Less of me, More of God

Step Forward!

As this month is my birthday month, I am also taking a step towards a dream I’ve always had.

My Uplifted Spirit is migrating to a new site! http://www.janinapaula.com is now in the works and will be live soonest! Can’t wait!

“Push comfort zone out and you will be most fulfilled, because you will be doing more!” – Lynette Lewis

“Believe that dreams come true everyday, because they do.” – One Tree Hill

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Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.

Colossians 3:23-24

I have this quote posted on the my work table’s corboard. Whenever I feel frustrated about work (or the people I work with), I read this and remind myself of why I was here and the rewards that await me if I work diligently and with integrity. And it works, without fail.

Well, it works best when I think of the weekend ahead too. 🙂

Happy weekend!

One Million March

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As the news said, it all started as a “shoutout” on Facebook in the middle of the much-talked about Billion-Peso Pork Barrel Scam in the Philippines. This “shoutout” got passed to a friend, then another friend and another friend, and before long, a date and venue was set for the MILLION PEOPLE MARCH.

 

August 26th is the Philippine National Heroes’ Day. It best fits the date of the rally as its participants, the tax payers, are all considered heroes of the country. The venue is in Luneta Park, a historical public park in the heart of Manila. The goal: to have a voice and be heard by the government for the following cries:

 

SCRAP PORK: Successive governments, including the incumbent, have failed to safeguard our interests by allowing and SUPPORTING all kinds of corruption in the pork barrel system. We, the taxpayers, are always told to be patient because the government lacks funds. Now we know why — our money, billions of pesos worth, have been siphoned off by the corrupt.

ACCOUNT FOR ALL SPENT PORK: If we truly want to rid the nation of corruption, we cannot focus only on one sector or one administration. There is no such thing as “unaccountable” power to spend OUR money.

INVESTIGATE AND PUNISH THOSE GUILTY OF ABUSING PORK. Scandal after scandal shows corruption involves private as well as public institutions and sprawls across all branches of the government. Enough. Everyone must be held accountable.

We acknowledge President Benigno Simeon Aquino III’s response to the people’s mounting anger. This is a positive sign. But “Pork” is not just PDAF. Pork means all modes of public spending that has little or no accountability. This includes the billions and billions of discretionary funds in all branches of government.

From: the Petition of Peachy Bretana via www.change.org

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People from all walks of life came to Luneta that day—mostly dressed in white. It was such a beautiful sight, and the weather cooperated well too—no sudden heavy rain, just small drizzles every now and then, and it was breezy. I took my time to breathe everything in—the tents and tables of different activities, people singing, some praying, the signages that each group carried, the smiles and hugs when each one sees someone they know. For a political rally, it was really peaceful, and I am glad. Looking at the individuals that came, these aren’t just groups transported by their respective LGU’s (it often happens that during a protest or rally, groups are being transported by some politicians to make the crowd appear thick, and the protest well-attended). These are actual TAX PAYERS. I saw doctors and nurses, businessmen and businesswomen, employees from the BPOs and various private sectors, priests, nuns, teachers, students. People who doesn’t just pay taxes with their salaries, but with their everyday expenses. Responsible citizens with real pains from the scandal that rocked the country for the past month.

With the Million People March came a campaign that needed 1 Million Signatures for the petition mentioned. My friends and I volunteered to get everyone to sign this petition, both online and on grounds during the event. 

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Theresians In Action. ❤ 

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Since they said this was a “leader-less” protest, various groups did their thing, whether it was praying, public speaking, chanting, dancing, playing musical instruments and singing. Using arts and music, different talents are used as VOICES to declare their piece. 

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My parents used to say that the EDSA Revolution (being the most peaceful revolution in the world!) is indeed something to be proud of as a Filipino. Now I know what they mean. Taking a stand, and doing my part as a Filipino really makes me proud and inspires me to be a better citizen. 

Image“Be the change you wish to see in the world.” 

 

 

Simplify.

One of Nike’s Maxims is SIMPLIFY AND GO. 🙂

This song is the perfect companion when I’m feeling lost or uninspired. Works like a charm in reminding me of loving myself and who exactly I am at the moment, and that the best days that are yet to come!

Sharing this with you today, just in case you also need a track to brighten up your day!

Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield

I am unwritten, can’t read my mind, I’m undefined
I’m just beginning, the pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned

Staring at the blank page before you,
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin

NO ONE ELSE CAN FEEL IT FOR YOU, ONLY YOU CAN LET IT IN,
NO ONE ELSE, NO ONE ELSE,
CAN SPEAK THE WORDS ON YOUR LIPS,
DRENCH YOURSELF IN WORDS UNSPOKEN,
LIVE YOUR LIFE WITH ARMS WIDE OPEN

TODAY IS WHERE YOUR BOOK BEGINS,
THE REST IS STILL UNWRITTEN

I break tradition, sometimes my tries, are outside the lines
We’ve been conditioned to not make mistakes, but I can’t live that way

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
The rest is still unwritten

Staring at the blank page before you
Open up the dirty window
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins
THE REST IS STILL UNWRITTEN…

Even Just for Today….

Let whatever you do today be enough.

Let go of the judgement you have about what you should be or could be doing, and today, allow yourself to simply be.

Comparing yourself and your journey may be habitual, but it gets you nowhere. It makes you feel worse and keeps you stuck.

Stop fixating on where everyone else is, and start giving yourself permission to be exactly where you are.

Quiet the voice telling you to do more and be more, and trust that in this moment, who you are, where you are at and what you are doing is enough.

