Getting Back on the Right Path After Chasing Rabbits & Losing Sight of the Most Important Thing

*Migrated from tinyurl.com/tattlethea, Feb 22 2017

Quite recently I learned a new American idiom from my discipleship group leader: chasing rabbits.

Chasing rabbits basically means doing something irrelevant or allowing yourself to be distracted from your original agenda. The idea was derived from dogs chasing rabbits as they are walked by their owners unleashed and wouldn’t get back on track unless stopped by a powerful external force (e.g. leash, owner, rabbit going down the hole, etc.). It’s a really interesting thought that I learned in passing and I’ve realized that there’s actually so much more to it than just being an idiom.

It’s 11 in the evening, my class is at 7:30 in the morning tomorrow. I have a long exam, a paper due, group papers needed for the next day and a Math 19 (Calculus) exam the following day also. I am lacking in all motivation to do anything, I desperately want to give up and sleep and trash everything. I am a complete mess. I feel like dying. Yet right now, I’ve realized that before getting into the worries of this world, I need to get to the root of the problem: I’ve been loving the world for quite some time now and it has caused me utmost dissatisfaction and unhappiness.

I find it ironic and somehow frightening to squish in a blog post in the midst of my crisis yet this has been long overdue; I’ve known for a long time that The Lord has been pushing for me to share His Word through this website and yet, I have consistently postponed it until today. I’ve learned that God is most powerful above all things and obeying His Will would lead to the satisfaction of other things I need to be done as it was said in Matthew 6:33. So I’m testing my faith and finally putting my trust in Jesus Who will definitely see me through.

Let me tell you the most insane thought I’ve had in my head since last night up until this morning: You are useless. You should kill yourself.

I used to have thoughts like these when I was much younger but since I came to know Jesus fully, I’ve been transformed and I have found the meaning of life. I couldn’t understand why, after so many years of growing in my love for Christ, I’ve come back to my old insecure self.

It was triggered by this incident that occured last night: I broke one of my mother’s most treasured, limited edition and intricately designed wine glasses and there was no way in hell I could go out and buy her a new one. She loved them so much and so it was easy to understand her anger towards me. She became really really angry, which I completely deserved because I’ve literally been the cause of about 90% of the broken things in the house. I am one clumsy girl and I’ve ruined more of her things than mine.

In the midst of the scolding session, I began to reminisce my entire life and I remembered all the failures I’ve committed and the failures I have yet to do. I thought of how useless I was, how completely hopeless and of how I will never change no matter how hard I tried.

I figured that by killing myself, I would spare my parents of paying my intensely expensive tuition fee and I wouldn’t have to fail my Math long test and other things. I thought, “you’re going to fail your exams anyway and break more things in the house in the future, might as well just cut your losses and end things while the damage isn’t too big yet.”

I allowed my anxiety to kick in and spent a lot of time researching on how, after so many years, I was finally going to execute my plan.

And during the Sunday service today, I was completely convicted of how much love I’ve been wasting on other things which has led me to think myself this much of a disappointment. I’ve been loving the world too much, so much more than I’ve come to love God.

I’ve been chasing the rabbit of self-love, self-assurance, self-confidence, success and whatnot when at the end of the day, these things will never be enough to give me complete and uttermost happiness.

I realized, a few hours ago from now, that Jesus has been chasing me constantly as I’ve continued to chase useless rabbits that have been taking me away from His love for me.

To be honest, I’ve been quite hesitant to share my weaknesses to other people. Those who know me fully understand my ultimate reservation when it comes to emotional things because, I guess, I’m quite full of self-pride in that way. Yet finally, Jesus has given me the courage to humble myself and share my troubles with others so that He may be glorified through me.

Yet now, I’ve come to think thoroughly of my purpose for living and of the existence of everything in my life.

Para saan ba ako nabubuhay?

Am I living to get the highest possible grades? Am I living for my parents, so I can make them proud of me beyond all else? Am I living to have as many friends and loved ones as possible? Am I living for all the knowledge I love acquiring and have yet to acquire? Is my life all about earning tons of money and being more successful than what people are expecting from me?

Or am I living my life for Jesus?

All this time I have forgotten that Jesus already chose to die for me as I was busy chasing after things for self-validation. I have chosen to ignore the fact that Jesus sees me worthy enough to be loved more than anything else in the world, that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), as I sought after all sorts of distractions to make myself feel that I am enough and worth being proud of.

It’s ironic how I’ve been so passionate about investments and the stock market for quite a while now, spending most of my time learning about it, when I’ve completely ignored the most profitable and completely worth my buck investment of all: Jesus.

