Saturday Morning Black Coffee

black coffee

Saturday Morning. Black Coffee. Instant Oats. The Michael Gungor Band tearing down the house in the background.

Good morning to you all.

I woke up early today. Partly because I was thinking that I should be ready, should my morning be marked by an early SMS from a friend whom I wanted to meet up with. Also partly because the Za’ba cleaning ladies are at it again, chattering in that undecipherable Bahasa Melayu, forcing me to really wake up.

However, my friend seems to be unavailable for the morning, making me consider going back to sleep. Tempting, yes. But with the cleaning ladies shifting from chattering to floor sweeping (do you know how much noise a hard broom makes when it’s swept across hard cement???), I guess would do me a lot of good to simply get my day started.

So it’s hello Saturday morning, hello black coffee, and hello Michael Gungor Band. Oh wait. It’s now Citipointe Live who’re bringing the house down.

Sigh. I want do move, move, move and do something productive, but I guess God is just giving me this morning to rest, think, and unwind.

Reading is one of my favorite “unwinding activities”. So I went over and paid this blog a visit, wanting to go through my February scribbles. But then my archives section caught my eye.

Oh. My. Goodness. Did I really come up with four entries this month??? Upon publishing this post – that four will be replaced by a big, fat, five.

I guess this must have been some month. I go on a writing spree when there are a lot of things going on – and possibly not going on – in my life. When I’m riding an emotional rollercoaster ride. Or when I’m on an intellectual and, sometimes, supernatural high. I’m still trying to figure out why I’ve had such an abundance of blog entries for this month. The last time I wrote this many blog entries was on September 2008 (Old Fashioned, Lessons Learned from the Past Week, Memorable Moments with my Batchmates – A.K.A. Granny Moments, and Hold the Fruit Salad). I think I know what went on in my life during that season. And as for my now dying multiply blog – there was this time that I reached my self-imposed blog limit – five entries (I Want to Dance under the Rain, Gone Emo, No Turning Back, Be Productive, In an Effort to be Productive) for the month of – oh my gosh – February. February 2009. I definitely know what was happening then.

Ano bang meron sa February?

Maybe it’s because it’s that time of the year when I’m already expecting the promises I’ve received from January to come to life. And when I’m not really seeing them yet…

Well, you can see my abundance of February blog entries.

But there’s still ten months to go. I just have to actively wait and see how God will allow all those dreams to unfold in these next ten months.

I’ll just have to actively – yes, actively – wait and see.

Headaches, Heartaches, and Whatnots

Am I this dark and melancholy during this time of the night??? Sigh. Forgive me for the semi-dark, brooding, and angsty tone of this entry. I just need to get this off my chest. “This too shall pass.” – India Arie

* * *

Goodness. Past midnight and I’m semi-wide-awake, typing away about headaches, heartaches, and whatnots.

I crashed into bed at around 9 PM, determined to wake up early to work on an assignment. But after two and a half hours of sleep – here I am, up once again, tormented by an aching forehead and plagued by throbbing temples.

And shattered by a broken heart. Uh-huh… Righhhhtt. Let’s not talk about that one.

Kurang Manis. Less sweet.” Ugh. I love sweets. I have a sweet tooth and sweets are a sure-fire way to appease my occasional mood swings. Ice cream makes me happy, chocolate takes my mind off heartaches and heartbreaks, and a slice of blueberry cheesecake keeps me from sighing and sobbing. I’ve been trying to stay away from these high-calorie, high-ringgit-costing treats though. They’re not really doing my waistline and wallet much good.

I failed myself this afternoon though. I hopped on the wrong bus, got stuck in the pouring rain, and had to wait for what seemed like eternity to get on the right bus — all on an empty stomach and on a mind filled with interpolating values. Thus the empty choc-o mochachip cookie wrapper.

Sigh. Thankfully, I’ve learned to exercise more self-control on all other areas of my life.

Self control. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) Against such things, there is NO law. There is no LAW against such things. I am free to exercise love. There is freedom in having peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and gentleness. And there is great, great freedom in having self-control. Okay. So I’m being tested on all those things. Tested if indeed the fruit is ripe within me. So be it. “Take me through the fire. Take me through the flame. Take me through the testing, I’ll do anything.” (Misty Edwards, Fling Wide) *Tears.* Yes. Continue to take me through the fire, Daddy God.

Through the fire. Let me tell you – it’s not easy going through the fire and the flame. It hurts, it burns, and if you won’t let those stubborn blemishes be purged by the fire – my goodness. I’m just thankful I haven’t experienced going through any literal fires and flames during my lifetime. But I told God that I was willing to go through this. And I want to come out as gold. Not as a heap of coal and ashes.

