Dear Hannah

Anger is an emotion I’ve had to work on over the years. It’s the emotion that rumbles and bubbles when something unfortunate happens or when I have felt provoked in some way. At first, I thought that feeling anger was terrible and tried to suppress it as much as I could. Eventually that didn’t work because anger can sometimes grow into resentment or arrogance when left unmanaged. Anger prevents empathy from shining the light to a different perspective. If you ask me, I’d rather deal with anger than resentment or arrogance. Better yet, I’d rather repent for self-righteousness and pray for discernment!

Reading about your story amazed me. Not just because of the faithfulness you’ve shown to God’s promise and goodness. I marvelled in the grace and wisdom you expressed when it would have been understandably easy to get angry. 

And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the Lord had closed her womb.

1 Samuel 1:6

Out of the two chapters that told your story, that was the line that stood out the most. A big part of me felt infuriated with Penninah for you. How dare she dig at you like that? Yet there was no follow up verse that talked of your retaliation. Instead, you went to God and prayed in sorrow and poured out your heart’s greatest desires openly without seeking some form of retribution from Penninah’s taunting. And even then, Eli accused you of being drunk! You saw past the jealousy, the sadness Penninah carried.

Nonetheless over time, you’ve shown patience and trust in God that He will deliver you from the disappointment you had been feeling for many years. Unlike your predecessor Sarah, you didn’t take matters into your own hands. You didn’t let time be a factor of the perseverance of your faith. You didn’t let frustration cloud your judgement, rather you’ve repeatedly shown humility. All while God continued to work behind the scenes to make space for miracles. Little did you know that He set you apart to be Samuel’s mother and abundantly gave you more children down the road. Gifts that exceeded your request, and quite possibly your expectations. 

As I continue to grow into becoming a woman of faith, your story is one I intend to remember. Perhaps, one day myself, you and Ruth can go out for a lunch date? Something tells me we’ll have a great conversation! 

Always,

K

P.S. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

To my 23-year old self

Bright eyed, full of hope and possibilities for what the world could be, and how you can be an agent of positive change in that world. Discoveries are endless, internally and all around. At times, opposition and expectations feel like concrete walls that prevent you from doing what you want, who you want to be and where you want to be. A cage that you somehow need to escape. Oh sweet girl, you’ll figure out eventually that’s not always the case.

It feels like forever since I saw you looking back in the mirror. In reality it’s only been almost five years and we still have a lifetime of growing, maturing to do. Every day is a day for change if you let yourself have that luxury. Now, I initially thought of sharing with you insights that may direct you in the path that you are now, but that defeats the purpose of the experience. So instead, here are lyrics to a song that may speak to you in different seasons:

Keep me in the moment by Jeremy Camp

I’ve been thinking ’bout time and where does it go

How can I stop my life from passing me by, I don’t know

I’ve been thinking ’bout family and how it’s going so fast

Will I wake up one morning just wishing that I could go back?

I’ve been thinking ’bout lately, maybe

I can make a change and let you change me

So, with all of my heart this is my prayer

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment

Help me live with my eyes wide open

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

Singing oh Lord, show me what matters

Throw away what I’m chasing after

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (what you have for me)

Keep me in the moment

Oh, keep me in the moment

Keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (oh)

When I wake up in the morning

Lord, search my heart

Don’t let me stray

I just wanna stay where you are

All I got is one shot, one try

One go around in this beautiful life

Nothing is wasted when everything’s placed in your hands

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment

Help me live with my eyes wide open

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (what you have for me)

Singing oh Lord, show me what matters

Throw away what I’m chasing after

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (what you have for me)

Keep me in the moment (keep me in the moment)

Lord keep me in the moment (keep me in the moment)

Keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

I’ve been thinking about heaven

And the promise you hold

So, it’s all eyes on you

Until the day you call me home

Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment

Help me live with my eyes wide open

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

(I don’t wanna miss, I don’t wanna miss)

Singing oh Lord, show me what matters

Throw away what I’m chasing after (oh)

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (yeah)

Keep me in the moment

Oh, keep me in the moment

Keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me

Keep me in the moment (keep me in the moment)

Oh, keep me in the moment (keep me in the moment)

Keep me in the moment

‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me (what you have for me)

Maturity doesn’t just mean having responsibilities [tasks] and dealing with expectations. Maturity is seeing all the possibilities and discerning between the voices in your head to make choices with full acknowledgement of the consequences and the values you are standing on. Maturity is daring to live your life greatly with integrity. 

