John and Jeremiah – Love versus fear


Photo by Aaron Burden

In this installment of Faithful Fridays, following Mom’s questioning, I lay out my thoughts on very two complementary verses — ones that ably encapsulate God’s love and His faithfulness to His people: 1 John 4:18, and Jeremiah 32:40.

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[Art] Voltron Sketchathon

As my Instagram, Facebook, and Tumblr followers already know, I had engaged in a “sketch countdown” leading to the premiere of Voltron: Legendary Defender‘s season two — and, incidentally, Hunk’s birthday. I had meant to compile what I had made following my wrap-up, but my notebook had to be sent in for repairs. Due to constraints involving time and logistics, it was only this week that I was able to use my notebook properly, so I have a fair few things to catch up on ^^;;

I had engaged in this project just to release all of the pent-up frustration I had for not being able to draw as much as I liked in 2015 and 2016, and to reclaim something I enjoyed doing for myself. There was a time (which had coincided with my period depression back in 2010~2011) when drawing became something that I had used as a tool, thinking that it would make people like me (or like me more). At that time, drawing, like roleplaying, had become drug-like escapes because I was failing at something I didn’t want to do in the first place.

But I love drawing too much to ruin it for myself. So I decided to ride on my affection for V:LD, and got my hands working: Continue reading

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A Year of Mindfulness: Relationships

My one-year contract with my most recent employer ended last March 11, just last week, and so also ends my year with the graveyard shift. My next employment starts on April 17, and so I have a month to get back on track with my biological clock, and self-imposed commitments to drawing and writing. It’s timing enough that I bust through my writing’s dry spell in wrapping up this series that I started in January.

One of the things that I struggled with being on the graveyard shift is actually staying up to match my loved ones’ schedules. This, I found, was the greatest challenge that I faced. It was strange, actually: I chose this job primarily because I hoped to spend more time with my family, thinking that since my work was at night, it would leave my mornings free.

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When I was listening to one of Draw with Jazza’s videos, where he said that behind an artist’s final work is a trail of thousands and thousands of drawings, a good lot of which ended up in the bin, I was reminded of this tweet.

95% of an actor’s career is auditioning.

Whenever I feel down about my drawing or writing, I remind myself of these successful people who persevered in their craft. For some ridiculous reason, I believed that Keaton is made up of 1000% success and that producers are lined up around the block to cast him. But that simple statement grounded me in that Keaton had people telling him that he didn’t make the first auditions. That Jazza had teachers giving him a failing grade.

Thank you, Josh, and thank you, Jazza.

I’ve beaten myself down for too long thinking that I’ll never get “there” in my drawing or writing because of age or circumstances. I have a dream, and it’s time I stop running away from it.

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A Year of mindfulness: Work

Photo by Alex Jones

By May this year, I would have been working for 13 years, 95% of it in the BPO industry: tech support for seven years, documents support for four, collections quality analyst for five months, and now human resources support. For the longest time, I have merely seen it as a means to an end: I work, I get money, I buy things. Wash, rinse, repeat. I kept telling myself that this is temporary, that I just need to bring food to the table, to help raise my (then) baby nephew, to help my little brother through school. One day, someday, I told myself, I’ll get out of this and go to art school

Five years went by, then ten. I confess to feeling bitter over the idea that my parents didn’t “let” me attend the fine arts workshops so that I could pass the talent tests for art school. I started blaming myself for not working hard enough at drawing or singing. I came to point when I told myself that if I can’t have what I want, then I’ll hate working, and that I’ll do everything I can to make the world bend around me and make them see that I am an artist.

My workplace then had a very active employee engagement program, and I was a very active part of both the choir and the arts group, and the Bible study group. I looked forward to rehearsals, meetings, and sharing reflections. I reveled in preparing for competitions and events. I enjoyed the attention being “busy” over my passions got me. In the back of my mind, however, I knew that I was neglecting my work — you know, the one I was actually paid to do. I had developed a skewed sense of entitlement.

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A Year of mindfulness: Body

I want to sum up the things I learned this year with one word: mindfulness. In this post, I’d like to reflect on the things that I learned and gained about my body, and my health.

In March 2016, I was diagnosed with borderline diabetes, in which my blood sugar is three levels above the recommended average. After the initial scare tided over, it became a major wake-up call. It had become my personal credo that, as much as I can help it, I will not become dependent on drugs. Ten years ago, I had already been diagnosed with poly-cystic ovaries. The two problems come from one source, and one that I have to face for what it is and to stop sugarcoating it: obesity.

Thanks to a mid-year revelation, I have stopped beating myself up just because of my weight and how I’m not living up to society’s arbitrary standard of beauty. However, I have to face the truth that my weight is becoming an obstacle in my fully enjoying life. The diagnosis (combined with that of being in the graveyard shift) has shown me to pay attention, and to be mindful over what my body is telling me.

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A (quick) New Year’s Message

Let’s bury 2016 deep in the ground. In its mix of sorrows and joys, may it give us a fruitful 2017 filled with hope and good things. Water and nurture that seemingly awful seed with persistence and stubborn optimism, with love and friendship, with wisdom gained and the tenacity to do what is right.

“2016” is just a number. You are bigger and far more significant than an arbitrary measuring system. Keep going, keep growing. Just as each tree that is ever going to grow is unique, so is your own story.

I wish you all hope, fortitude, and eyes to see what is beyond the challenges you will face in the coming year. I wish you joy that won’t quit, and peace of mind and heart in every decision you make. 

To my friends and followers, I love you, and thank you for the love  friendship. Happy 2017! Cheers!

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