Days 7-13

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It has now been two weeks since I started this daily journal/writing project! Here are last week's entries.

Day 7: In and Out
I am a self-improvement junkie. This is probably why I have such an affinity for personality tests and LifeHacker type content——self-awareness paves the way for self-improvement. But over the course of wanting to refine my daily processes, I’ve learned that a measure of acceptance and release is needed.
A kind of acceptance that embraces the present while rejecting mediocrity. Refuse to settle but accept first what makes you /you/.
A kind of letting go that relinquishes complete control over life. Holding on to life with a death grip is a dangerous way to live. Absolute control over our circumstances is an illusion.

It’s like breathing. Take in what you can and need, exhale the rest. Both are needed to thrive.

Days 5 and 6: On planning your leisure and quitting Whole30 (for now)

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Day 5: On planning your leisure

People spend their leisure time in different ways. This is something I had to learn the hard way. Early in our marriage, I would look at my husband’s “man cave” time as a waste. I didn’t even acknowledge it as man cave time—a special part of the day and week to himself to rest and enjoy.

But some days, our leisurely activities can also end up being just a complete time suck when it’s not planned. What does that look like? Me, spending hours scrolling mindlessly on Instagram.

Free time shouldn’t equal wasted time. It may seem odd to plan but since time is a non-renewable resource, I think it’s worth the effort to be intentional about what goes on even in my free time and to not just wing it. Granted, there are days when I just want to laze about and do absolutely nothing. But for the better part of the year, month, week, and yes, even day, I want to pursue life-giving leisure that allows me to still recharge while bringing me closer to my goals. Now what that looks like is something to brainstorm about this coming weekend. ;)

Day 6: Quitting Whole30 (for now)

After 5 days, I quit Whole30. I quit because I was no longer looking forward to eating, I had no extremely bad habits to break, and it required more time to prepare the food than I realized. For that last point, I would chalk it up to lack of planning. Add in the fact that I was doing it by myself and while C was supportive, I think it would have been easier for me had I followed the rules to a T with someone.
Lettuce with ground beef, carrots, and potato

The fanciest chicken sausage salad I've ever assembled
Sweet potato strips, egg, and Italian sausage

I learned to eat chia seeds! Pictured: chia seeds with almond milk, banana, berries, and coconut flakes

Egg frittata with leftover lettuce wrap filling, roasted plantain chips, berries

It seemed like I was never eating enough so I was ALWAYS hungry. Again, perhaps it’s just lack of planning. I still learned a lot about myself during those 5 days so it was not a complete failure. For instance, I gained a better understanding of how much I eat when I'm bored. I lost 3 pounds (!). Restricting myself showed me just how much harmful stuff is in the food we eat if we’re not careful. For 5 days, I proved to myself that I could make better choices.

Whole30 may be a great way to reset your gut and I know it has done wonders for many people, but I need to plan even better for me to last the entire month. I'm just not ready. Not yet. And even if it doesn't work out in my second attempt, that's okay too.

Days 3 and 4: The Happy Wanderer / Melatonin and Me

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 Day 3: The Happy Wanderer

Sounds like a nice blog name. Someone’s probably registered that already.

I wasn’t paying enough attention to this particular Sopranos episode to know who the actual happy wanderer was. The old lady that just died? Tony Soprano’s estranged uncle who’s also passed away?


I am a stranger in a foreign land. This is my second exile, the first being exiled from my True Home. How does one thrive in Babylon?

“5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” - Jeremiah 29:5-7

It’s true. We reap what we sow. As much as I miss the Philippines, I’m blessed to be here. I embrace this new home fully and I’m growing to love it more every day.

Day 4: Melatonin and Me

Two years ago my friend introduced me to the sleep aid melatonin, which occurs naturally in the body. For those of us in need of something to  wind down faster and sleep deeper, added melatonin is available in pill form.

C and I use Schiff Melatonin Ultra. It has melatonin (3 mg), theanine, GABA, and an herbal blend that supposedly helps you “fall asleep faster and wake up refreshed.” If my sleep is uninterrupted once it kicks in, the pill actually works quite well. If I don’t get enough, I wake up groggy instead of revived and this was precisely what happened today. Leftover melatonin plus our Tempurpedic mattress (aka cloud bed) made it challenging to get up today. I dreaded the day and it was only 6am.

