You is kind. You is smart. You is important. You is brave.

I watched the movie The Help over the weekends, and I must say, the story is a story of Courage.

Courage has always been a beautiful word for me. It’s like a secret chant you say to yourself which instantly delivers a wonderful amount of bravery and confidence. When uncertainty lingers at the porch of your mind, trying to quaff every single barrel of your sunshine, Courage will make you believe that there’s nothing wrong being in the dark for a while. Courage trusts that you’ll find the light. That’s what Courage does, it makes you Hope. And Hope shares the same attributes of Courage: beautiful. (I abuse the word beautiful so much, but, there’s no other way I can describe these two.)

The movie was set in a far away past where racial discrimination was still eminent in the United States of America – the Blacks serve as helpers in White people’s residences. However, their rights has always been disregarded. It makes me feel lighter, though, when I saw that not all White people are prejudiced; take Skeeter, a journalist who pushed for the Helpers to share their side of story with their service at the White people’s houses. Although, all her efforts might have been for naught if not for the willingness of Abiliene to support.

Skeeter and Abiliene were the two lead persons in the movie who took a stand and choose – what many people in their time, won’t – Courage. What’s very crucial about Courage is that it has to be chosen. You have to choose to be courageous. Nobody else can do it for you.

Despite the fact that Skeeter and Abiliene (together with the other Helpers) could be in grave danger, they still do what they had to do: act against racism and seek equality between the Colored and the Whites. They started a revolution, a spark for change. And I believe, they contributed a big part in the freedom of all cultures and races America is experiencing today. Imagine if they didn’t do anything when the very circumstance they’re in is asking them to make a stand? We, humans, most times don’t act out when we need to; afraid of so many things that would expose us in possible danger. Courage, often requires sacrifice – of our own time, money, talent, and even comfort – for the greater good. We have it all inside of us, we have the capacity to be brave, we have been given the ability to serve. It’s just that, sometimes, we tend to forget.

Yes, you is (also) brave.

When things go way out of hand and you tremble to your knees as you are shaken to the core, hold hands with Courage, do not let go. When every single molecule of your being wants you to run away and escape the grind of tomorrow, behold Courage in the eye, as long as his eyes flicker, don’t lose hope. When there’s too much fear in your heart and you can’t keep the tears anymore, look up, Courage is always looking down.

To have Courage is not to rely on your own strength. To have Courage is to surrender all your weaknesses in the hands of an Almighty God, entrusting every small portions of your life into His bigger plans for your future – be prepared to witness His power working in you. To have Courage is not to be free from fear, Fear is a healthy friend. To have Courage is bringing Fear with you in skydiving; no matter the struggle, it will remind you that you have wings – you are meant to fly. To have Courage is not to go through life easy. To have Courage is to embrace life in all of its uncertainties.

Show me how big your Brave is.

Twenty Seconds of Insane Courage

Life is all about surprises.

One day, you’ll be out going to your very first school day as a four year old in Nursery class. You’ll feel terrified as you hoped that your mom didn’t have to leave you there alone. And so, at a young age, you choose to stand and participate – together with the other kids – as you try to understand each new lesson. At a young age, this world is asking you to be brave.

Since school took most part in your growing up years, you know that acting the way you did in Grade School won’t get too much appreciated in High School. You got to make decisions on what to do when a member of your group didn’t show up at the day you are assigned to report something about History. You got to face new classmates who, sometimes, don’t care of what you feel just as long as they can make fun out of your expense. You got to be exposed in digging your thoughts deeper as you know you got to suggest something for a Science project. You invest in friendships that you didn’t know will last even after so many years, close to a decade. You know life a little better now, you know you had to be independent and make sound choices, you know you have to be brave.

College came and it’s a much different atmosphere. You are free to do what you like in the University, there’s a certain degree of freedom. And you are convinced with your entire life that this is the most wonderful experience of being in an academe. You choose who you are here and what you wanna be. You got to join new cliques and enjoy the time of being together in the afternoons when the professor didn’t arrive for the last session of your Tuesday class. There will be times that your principles and standards will be tested, there will be times that you’ll get disappointed by the decisions you’ve made. You struggle so hard not to make any mistakes, which in the end, you’ll come to realize that those mistakes were necessary. To sum up this stage of your life, and what you have done in between them, it goes to show that you chose to be brave.

