caffeine chronicles | 02: blue bottle coffee

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We visited visited the Bay Area last July for a friend's wedding and the ceremony was held in Oakland, where Blue Bottle Coffee's headquarters is. We checked out the W.C. Morse cafe since it was the closest to our Airbnb. This particular cafe is in an historic building within the Temescal area.

marriage: i feel like a yeti

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"I'm feeling like a yeti today," I told my husband last Sunday after service. You might think that it meant I was feeling monstrous or abominable. There's a sense in which that was the case, but I used "yeti" as a code word for something more complex.

I got the idea of using a code word from Jennifer Smith's blog. I recommend that you read that article since she writes it better than I could, and she touches on most of what I personally experienced with Carlo when it comes to our communication.

But to give you an idea, we use this code word when:

making the most of unemployment

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I've been in the States for three months already. Dang, that's a full quarter. There are days when I think I'm bored, only to realize that I do have plenty of things to keep me preoccupied. I'm still in the middle of creating rhythm in my life, and the lack of routine leads me to think that I can't possibly be productive while job hunting. I know I'm wrong.

Job hunting. It's been just over a month since I officially started looking for work. The people who told me that it would be easy to get employed here probably had good intentions, but now I'm learning to manage my expectations and change my strategies for the search. Friends here in the US say it can be hard to find work even if you've been in the workforce before. Finding the right job that fits my skills and interests is tough (like I said, managing expectations!). I have work experience but it still won't make the process any easier. What's easy is for me to beat myself up for not landing a job immediately, but I am making extra effort of keeping perfectionism and guilt out of the way as I move forward.

There is an upside to all of this free time on my hands--precisely because there will most likely be no other point in my life when I would have this much free time. So what do I do with it? I try to savor it. Here's what I've been doing to make the most of my unemployed season:

1. Getting fit
This season is all about planting seeds (read: good habits). I started taking fitness more seriously last year when I got married. Carlo and I began P90X3 but because our move from the Philippines to California, exercising fell by the wayside. We were so close to finishing it but we did what we had to. We're going through P90X3 again, intent on finishing the 90 days this time. During this period of unemployment, I'm training my mind and body to crave the movement, nourishment, and rest that it needs. I'm thinking long-term here: I want to be a strong employee. A strong mom. A strong wife. I want to live long with my husband. I'm glad I'm not too busy with work and I don't have to deal with not having time to exercise, or feeling too tired to do it. Staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet. Simple things add up.

2. Feeding my mind
I've been so caught up with browsing job listings that I forgot to exercise my brain cells. No wonder I'm feeling bored. As a learner, I frequently have to be picking up a new skill or new information to process. I became single minded and made it all about the job hunt to the detriment of my continuous learning. Everyday I make a commitment to read and process the news, and visit my favorite websites . I don't go through all of the links everyday but I make sure I work out my mind, too. I'm trying to read a wider variety of books and playing brain games like those in Peak. I've also been trying to write everyday in different ways, be it blogging, writing in my journal, or typing thoughts in Evernote on my phone.

3. Reflecting on a lot of things
Reviewing my life plan, our marriage, my other relationships, my life mission. Taking inventory of my skills, strengths, weaknesses, experiences, likes, dislikes, interests, passions. Reflecting on the past 25 years of my life, as far back as I can remember and being grateful for how everything turned out.

This reflection includes learning about managing finances even before we get a regular paycheck. Just last weekend Carlo and I had a financial management primer with his cousin--he shared his knowledge of stocks and the market, bonds, and different apps he uses to manage his resources. We had a fun time and it piqued my curiosity about investments. Useful knowledge for the future, for sure.

4. Being useful around the house
My in-laws are generous enough to let Carlo and I stay with them while we are getting back on our own feet. The least I could do is help out with the chores. Carlo and I try to make sure our space is tidy, that we clean up after ourselves, and that we generally help out around the house.

5. Cultivating my relationship with the Lord
I saved the most important area for last. I had a mid-year reset and decided to revamp my Bible reading plan. I should finish reading the entire Bible again by August next year, since I started the new plan last month. I updated my prayer lists and continue journaling. But what keeps me going isn't any system that I set but rather leaning into the Gospel daily. The habit of preaching the Gospel to myself everyday humbles me and frees me from trying so hard to earn God's love, when He's already put me in a place where I'm already loved. Cultivating my relationship with Him is not about having the perfect morning routine so I can pat myself on the back and check off my daily prayers and readings from the to-do list. Rather, it's about having my priorities aligned with His so that I can live according to His design. My marriage, other relationships, my view of work and how I carry it out, my view of finances and material possessions...all of them are shaped by my relationship with God and it is indeed my most important relationship of all.

As long as I seek first His kingdom and righteousness, I have nothing to worry about despite not being employed yet (Carlo calls my status "soon-to-be-employed"). Because my identity is found in Jesus, I am not insecure despite being dependent on others for a time. I am not ashamed to be where I am right now because I know my identity is not based on any title, salary, status, or possessions.

I'm still looking, still praying, still trusting, still doing my part. There are things to learn and do for this season. Instead of being miserable, I am grateful and excited to see how things will turn around.

Have you experienced a similar season of unemployment? What did you do during that time?

blogtember 2016 | joy

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1. Blogging. If I could make a living out of blogging, I would. I've been trying to but I suppose the effort I'm putting into my blog still leaves much to be desired. Regardless of my stats and no matter how much I lament my lack of consistency, I still love blogging. I've been at it during the glory days of Xanga and LiveJournal, and I'm still at it today. It's very likely that I'll be blogging until I die.

2. Stationery. I know I'm not the only one. The office supplies section of Target, Staples, and Office Depot are my happy places. I can't explain it but I just really like paper products, all sorts of pens in different colors, and a variety of sticky notes.

