get terrible anxieties during travels (this is one of the reasons why I don’t like traveling); however, this is, if not, the calmest sea that I’ve ever met. The waves are big but it did not scare me.

As I was reflecting on my life, a sentence came to my mind and it was simple. I know it was from God.

The waves are only big when you are near it.

It is beautiful. It lifted my whole mood during the entire trip.

This year, I’m really overwhelmed with all the happenings in my life. 2016 is rough and I couldn’t stand up on my own for so long. I’ve been needing so much help and I feel like a weak individual who will never recover.

In His faithfulness, love, and protection, He has been through it all with me and for me. When I’m hurt, down, happy, broken, scared, and confused, the Lord is there.

Even though I can see the waves that are trying to eat me alive, I am certain that God goes before me and stops the waves from doing what it wants to do – to completely destroy me.

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Next year would be different. I will try to fix my life and learn more about God. I no longer want to be in this deep pit where I see my life being taken away day by day.

This is only possible through my Jesus Christ, my Lord and Savior.