You know you got this certain braveness in your heart after everything you had been through your teenage years, you know you could have anything under control, you truly believe so until the Real World came throwing real problems to your face and you got nowhere to go.

Then, it suddenly happened, Fear came in insurmountable amounts that your Brave can’t hold it. You struggle for air, you can’t breathe, you just can’t calm yourself down. And then Life crushed your spirit, you feel lost in a world you thought you’ve known all your life, you just float in a limbo – confused, dishearten, bewildered. You became afraid of failure, you don’t want to commit mistakes anymore, you shield your way in the opportunities that come along, you just want to be in your comfort zone.

I know how hard it is to live this life keeping your cool. And it will always always be threatening to venture out on new things you don’t know doing. But I’ve come to understand that you don’t grow up when you don’t learn; most of life’s lessons are learned best when you fail. It takes courage that in the midst of failure, you’ve got a heart that just wanna keep on moving forward, a heart that just wanna keep on trying.

For the past six months, I’ve been trying my best to live my life, I am trying to be more brave and open to what it will offer along the way and as to what I want to get to experience doing myself. It’s never easy, but I figured, that I don’t want fear to take hold of me from doing things that I know will help me flourish as a person. What got me along is this twenty seconds of insane courage I learned from Mr. Benjamin Mee of We Bought a Zoo (I wrote about that movie here).

Twenty seconds of insane courage is basically courage with some urgency. I mean, you don’t linger too much if you’re gonna do this and that and think of everything that could happen and those that could not. Sometimes, you take too much time until Fear walks in and just shut down your fuse, shut down your light.

When you know you got to do something…

-a dramatic eight inches haircut
-joining a free camp where you can hone your new found love in some sport
-telling your boss your plans in life that might differ from where your organization is leading to now
-going in for a ride which terrifies you in so many ways
-meeting old friends back from Grade School and High School
-chasing your dreams even if it meant being vulnerable to failure… Etc… Etc.

As the old Nike saying goes: just do it.

Do it when you got the courage for the first twenty seconds. Don’t hold back. Let go. Let go of all the worries of mistakes and failure, let go of the control you impose on yourself, let go and just breathe. Believe in Hope that your Brave will help you fly. I know sometimes it gets crazy, but if you could remember the time when you were four, you’ve conquered – you’ve delivered courage. You decided to take a leap of faith at such a young age, you delivered despite the fear, you felt invincible.

You only need twenty seconds of insane courage, a childlike faith, and I promise you something great will come out of it.

Life is full of uncertainties, be brave anyway. (Jeff Goins)

I Forgot to Write

I forgot the simplest things in life that made me start whatever you see in these blank pages of cyber space named under a corner I considered mine…

I forgot the essence of bleeding my own story and crafting it in such a way that would inspire me (or others ((hoping))) to walk along the dark hallways of this not-so-much-focused-on-happy-endings kind of life…

I forgot to accommodate Mr. Time when he sincerely wanted to collaborate with Words that kept bogging my mind…

I forgot to see. I forgot to hear. I forgot to feel. I think I had lost my senses when all I wanted to do two years back was to seek, listen and observe the universe, taste every rough crater and watch how it spark intense meteor showers in this world, in my world – the vast ocean of falling stars.

I forgot my purpose here.

I forgot to thirst for the things that would matter here; the things I placed my bets in starting Day One, the things that once made me decide what would / what could I be, the things I considered of prime principle. I forgot them.

I forgot to be inspired. I forgot to inspire. I forgot to write.

I forgot to write for someone who I always wanted to write about. I forgot to write for myself. I started to notice people and I started to want people to notice me back (which hardly happen). And I know that that’s where it hits – I wasn’t able to get back on my feet – the damage I made to my Muse.

Why do we keep on wanting something we think we want that we forget that all the things we need are already right there in front of us?

I created this blog as a space for me to vent out my whatevers in life. This is supposed to be something I enjoy doing for myself – that I don’t think of anybody else when I post what I had to say (whether it’s right or wrong or we differ in view) here. And I did. I really did enjoy.

Back then, my ears are spilling with courage telling me that expressing myself through an art form (aka Writing) could be a good way for me to find myself, to understand the depth of my being, to enrich a talent that I could use in bringing people to believe in a quiet whisper of hope.