I don’t really know why my story is of any significance nor of why I am ever so valued and loved by Jesus Christ. I don’t understand why my ever so uninteresting circumstances are being commanded by Jesus for me to share but all I know is this:

As 2 Corinthians 2: 3, 5b says

“Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This ‘letter’ is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the Living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts….

It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.”

I sincerely hope that my simple words impacted you in any way. God bless you & I wish you had a wonderful Sunday!

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Dear Student: What To Do When You Like Someone

Just a very timely & beautiful reminder that in your brokenness, you are not alone.

It’s so relieving to know that there is someone in the world who has felt and experienced the exact same thing I am experiencing & that I can learn from her.

To the author of this post, you are a blessing! Much thanks for the wonderful & undoubtedly inspiring insight. 🙂💕

Sharing the love I received!

Dear Student,

I have something to say first, because maybe you have heard from some people that you should not like someone. Maybe you’ve been told that you’re too young to develop such attraction. I’ve had a lot of voices like that in my life. I grew up feeling condemned and sinful whenever I had a crush on someone because there were those who told me that I shouldn’t be having any crush at all. Having a crush meant I wasn’t fixated enough on God. Liking someone meant I would be distracted from God. Admiring meant I would be sinning emotionally. (If you have never heard these statements before in your life, you can skip ahead to the numerated part of this post).

Don’t get me wrong, I do understand where they were coming from and I appreciate the heart behind it. However, experiences like those left me scarred, dubious…

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How to Make the Best Chocolate Muesli Cookies for Beginners

I was haggard as hell last night but making these cookies was a decision I definitely do not regret. So I baked these guys for a tea party I was going to, but I never expected them to turn out this scrumptious. 

Continue reading if you wanna know how to bake the chunkiest, chewiest and fudgiest chocolate muesli cookies ever!

Inspired by this recipe from Food Network but because it had a lot of bad reviews, I decided to switch things up a bit. 🙂

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Ingredients

2 sticks of margarine, at room temperature

2 cups of brown sugar

2 large eggs (preferably native)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup Ricoa cocoa powder

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

10-13 tablespoons of Muesli (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and using a mixer, cream everything until it becomes a semi-homogenous mixture.
  3. Gradually add the eggs and the vanilla extract to the butter and the sugar mixture.
  4. On a medium bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (salt, flour, baking soda, cocoa powder, muesli) and mix well.
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients while continuously mixing the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla until it turns into a kind of pasty consistency.
  6. Prepare a baking tray and line it with parchment paper.
  7. Using an ice cream scoop, fill the baking tray with scoops of the cookie dough until completely filled. Make sure to leave room for when the cookie expands and flattens.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

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Best served with milk and/or yoghurt!

I had these for breakfast this morning and they were absolutely delightful.

Top 10 Forgotten Musicians Millennials Need to Revisit

Since we are a generation being ruled by Drake, Kanye West and whatnot in the music department, I realized that it would be nice to share something a little different from the usual go-to playlist.

I’ve listened to these artists all my life and I just thought it would be interesting to share with my fellow millennials.

I mean, modern day music is alright and modern day artists are great but nothing will ever compare to the glorious magic vintage music can bring to the hearts of its listeners.

It’s quite sad that people barely listen to vintage music anymore so here’s a little tribute to my favorite artists of all time.

10. Peggy Lee

peggy-lee

Best 5: Fever, You Belong to Me, I’m Confessin’, A Kiss to Build a Dream On, Ole Buttermilk Sky

Peggy Lee was an American jazz singer, songwriter and composer among others. Although some of her songs (e.g. Ole Buttermilk Sky) were originally sang by other artists, there’s just something oddly alluring with the way her voice is projected through her music that will keep you coming back for more.

9. Andy Williams

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Best 5: Can’t Get Used to Losing You, Moon River, Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, Hopeless, A Fool Never Learns

Andy’s songs range from one genre to another. You’ll see that some of his pieces are similar to Frank Sinatra’s style while he also sang blues and Christian songs. My favorite among his pieces would definitely be Moon River.

8. Etta James

etta-james

Best 5: At Last, Sunday Kind of Love, Trust in Me, Lover Man (Oh Where Can He Be?), Something’s Got a Hold on Me

Etta James sang one of my most favorite songs of all time: At Last. Her powerful voice always manages to capture the intense emotions being projected in her songs. One of the best.

7. Dean Martin

dean-martin

Best 5: Volare (Nel Blu Di Pinto Di Blu), Nobody’s Baby Again, It Just Happened That Way, You’ll Always Be the One I Love, (Remember Me) I’m the One Who Loves You

Dean Martin was also an American singer but the music he sang varied in language. Volare is an Italian remake (originally sang by Domenico Modugno) but I’m sure you’d prefer his version. I know I do.