I’ll say that again. I want pure gold, not a heap of coal and ashes.

Well, that’s a whole load off my chest.

Let’s see if I can get to sleep this time and not wake up once again to headaches, heartaches, and whatnots.


Staring at a Not so Blank Wall

It’s been a long, sorta tiring, but fulfilling day. Attended the Service Science Meeting, went around UKM to post some fliers, and spent time with Kim, Iris and Siew Chen after being rained on. Got an exhausted brain, tired feet, wet hair, weary eyes, but happy heart.

In all honesty, I just want to wash the dirt and grime from my face and plop on my bed, but it’s still a good-one-and-a-half hour before my bedtime. I do have some slides to review for my midterms next week, but I just want to give my brain a rest for the night – it’s been overworked for the entire week. (Naalala ko tuloy ang comment nina Georjinah when we crossed paths at the bakery – “Wow. You look like you’re about to pass out!” LOL. I did look like a zombie that time. A zombie in search for coffee. :D)

I want to watch the live stream but all I’m getting is a statue of Kuya Nick (he’s been stuck in the same position for, like, forever).

So here I am, typing away, contemplating at staring at my not-so-blank wall for the rest of the night.

not so blank wall

Staring at my wall is actually not so bad. My wall is one of my greatest sources of comfort this season. I’ve put in a lot of effort into making my wall look the way it does now. And I’m glad I put in that effort. Because during nights when I’m just stuck on doing acads, I’d look at my wall and press in. During mealtimes when I’m eating alone, I’ll just take a glance and not feel so lonesome anymore. And during mornings when I’ve done pouring out everything to God, He’ll tell me to lift my eyes up to my wall and then I’d be smiling for the rest of the day.

I love my wall because all the odds and ends posted up there are all sources of encouragement to me.

Family Pictures and Nanny’s Card. When I went home last December, Mom, Dad, Quantum and I went to Kayeson for our annual Christmas Photo. The year before last, I forced them into wearing pink for our pictorials. Thankfully, this time, Mom already had a theme in mind. And so we posed in royal blue and deep red. I have the photos blu-tacked to my wall. And we look so, so, sophisticated. Ang funny parin ng pose ng kapatid ko. Hehe. I’m starting to miss them again. Sigh.

Nanny’s card is also up there. It’s the one Lola gave me on my graduation last, last April. The one with the long love letter inside. Hehe. “This will come whether you like it or not.”

Levites. “Call forth the Levites.” That collage containing the pictures of my cellmates as well as the worship team has been with me since my ICS days. This yellow cardboard has been with me since late 2007. On the cardboard I’ve stuck pictures of the “original cell” (parang buko pie lang) with Ate Patty, portraits of my son (hehe) and daughters at the DL Umali hall and LB Square, and snapshots of the wacky worship team having a blast at the Olivarez Cinema 3 (yes it was still Cinema 3 at that time).

I’ve had the most growth with the people in those photos. Yeah. With all the stretching, the discipline, and all the blood and tears. Hehe.

Fullforce 04. I’ve got two sets of 04 pictures up on my wall. One’s a collage of EK and IRRI pics (the bench and the teleserye ads, haha). The other contains pictures that had made their way from my wallet to the wall – 08 Graduate pics, the formal 04 pic, and the wacky pic with the infamous Jona Pose. Sigh. I miss those people. Been a long time since I’ve talked to anyone of them. I mean, really talked.

Doc’s Letter. Doc gave our (their, hehe) G-12 presents last Christmas. Aww. So she wrote a letter for each one of us and I stuck mine to my wall. Like, you can read what’s written on the picture. Hehe. Thanks, Doc.

Azzah’s Bear. Before we left for the Philippines last October 2008, Azzah gave me this bear. Bear hasn’t got a formal name though. But I’m sure that, nameless as the bear is, it’s pretty happy that he/she (goodness, I don’t know if it’s a he or she!) is back in his/her home country. Haha. I’m happy that I’m back here in Malaysia as well.

My Awesome (yes, awesome) Schedule. Yes, that’s my schedule. It doesn’t look too jampacked, but if you include all the papers that I have to do at night – you could understand why my brain is sometimes reduced to computer-gibberish mush. But I love my academics. If for Ate Odie, “my work is my ministry”, then for Mari, “my academics (and a whole lot of other things) is my ministry”. The purple blocks in my schedule are the best times though. J Diba, Daddy God?