And I don’t want to stop now just because I’m discouraged. I know that the Big Guy is always behind me to support the very desire of my heart which I can use for His glory.

I loved blogging. I loved that I dreamed of inspiring people through writing; giving words of assurance not only to myself, but to whoever lands on this page, that no matter how hard the waves of life could be, our boat will never sink as long as we are with our Captain. That no matter how discouraged we are now, we can still choose to see the light in the darkest of places; we can still be conquerors even we once feared to be in a battle; we can still go back to where we used to be, to what we used to do – even we sometimes forget, there is Hope telling us that we can still learn to remember.

The Dilemma

Around 2:47 this afternoon, this is what’s going on in my mind.

I don’t really know what to do.

We had this problem going on at the organization I’m working with and there are complicated choices that we should make and take.

When we were told about these truths, I honestly don’t know if I should stay or is it this time that I have to go? I felt that I had to do the former. I don’t want to quit when everybody is also at the same verge of difficulty as I am. Plus, we believe that the work that we’re doing is God’s work that if He wanted this to push through, He will let it.

I wanted to witness the miracle. I wanted to be present when all the things you’ve waited for finally mold itself into perfection. I wanted to cling to hope, to step out of faith even the dark is so dark that I may doubt if someone will catch me when I fell off the cliff. I wanted to stay. I wanted to be here, to do this right now.

There are people, however, that I need to take into consideration. And most of them is telling me to do the opposite of what I know I should do. And they’re all on the same side of the boat. Boo. Well, at one point, I’ve realized that they said parts of the situation that I kind of understand but didn’t see at first.

Ugh. My mind is in chaos now. I have settled this already in my heart when I jumped into the that decision I made (even when I cannot fully explain everything to my folks in a way which they would understand it).

I asked God. I wanted answers ’cause I know that if He really wanted me to be at this particular moment, He will answer, right?

And so, after a while, so far, here’s what I’ve got:

“The point is not an efficient life, the point is intimacy with God.”

“Spiritual lust causes me to demand an answer from God, instead of seeking God Himself who gives the answer.”

“The purpose of prayer is that we get ahold of God, not of the answer.”

“Yet we never realize that all the time God is at work in our everyday events and in the people around us. If we will only obey, and do the task that He has placed closest to us, we will see Him.”

“One of the most amazing revelations of God comes to us when we learn that it is in the everyday things of life that we realize the magnificent deity of Jesus Christ.”

So yeah. Sometimes things are a little bit fuzzy and labyrinth-ish that we don’t or I don’t really know how to respond to a situation I got in. Ergo, I demand answers. I wanted solutions to find my way or to figure out, at the very least, how I can sort this. But no. Life isn’t about the answers all the time. It’s about trusting the Captain of the ship and be in full dependence in knowing His very purpose on why He let things be the way it is.

I pray for courage and a whole new ride, Lord. I believe, help my unbelief.

Welcome Brave New Owners

Last Sunday night, after we got home from church, my mother and I watched We Bought a Zoo.

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This was a movie recommended by Isabel a few weeks ago as a perfect mother-daughter bonding movie and I say, IT absolutely IS. I recommend this for your whole family to watch together also. It’s very touching. It reminds you of the beauty and goodness of this circus adventure life. :)

Premise (c/o IMDb): [The movie is] set in Southern California, a father moves his young family to the countryside to renovate and re-open a struggling zoo.

Of course, it’s more complicated than that.

Following the death of his wife, Benjamin Mee was left to take care for his two children – Rosie (7) and Dylan (14). As for any single dad, Benjamin is having a hard time dealing with the grief of losing his wife and coming up with certain decisions he should make for his kids and for their future.

In the desire of taking over a new start, he resigned from his job as a newspaper writer and moved his family from the city into a home that doubles to a local zoo. In the end, what he really finds is that the past won’t be held by geography but by memory (Isabel’s words).

Sometimes we try so hard to escape the hurt, the pain and the lost that we had, thinking if we can go somewhere else, do something else, be with someone else then our fears will go away, that our past would somehow be okay. The past will haunt you sooner or later unless you made peace with it. Yes, we don’t and we shouldn’t live in the Past, it’s once was; the Present is now, it’s today. But it doesn’t mean that you have to forget the past completely. We can’t escape it, you know. We have to face it.