3. Discovering and trying out local eats with my husband. Or doing anything with him, period. I'm glad we've reached that point where we have local favorites that we frequent.

Brunch at Eat Chow // Costa Mesa, CA
Tajima // Convoy Street
Yi Sushi // National City, CA
4. Reading. In the morning, I visit my favorite websites and blogs while eating breakfast. I get into the Word afterwards and later in the day, I work through whatever it is I'm currently reading. Reading and writing help me make sense of the world.

5. Reflecting. Like a true INFJ, I love to contemplate. What do I reflect on? My life, things I'm grateful for, my weaknesses and what I can do about them. I love to reflect on the Gospel. I reflect on the goodness of God, his bigness and my smallness, and how blessed it is to have a great God. I take stock of things that fire me up (as advised by the lovely Lara Casey), what I'm good at, what I love to do. I reflect a lot but I hope to put more action into my everyday goal-setting and thought-processing (which is why I'm excited to purchase Powersheets for the first time this year for 2017!). 

Side note:
P.S. Lara Casey and her team are giving away a grip of awesome goodies! Visit her blog for more info. I have no qualms about sharing this here because it also appeals to my stationery addict sensibilities ;)

YOUR TURN. What are some things that bring YOU joy?

blogtember 2016 | september goals

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How I lost my 2016 goals post escapes me but luckily, I typed them up in Word as a backup. I tried to set SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, timely. Those words overlap but that acronym's been helpful in keeping my goals reasonable.
I can't complain about how the year's turned out. This year and the last have been filled with transitions for me and Carlo, but we look ahead. We look forward to what God has prepared ahead. He goes before us and we are anticipating how He'll continue to direct us.

Here's a recap of my short and tentative 3rd quarter goals that I set up at the beginning of the year:


  • Go on a road trip with Carlo. Yes! We were able to visit NorCal last July and I'm really glad we got to do a road trip before the year ended.
  • Find a job. Still working on this one. I try to apply to at least 2 jobs every weekday.
  • Find a mentor (and find someone that I could mentor as well). I'm not sure how this will play out but this is my heart's desire and I'm just trying to be sensitive with how God will lead me in this.
Now that list, as I mentioned, was written at the start of 2016. As with any list of goals, it's always open to being updated and changed in some way. Now that we've made the big move back to San Diego, I can now add to this list of goals that are now affected by my new living situation. 

In addition to those items above, here are my top priorities for this month:
  • Continue daily driving practice. One of my August goals was to learn how to drive and I achieved that by taking driving lessons with an established school. It's now up to me to keep building my skills, particularly lane changing and being able to drive on the freeway. I've only driven on the freeway with my instructor and I still need Carlo to be with me when I drive, but even with a companion I'm not sure I can take the freeway just yet. By the end of 2016, I hope to do that.
  • Continue my daily Bible reading plan. Since the year started until August, I was reading consistently but I had no system. I decided to follow M'Cheyne's one-year reading plan starting last month, where I read four chapters everyday from four different books (2 from the OT and 2 from the NT). I don't need to wait until January 2017 to re-read the Bible from cover to cover.
  • Try to write everyday for the Blogtember challenge.
  • Focus on one area that I want to be an "expert" in. This month is freelance writing. I don't know if I want to pursue freelance writing while I'm job hunting, but I plan to consume as many resources as I can (ebooks, videos, articles, podcasts) about the craft. Next month will probably be all about apologetics. Anything to keep my mind engaged!
  • Continue P90X3 six times a week until we finish the 90-day schedule. We shifted from the Lean plan to the Classic plan, which involves more weight lifting so we lose weight and build muscle. The Lean plan is not necessarily better for weight loss.
  • Affirm my husband daily. Pay attention to your loved ones' love languages. It really does affect not just the person receiving love, but it also uplifts YOU. My goal is to make sure my husband knows he is loved through words of affirmation and encouragement. 
Now, my friend, if you yourself are in need of some encouragement, I am here for you and cheering you on with your goals.

blogtember 2016 | howdy

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Today's the first day of the Blogtember Challenge hosted by Bailey Jean (awwyeah!). It's my first time doing the challenge and I look forward to pushing myself to write something every day of this month.

Who indeed, Harry? Also, I hope the Hogwarts Express didn't leave you behind.
My name is Patricia and I'm married to my favorite preacher/drummer/writer/warrior poet named Carlo. I recently moved from the Philippines to sunny San Diego, California a few months ago. Jesus is my Lord and Savior, and my faith is integral to who I am. I hope to share Jesus in some way as I process and document life in this blog.

I am an INFJ and as far as Strengths Finder results go, I have Connectedness, Learner, Intellection, Input, and Empathy in that order.

I'm in the thick of job hunting, learning how to drive, and reading Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch. 

I could eat Japanese food everyday.

Two of my musical guilty pleasures are old school rap (think Nate Dogg, Bone Thugs 'N Harmony, Busta Rhymes, earlier get the picture) and 80's music.

I have three tattoos: a Hebrew word on my right wrist, peonies on my right bicep, and mountains and trees enclosed in a half circle on my right forearm. 

I enjoy writing for self-understanding and expression. This blog is my passion project, which means that whether or not I decide to monetize it, I'll always write in it and maintain it for my sanity. . Lately, I've been trying to become a morning person so I can write more but so far, my body refuses to wake up before 8am.

Dogs > cats (sorry cat people).

Currently eating a bacon maple donut from Great Maple as I type this post.

I'll keep Day 1 short and sweet. You can learn more factoids about me here. For tomorrow's post, I'll be sharing my goals for the month and the rest of the year! Hope to catch you tomorrow and looking forward to meeting more bloggers through Blogtember :)