Faber Castell Colour Pencils and a Sketchpad. Faber Castell Colour Pencils have a soft spot in my heart. For one thing, my brother and I used to colour with those back in my primary school days. We’d colour in Crimson Rosellas and Cockatoos with them and just simply let loose the artists in us. Now, I’m just using those pencils to let loose the child in me.

So why are they stuck on my wall? Well, simply because the child in me needs to jot down encouraging wall posts in colour – and having the colour pencils up on my wall is simply, well… convenient.

SOD-SFC Alumni Homecoming Souvenir. “Change the World and Make History.” Nuff said, right?

Empty Spaces. There’s still whole bunch of empty spaces on my wall. Spaces for more pictures, more people, more letters. (But not more schedules. Please. Not more schedules. ) I’ve just realized I haven’t got a picture of my Malaysian family up on my wall yet. Will have to print out a photo of us all soon. But anyway, that’s why the empty spaces are there. Because those spaces will soon be filled up with more. J

One last thing. Haha. I just realized that my mirror is up on my wall as well. Yeah, the mirror encourages me, because through it, I get to see the most glorious human being in the room, pimply and bug-eyed as she may currently be.

Well, I’m done staring at my not-so-blank wall. Bed time’s already fifteen minutes away.

Be doing some serious slide reviewing tomorrow morning.

What’s up, Mari?

Date: February 3, 2010 (11:20am)
Place: UKM Library (Entry initially written at the back of my printouts)

Would you be completely weirded out if you would find some girl crying in some lone cubicle of some not-so-lone floor of some not-so-lone library? I probably would. I mean, come on. The library isn’t the place for crying. Definitely not the place for releasing everything in tears.

I mean, it’s just weird.

Which is why I am doing my absolute best to keep tears from spilling from my eyes.

No, I’m not facing some huge, gigantuous problem. And no, my research and coursework are still under control.

I want to cry because… because… because…

What’s up, Mari?

Can I let Jake Hamilton answer that question? He’s singing out “Embrace” on my mp3 player, as of writing time.

Wanna feel Your embrace
Wanna feel Your arms around me
Wanna feel Your heart beating
Next to mine…
And it’s telling me
It’s all gonna be okay… It’s all gonna be okay…
It’s all gonna be okay… It’s all gonna be okay…


Lord I want to see Your face
I want to see who I can be
I want to see what You can see
In the mirror of Your eyes
And You’re telling me
It’s all gonna be okay… It’s all gonna be okay…
It’s all gonna be okay… It’s all gonna be okay…

For I know, if Your eye is on the sparrow
Then Your heart is on me
Yes I know, If Your eye is on the sparrow
Then Your heart is on me…

To be loved so completely and so deeply by One so awesome and so great. To be so aware of His very nearness. To be told that everything’s gonna be okay. To see myself the very way that He sees me. To have His heart on me. To be loved. To simply, yet amazingly, be loved.

Sigh. Okay. Because everyone’s blogging about love, love, love, I had so set it in my heart not to – I really wanted to write something about excellence, about glory, and about increasing your value… but I guess I can’t help but let this “love thing” “creep in”.

Because how would you pursue excellence, why would you want to desire glory, and how on earth would you increase in value if you do not know Love – if you have not Love, if you desire not Love, and if you shun it away and all its mysteries?

Since the start of the year, I’ve been so fired up in wanting to be excellent in all things. “I want to be the best MS student that I can be. The best daughter that I could be. The best friend. The best worshipper. The best me.” Why? Well, because when we are glorious, as Daddy Paul says, we attract Glory.

And so I’ve been shifting my lifestyle – sleeping early, getting up a good two hours before the first class of the day begins, letting go of some things and learning to re-learn a couple of others.

But, as Paul to the Corinthian church said, without Love it is all worthless. If it is not because of Love, if it is not operated in Love, and if it does not produce Love – then why am I even doing all these????

Why? Bakit? Mengapa?

I’m realizing why Jake Hamilton is breaking me right now.

Because I am reminded once again of His love. Reminded of His embrace. And as I am reminded, I long – for Him, for His love, to be lost in His embrace. That when I do all these things – I do them IN Love. Because without Love, all these things are nothing. Without Love, I myself am nothing.

I guess the main reason why this girl is struggling not to cry in some lone cubicle of some not-so-lone floor of some not-so-lone library is because Jake Hamilton’s Embrace speaks so much about what she’s going through right now, when her own words can’t really answer the question “Kumusta ka na?”