True courage doesn’t begin with starting over. It begins with grief, putting the ghosts to bed and then, afterwards, letting love – an entire zoo of it – back in.

-Isabel Garcia

Starting over is accepting what has happened and bringing forth a pocketful of courage for the journey of life where doubt is inevitable. And like Mr. Mee said, all we need is 20 seconds of insane courage before something great could happen to us – maybe our Happy can be loud by then. We got to do it. We got to practice it once in a while.

Favorite lines from the movie:

Whatever is the laziest word in this century. I’m over with whatever.

-Benjamin Mee

Do me a favor? Attempt to start over.

-Duncan

Bad things happen. You just keep going.

I love new. New is the new old.

-Mr. Stevens

Complicated is okay. Complicated can be great. We love complicated, right?

-Benjamin Mee

Sometimes you don’t know what it is until you see what it is.

-Mr. Stevens

Their happy is too loud.

-little Rosie

The secret to talking is listening.

-Kelly

I figured, when you love somebody that much, that hard, that long, you cannot let go of them wherever you go. Because that only happens once in your life.

-Benjamin Mee

Stop moping around, pick up a shovel and dig a hole. Do something.

-Benjamin Mee

Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage – just literally, 20 seconds of insane bravery – and I promise you something great will come of it.

-Benjamin Mee

If you do something for the right reasons, nothing can stop you.

-Duncan

It’s not about where the adventure ends. It’s not about where it starts. It’s what happens in between. That’s the bonus.

-Benjamin Mee

And with all these, I shall give you my über late July Moodboard: Insane Courage. :)

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The secret in being courageous is being in the presence of the Big Guy. And you know what, as light and salt of the world, we owe them our courage. :)

Btw, please pray for a quick recovery for the Philippines especially in areas where the heavy rains caused flash floods and landslides and lost – of family members, of houses… And for some, it might be the lost of hope. The weather in our country hasn’t been really good lately. Thank you very much.

For donations…

For my fellow-Pinoys who got affected by flood, I pray for comfort for your families. Makakabangon ang Pilipinas! Courage, my friends, we are all between the paws of the true Aslan. :) let’s hang on together.

And I know, we all missed him… He’s finally here!!!

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And I say, it’s (it will be) alright. Too-doo-doo too-doo-doo too-doo. :)

Ten Things I Know To Be True

This list is inspired by Sarah Kay. I promise to write about her amazingness soon! :) For now let’s go over my list…

1. I can over think things.
When I found out that one should not think too hard and just go ahead and enlist their answers to this question, my mind kept wallowing on what I think could be a good idea to put on this list. I just kept doing that until I am quite dizzy and not knowing what to put in anymore. So, I’ll just made a rule to let myself be myself and not complicate things when I do not become myself. Over thinking can sometimes spoil the broth. I shall let myself relax.

2. We all got Faith.
In just about everything we do, we exercise our faith, we have it inside each of us – when sitting on a chair, riding in the car, talking to someone on our mobile phones, cooking our favorite meals, believing in what we can do, believing on what God can do, and many more. We all got faith, it’s the object of our faith that differs. And although we may be totally sincere in our faith, sometimes, we can get all rumbled up in a wrong one which could lead us to a tragic end. So that’s why it’s of great importance to know where you place your faith and if it really is sincerely on the right track of the road.

3. I felt a bit sad when Pluto got voted off the nine planets in the Solar System.
After years of research, they found out that Pluto is not really a planet, it’s just a comet or something else that is part of the space. It reminded me how certain things in life don’t stay the same and that you had to let it go, let it be and accept it with all your heart and understanding. Though there may be confusion and refusal and pain, nothing ever really stays the same. Believe that there’s gonna be a light at the end of the tunnel someday.

4. You are only as strongest as your weakest point.
I believe that blisters, wounds and scars are not designed just to give us throes, tingles and twinges. It’s meant for something more that’s why we go through it sunny bright or chilly winter night. How else can we value successes if not for failures? How else can we appreciate victory without defeat? How else can we be grateful for mercy and grace and love when we know we don’t deserve any of it because of all we’ve done wrong? How else can hope mean something more when we haven’t gone through desperations and tough times? The world may be made out of sugar and it crumbles down, but, don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out in the air and taste it.

Perhaps strength doesn’t reside in having never been broken.. But in the courage required to grow stronger in the broken places.