6. Mel Tormé

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Best 5: Blue Moon, Poor Little Extra Girl, Comin’ Home Baby, L.A., I’ve Got You Under My Skin

I will always love Mel Tormé’s version of Blue Moon. He was an American jazz singer but he also sang songs of different genres.

5. Frank Sinatra

frank-sinatra

Best 5: Fly Me to the Moon, Love Walked In, The Way You Look Tonight, That’s Life, You Make Me Feel So Young

Frank Sinatra is the best mainly because he is Frank Sinatra. He’s the OG Michael Bublé and the best one at that.

4. Charles Aznavour

charles-aznavour

Best 5: Il Faut Savoir, For Me Formidable, Plus Bleu Que Tes Yeux, Oui, Je T’aime

Charles Aznavour is still alive and even I can’t believe that (I’m kidding!). My favorite would definitely be Il Faut Savoir because it perfectly encapsulates the image of a broken heart.
Il faut savoir rester de glace et taire un cœur qui meurt déjà.
(One must know to remain cold and hush about a heart that is dying.)

But for real, I will always love Charles Aznavour because his songs, even though majority of them are in French, are as phenomenal as his ability to withstand aging.

3. Billie Holiday

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Best 5: Gloomy Sunday, Stormy Weather, Say It Isn’t So, I’ll Be Seeing You, On the Sunny Side of the Street

I’m currently loving Stormy Weather as of the moment but let’s be honest, nobody can ever not like Billie Holiday’s songs. There’s something about her voice that would make you fall in love over and over again.

2. Nat King Cole

nat-king-cole

Best 5: Answer Me My Love, L-O-V-E, The Very Thought of You, Let’s Fall in Love, Love is a Many Splendored Thing

Nat King Cole makes me believe true love actually exists because all of his songs are so heartfelt and so meaningful. My current favorite is his version of The Very Thought of You. I really love the way he sings the lyrics to the song, especially these:

I see your face in every flower
Your eyes in stars above
It’s just the thought of you,
The very thought of you, my love

1. Edith Piaf

edith-piaf

Best 5: Milord, Padam Padam, Non Je Ne Regrette Rien, Paris, Les Amants de Paris

I don’t think there’s any other artist in the world who can ever be better than Edith Piaf. She was the original singer of La Vie En Rose which, I’m sure everyone has already heard. When I listen to Edith, I feel like I’m walking along the romantic streets of Paris. You’ll know what I’m talking about when you start to listen to her, too. 

Although not enough words would ever be enough to justify the astonishing beauty of these artists, this is the best that I could do. I hope you enjoyed!

Wanna check them out? Here’s a Spotify playlist for your benefit. 😉

Here’s a link to the playlist if it doesn’t work:  https://open.spotify.com/user/zabala.thea/playlist/1LnSI5bTZFpPGOcpnKlTKZ

Post-High School Journal: When Your Future Starts to Seem Hazy, Trust in Him

As a kid, I was very very insecure. It wasn’t my parents’ fault, it wasn’t anyone’s fault, actually. I guess it was because as a middle child, you can’t help but be insecure when you’re an average-minded kid sandwiched by intelligent siblings. But even when I was insecure, I still had a strong relationship with my family, especially with both of my sisters. I have looked up to my eldest sister, Ate Gail, basically my entire life. She was kindhearted, really smart, sometimes really peevish but she embodied, in my eyes, the type of young woman I should be. So when she got into UP four years ago, it was only natural for me to want to go to the same university as well.

Since then, we’ve had this family dream of the three of us siblings having our UP sablay(s) displayed along the staircase of our humble home. It was a family joke that we all looked forward to. It was a dream we all shared but deep inside I was afraid that I’d be the one to break it because that would mean I became a disappointment again.

Little did I know that that would come true. But instead of being a disappointment,  The Lord maneuvered the course of my life and showed everyone that He was with me and that He was going to bring me to His greener pasture.

The CET results came out in December 2015. I thought I would not get into my supposed dream college but The Lord allowed me to pass. I got into UP Baguio and to top it all off, the Lord also allowed me to get into the Ateneo with my first course choice. I couldn’t believe it and nobody could believe it, either. It was impossible for anyone to comprehend how an average mind like mine could actually have a chance of getting into the top 2 universities in the country. Everyone knew that it was The Lord Who answered my CETs for me and I was beyond grateful.

For the entirety of the time, my parents were sure they were going to send me to UPB to study for a year then to transfer to Diliman, just as my Ate Gail did. I was okay with everything at first but the problems started to arise when I began to feel hostile towards UP. I didn’t even understand why I felt that way but I started to not want to study there anymore. It bothered everyone in my family, including myself, but my parents naturally still wanted me to pursue our plan A.