C and I had to go to work earlier than planned so we set our alarm back one hour. When my phone alarm went off, I pressed "stop" instead of snooze and I was mildly irritated that we had to go so early. I was too comfortable and every cell in my body was protesting—I was a brick in bed and no sense of urgency would have moved me. C subversively woke me up by opening the blinds before I restart my sleep cycle.

Here is a metaphor for life according to our bed: It’s so hard to move out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, someone just has to open the blinds to let the sunlight in and wake you up, so that your brain gets a kickstart. Even if it annoys you, take it and be grateful for it. You need a measure of discomfort to get you off your butt so you can do what you’re meant to do. Even if you have to roll out of bed one leg at a time first, surrender to the stimulus then hit the ground running.

Day 2: Holiday Hangover

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I’m sitting at my office desk,  natural light flooding in because the coworker I share this space with is out.  I can get away with not turning on the fluorescent lights that mask the time of day. There’s an old tree in the distance. Something to look at when my eyes get tired. I love this stillness and this feeling in my belly that wants to lift me up. It could be the caffeine and the Cherry Pie Larabar I just ate, but it’s there and I want to cup it in my hands. I don’t want it to disappear.

There’s only so much energy in my body, only so many words.

I just want to write, write, write. To distract myself. To keep myself from going insane.

It’s been about an hour already and my coffee’s getting cold. Time to get back to work.


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Happy Independence Day to my American friends! Because today's a holiday, I figured I had plenty of time to write. So I wrote two post drafts today but decided that both of them are too underdeveloped to be shared. This leaves us with a short and sweet entry about my current faves right.

READING: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and Dwell: Life with God for the Sake of the World by Barry D. Jones

LISTENING TO: The Baby Driver soundtrack.

WATCHING: Breaking Bad and The Sopranos. Two of the greatest TV shows ever made.

WEARING: A red Madewell blouse pictured above (which I found for a steal at Buffalo Exchange at Hillcrest) and denim shorts for 4th of July. I'm also a huge fan of these mules that I got from Latigo Shoes.

Perfume should count here, right? Lately I've been drawn to the original Chloe perfume. It was a hit in the office, which actually made me wonder if I was putting on too much. I try not to but I guess the perfume is just that strong. Perfumes can be a hit or miss since the scent changes depending on who's wearing it. For Chloe though, I like how well it blends with my body chemistry so it doesn't smell old lady-ish on me.

LOVING: Being 26. I think turning 26 last month made me feel like I'm more of an adult than I was at 25. Maybe it's because it moved me closer to turning 30? I'm paying more bills? I can drive on my own now? Whatever the case, I'm happy with where I am and with taking things one day at a time. This has been my healthiest year yet and I can see discipline and some measure of consistency bearing fruit. It truly pays to be patient. #progressnotperfection

LOOKING FORWARD TO: Making the most of this season and leaving a positive impact at work, becoming a better wife,  the deep work God is doing in my heart everyday to make me look more like Christ.

Day 1: Freedom

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It’s thrilling to see that title. Why wait for September 22? That’s 80 days from now. So cheers to Day 1/100. Thank you, Camille Pilar for the inspiration.


Today is America’s 241st year as an independent nation. On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies had enough of Britain and they signed the Declaration of Independence. There is so much of US history that I don’t know about and I’m hungry for more. After all, I live here now. I think I owe it to myself to understand my new context past and present.


I was born on Independence Day.

The Philippine Independence Day, that is. Our first president declared in writing that June 12 1898 is our Independence Day from Spain. But after the Spaniards turned over sold the Philippines to the United States for $20 million through the Treaty of Paris, more fighting ensued. While our ancestors were free on paper, they remained in bondage. The U.S. “granted” the Philippines its official Independence Day on July 4, 1946 and for a while, we shared the same day of commemoration as the US.

Who gets to say when someone is free?


Today I am free because of the Unchanging One’s promise, his life, death, and resurrection. Who the Son sets free is free indeed. But in the midst of the eternal freedom I have, there are still little chains that need to be broken. I declare independence from materialism in a culture of excess. I declare independence from self-medication apart from His care and wanting to run away from my obligations. I declare independence from persistent doubt, an inattentive ear, a fearful spirit.

Because I am free, I am able to choose simplicity, accept correction, embrace responsibility, question doubt, discover truth, be fully there, and face each day with courage.