5. Hope is fluffy and whole lot of lovely.
Somebody once said, we see the impossible everyday. Impossible is trying to connect in this world, trying to hold on to others when things blow up around you. Hope is a fireball of doing the impossible, believing the unbelievable, loving the unlovable. It teaches us to swim the depths of the ocean as if we can gasp air in any minute. It is a mustard seed and a very close relative of Faith.

To have Faith is to be stubborn, to know the happy endings exist, to believe the story is not over even though it feels like it is. It is for the crazy and the brave.

-Isabel Garcia

It even move mountains. It’s the smile in the frown, the courage in the fear, the tranquility in anxiousness. It’s the many oxymorons. It’s hope and it’s beautiful.

6. Practice makes permanent.
Jeff Goins once said, If you want to be something – anything – a good place to start is with doing it, regardless of how you feel.

When I started blogging/writing, I never knew how this would all turn around over time. I was never born a writer and I believe writers are born and not made. It is innate in them, you know, it’s like writing comes out naturally like a hug or kiss you voluntarily give to someone who is very close to you. It’s like their best stature – their moment of writing. And there I was one day, trying to squeeze myself in that same kind of art where your experience makes a lot more fun and confusion takes a toll on your understanding when it’s all written down. And now, my secret love affair with words and poetry are all out an open field. I’m quite happy reaping its harvest. And yes, it’s true what they say about practice. Do it. Be it.

7. You are beautiful.
No matter what the television says nor the magazine’s latest issue nor the radio’s nonsense advertisements. The heck with the world! You are still beautiful.

Wearing your retainers and big dark glasses with all your sweatpants even when you’re twenty-two doesn’t make you less interesting. Your mocha toned skin just suits you right. When they say that boys don’t cry and you, on the other, do when you were happy because your baby sister received her valedictory award at school or when you got your heart broken from the wrong girl, that’s reasonable.

People in this world sometimes can be discouraging and they will peel you off the sunbeam you’re radiating. As long as you got love sprinkled with faith and hope and grace, you are beautiful. Rise above the situation and hand them flyers on bravery, strength and courage because you are beautiful.

8. Unlike Superman, Batman can’t fly.
Even in that situation, Batman didn’t stop helping, he didn’t stop caring, he didn’t stop being a hero. We are our own heroes even if we don’t get to fly and have our own superpowers. The only thing we can bring forth as a weapon in this course of life is the courage and hope and faith to the One who can empower us. Offering our service to others need not to be grand, in our own little ways, our random act of kindness to a friend or a stranger can make a difference.

9. Fear is a friend that’s misunderstood.
We all have fears. It creeps in every night in the dark. Fear is a natural emotion designed by God, however, fearfulness is living in a state of fear and is not designed by God. Sometimes we don’t wanna face our giants and we just wanna run. But if you do and you bring with you the voice of Truth, you’ll see that the stone is just the right size to put your giants on the ground. The waves don’t seem so high when you’re on top of them looking down. You will soar with the wings of eagle when you listen to the sound of Jesus’ singing over you.

10. I go to seek the Great Perhaps.
We need never be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken. We think that we are invincible because we are. We cannot be born, and we cannot die. Like all energy, we can only change shapes and sizes and manifestations. Our own Great Perhaps is out there somewhere in the woods across the sea in the dark forest. We may encounter thorns and bushes and labyrinths on our way but never fret and never worry. Choose the labyrinth. The labyrinth blows but choose it.

There’ll be days like these, my mama said, when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing in your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment. And those are the very days you have all the more reason to say ‘thank You’ ‘coz there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shorelines no matter how many times it’s sent away.

-Sarah Kay

We can face our own Great Perhaps with our backpacks full of sunshine and pixie dust of courage and never giving up. It will be scary but remember the numbers 2 – 9 of this list. Plus, know that everything happens for a reason. The Big Guy doesn’t roll a dice so don’t be afraid. He’s in control.

With that, I shall give you my (on-time, finally!) Moodboard for June: Seek the Great Perhaps. :)

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Whatever with the past has gone, the best is always yet to come.

Btw, have you counted how many times I said the word courage, faith and hope in the list? Yes, I said it all too many times so that we’ll never forget it. Above all these, Love is still the greatest! :)

Be blessed! Cheers! :D