Always, 

K

P.S. “Now therefore stand still and see this great thing that the Lord will do before your eyes.” 1 Samuel 12:16

Re: When you live life in gratitude

I was in the elevator on my way home from work when I felt a faint yet warm feeling of relief. Shoulders relaxed with a soft smile on my face, all I can think of was how thankful I am to be able to live the life that I do.

I’m not saying that to boast or to insinuate at all that I’m living life as comfortably as Nick Young’s family in Crazy Rich Asians. In fact, I’m far from that. Nonetheless, I still feel incredibly grateful to have a cozy home, food in the fridge, friends I can lean on and the spare change in my bank account after the rent money has been taken out.

You don’t have to live a perfect or lavish life to feel grateful.

Often we think of life as cruel because of the circumstances that life has dealt us. And absolutely, sometimes we go through a period of complete and utter despair. But the brilliant thing about being human is that even though life happens in all of its cruelties there will always be light when we choose to see it. Every hardship we go through comes with a lesson to learn, and more importantly, an element that makes us even more resilient.

When you live life in gratitude, it’s not about just looking at life through an optimistic lens. It’s seeing life for what it is – with all its messiness, stress, anger, uncertainty – and being okay with it. All of it. And doing so not because of complacency or passivity. But because you, as an individual part of a greater whole, are trying your best to be a better person, son/daughter, parent, friend, professional and so on anyway.

None of this is revolutionary. It’s just something that needs to be put out in the world more often.

Always have a grateful heart.

Always,

K

Dear Nanay

img_8797I have a vivid memory of you with plastic pink rollers on your hair while getting ready for bed. My sisters and I were still giggling from the other room, so you stepped out and told us to go to bed before the night monster comes knocking on our door. We rushed to our beds and put the blanket over our heads. I peaked and watched you slowly walk in to your room with a slight smirk on your face…

Thank you for telling us stories about our dad and all sorts of mischief he got himself into growing up. Thank you for taking care of us when we were sick. Thank you for reminding us to do our best while we were still in school. Thank you for sending us birthday cards for as long as you could. Thank you for having patience with us even when we avoided your calls as teenagers. And thank you for being our grandma.

I wanted to dedicate a brief post to my grandma. She passed away peacefully in her sleep a little over a week ago. The past few days I couldn’t help but feel grateful that I had the opportunity to fly back to the Philippines and visit her. We hadn’t seen each other in 13 years! Though her face hadn’t changed much, she didn’t have the same energy as she used to. It was tough but I cherish the conversations we had.

Before we immigrated to Canada, my sisters and I grew up road tripping to our grandparent’s house for the summer or during Holy Week. My grandma always had short hair, no longer than her chin. She had the OG bob haircut before it was thing! And she always had these pink rollers that she used at night to put a slight curl on her bangs. So for today’s beauty post, I did a quick collage of vintage hairstyle inspirations.

She showed me a photo of her when she was a young woman. She still had the same smile and a similar vintage hairstyle Julianne Hough has (but less glamourous of course), wearing her white uniform shirt. I was around 7-8 years old when she showed me those photos, kept in a box underneath her bed. Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure whether those photos are still around, but I hope they are. When I go back for another visit, I’ll look for them. Until then, I know she’s always with me, living within those birthday cards and short nuggets of wisdom.

This is my letter to you.’Til we meet again.

Always,

K