You will get where you need to be in your own time.

Until then, breathe. Breathe and be patient with yourself and your process.

You are doing your best you can to cope and survive amid your struggles, and that’s all you can ask of yourself. It is enough.

You are enough.

– Danielle Koepke

I have. I guess I am one of the lucky ones. The luckier ones, even, as I am actually related to the person who’s changed my world.

Her name is Janice and I’ve known her all my life. You see, she is my first cousin, and we grew up in a “clannish” family here in the Philippines. By “clannish”, I mean growing up in the same compound, and even when my family moved away, we still went to our grandparents’ ancestral house on a weekly basis, so I always see and spend time with my cousins. She is 6 years older than me, and I looked up to her growing up because she just seems to know everything! I was always considered an early bloomer, and maybe it’s because as I would often hang out with her and her friends. I learned and experienced a lot at such an early age—and this includes drinking and smoking (sometimes, since I have asthma), and dealing with suitors, maniacs and heartaches.

This is not to say we lived a low and miserable life before, in fact, some of my great memories are when I was with her, talking and laughing about stuff, discovering the new clubs and bars, gossiping and so much more. It also wasn’t shallow, as we’d have long talks about love lost, family issues and what we should and should not do in our generation. We have a big clan with lots and lots of complications, so at an early age, we got to see the wrongs of the ones who came before us. In high school, I think some of my classmates saw me as someone profound as I would always share stuff about “life” – and I don’t mean the sheltered kind of life we were ideally living in.

I think the best thing about my relationship with Janice is that despite moving away (for her, it was several times), and moving forward  with new discoveries, we somehow always pick up where we left off whenever we see each other. The problems we have faced, no matter how different they were, kept us close. We have an unspoken agreement that we can tell each other everything, and I mean everything, without the fear of being judged or misunderstood.

After her quarter-life crisis, she found her calling one day – to serve in her church’s ministry, The Rock of My Salvation Media Ministries – and everything in her life turned. Her talents were honed in a way that no one could ever imagine! She started editing photos, then short videos, until she was a full-time creator of documentaries that reached and touched thousands of lives. Moreover, she created a group that supports the women in prison, the Saving Grace Project (www.savinggraceph.org). Monthly, the project will be giving these women basic toiletries, and occasionally, good food they can enjoy. But what is important is the HOPE that these small gifts come with. Janice said that, after her darkest days, when she was sad and alone, God placed it in her heart to provide hope to everyone, especially those who are not able to see the light, and this is what gave birth to this project.

Seeing her go through almost everything seemed to prepare me for what I will be going through in life. Although the circumstances are much much different, I felt that I can go to this person for anything, as she has gone through so much, and she was never afraid to be transparent to me. I think Janice’s life is a real and complete testimony of God’s love. She has given strength and inspiration to so many people, most especially to me. Whenever I am feeling helpless or confused, talking to her always assure me that everything will be fine, and eventually, things will be great. She is my constant reminder of the great plans that God has for my life, and she is one of the very few who can truly motivate me to move forward and stretch my potential.

More importantly, she helped me see what I can be in others’ lives. And although I am a work in progress, I know that one day, I will be a source of strength to others, the way she has always been, and will always be, to me.

Happy Birthday, ate Janice ❤ Thank you for changing my world.

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3 Years Ago.

Going through my old Tumblr account, I saw what I wrote a few years back. This was for someone I lost because of lies and betrayal.

“I thought about you today…

… And for the first time, it wasn’t about the tears and the pain. 

It wasn’t about the hurt and the fears. It wasn’t about how you broke my heart or how I wish our future will be like.

It was about the end to all that and about something great for us — individually. So I really hope you found what you are looking for, and I hope you have everything that will make you happy, because I believe I have. 

I found forgiveness and peace. I found comfort and happiness. I found simplicity in life that I could’ve missed out on if I didn’t let you go. I found love. I found bliss. 

I will always have you (the good and the bad) to thank for that.”

I wrote it when I started to feel at peace again. It may have been a long way since my heart got broken, but I remember distinctly when I arrived at that point.

I remember exactly how I felt when I wrote this with utmost sincerity in my heart. And somehow, standing where I am today, it gave me hope.

One day, someday, I will feel this peace again. The sadness I am feeling will go away, and I will be whole again.

Today I was reminded that in order to maintain and improve my flourishing relationship with my Savior, I need to CREATE time for it… and I need to LOVE my time with the Lord.

Quoting Josh Harris’ blog:

“Jesus’ example teaches us that prayer is about relationship. When he prays, he is not performing a duty; he is getting close to his Father.

Any relationship, if it is going to grow, needs private space, time together without an agenda, where you can get to know each other. This creates an environment where closeness happen, where we can begin to understand each other’s hearts.

You don’t create intimacy; you make room for it. This is true whether you are talking about your spouse, your friend, or God. You need space to be together. Efficiency, multitasking, and busyness all kill intimacy. In short, you can’t get to know God on the fly.

If Jesus has to pull away from people and noise in order to pray, then it makes sense that we need to as well.”

– Paul Miller, A Praying Life, page 47

… you learn the subtle difference between holding a hand and chaining a soul, and you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning and company doesn’t mean security, and you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises, and you begin to accept your defeats with your head up and your eyes open, with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child, and you learn to build all your roads on today because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans. After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much. So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul, instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers. And you learn that you really can endure… that you really are strong, and you really do have worth.

— Veronica A. Shoffstall