My parents choosing to not let me enroll in any college is even more plausible that them choosing to enroll me in the Ateneo, or any other university for that matter, when UP was in the equation. I knew that by heart and so, I obeyed my parents and asked The Lord to help me be grateful to Him under all circumstances. And so, by His Grace, I was able to wholeheartedly obey my parents.

And because The Lord was and is good, He did something that was beyond my imagination. In April 2016, I received an email from UP Baguio. They informed me that because of the small number of qualifiers who confirmed to UPB, we were all getting absorbed into UP Manila. To top it off, we could choose any course in UPM and we’d get in.

I thought that getting into UPM was so much better than having to live a thousand kilometers away from my family. I thought that UP Manila was a much better option than anywhere else. But even then, I was wrong because God proved to me that He was The God of the impossible when He manipulated all circumstances just to bring me to my land of milk and honey.

After parking our car in Robinsons Manila for my medical exam, my mother, my little sister & I began walking to UP-PGH. I was ready to enroll in UPM and experience the Manila life. We were even going to rent out a condo unit at Studio 87 on that same day. Everything was all set.

That was until while walking along Taft avenue, a random man suddenly stole my mother’s earrings. He cursed at us while doing that but he came in so swiftly that we had a hard time comprehending what was actually happening. I had my pepper spray with me and even got to spray him with it but he got away with the earrings anyway.

Haly, my little sister, and I were petrified. I started to get teary-eyed like the annoyingly sheltered little girl I was, even if I was already 18 years old, but my mother decided to just let everything pass. “Earrings lang naman ‘yun,” she said. And so we continued walking. But when we were about five steps away from the main gate of UP-PGH, a group of policemen stopped us.

A series of events occurred but through the experience, we learned about so many frightening incidents that happen on an hourly basis in that area. I’d rather not get into details but to make the long story short, my parents decided that UP Manila was not the university for me. After this incident, my mother decided to drop by UP Diliman and see if we could do anything about my college situation.

At that moment, I had no college to go to. The confirmation period for the Ateneo had passed for about a month already and since UP Manila was out of the question, I had no college to go to. But a spark of hope in me believed that I would, at long last, finally get to go to Ateneo. Actually, it wasn’t hope. I was begging The Lord to just let me go to Ateneo, instead. It became my first option. I realized that I did not want to go anywhere else but there.

And so, by some miracle, everything in relation to UP became hazy paths. Basically, if I didn’t enroll in UPM then I wouldn’t get to study in UP at all. My parents finally decided to give Ateneo a try. Despite being fully against the said university under all circumstances, they finally realized that The Lord was pushing for me to get there. When my parents paid for my confirmation fee and later on, my tuition fee, they were surprisingly happy and proud of me anyway. They all knew that God’s mighty hand was at work and that He brought me to where He wanted me to be.

So here we are, a few months past. I’m an official Atenean with an Ateneo ID and everything. Even I can’t believe it, to be honest. I never would have thought that I’d ever even want to be an Atenean.

Here’s the thing, the greatest lesson I learned from all these things is the fact that no matter where you are or no matter where you want to be, you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be at this exact moment. God is always working behind the scenes to bring you to His greener pasture. Just keep that in mind when you start to feel like all else is failing. I didn’t but God proved Himself faithful to me, anyways.

So to all seniors out there who are worried about what college you’re going to, just ask The Lord to guide You and He will always prove Himself faithful anyways. It doesn’t matter what school you end up getting in. Sometimes, you get to have the best things in unexpected packages.

I love you, but I’m not waiting for you.

A few days back, I stumbled upon this blog post on Facebook. Although I cannot relate to the sentiments of the writer as of now, I’m pretty sure my time will come one day. I just thought it would be nice to leave this here for anybody who might find it as beautiful as I did!

charlene manalang

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Dear Friend,

From telling you simple greetings like “Good morning” and “Good night” to random things like what I’m doing, where I’m going and who I’m with, all the way down to my deepest emotions, fears and desires, I have devolved into just saying “Hello” and mostly “Good bye.”

I used to tell you everything.

There are so many things I want to tell you. From the most random things like I cried while watching ‘Finding Dory’ and I cried more while watching ‘Me Before You’ down to the most blissful things like I’m becoming a better writer, singer, daughter, sister, discipler, disciple, servant and friend, I want to tell you everything.

There are so many questions I want to ask you. From the most generic questions like “Have you eaten?” “What are you doing?” and “How was your day?” down to the most difficult questions like “Are you okay?”…

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