Photo Diary #212: January 20, 2019 Sunday, God’s Five Purposes for Your Life

Something to ponder on and work hard at every day…

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Photo Diary #208: January 16, 2019 Wednesday, ANU Clinic

Found out that I have PCOS but it is quite common, so I am not bothered at all. Plus, there are a lot to be thankful for. All my other tests are normal and God has direcred me towards Dr. Melissa. She’s so comforting and I will be with working with her, and a dietician until July to help fix my menstrual problem.

I will have to work with a dietician. Woah. Hahahaha. If anyone is reading this, try the yearly declarations… It is so true. My year has started off with everything health-related. I also stopped drinking soda…praying for this success. Honestly, I just want to live healthy consistently.

Forgot to take photo, so here’s a photo of my mom. LOL

And oh, we watched Instant Family today… The only movie mama finished watching with me in the cinema hahahaha.

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Year 2018: Reflections

Looking Back:

*What are the things you did that you’re proud of?*

For 2018, I am most proud of consistently providing for the needs of my parents, tithing, and sacrificing my wants for the wants of others every month.. Some say it’s too much, but for me knowing that my parents and my siblings have something to eat and enjoy on is more gratifying. I am also proud of managing my finances well; I had reached my target savings while also taking care of myself and my family as the breadwinner. I thank God for all of this and for giving me a full-time job with Appen for the summer and the continuous hours until May or June! With this savings, I was able to pay for everything for my mother’s short stay in Australia with me. I did feel proud when I was able to sponsor her and use my bank account as evidence. It has been one of my dreams to tour my parents without them having to spend a single penny.  Because of working hard, I didn’t have to worry about our comfort because I can pay for our hotel in the cities and flights around Australia. But these accomplishments all point to me being an independent woman finally, at 27!

I’m also proud of myself for accepting the Appen Apollo projects and not allowing fear to cripple me. True enough, fear was temporary and created. It’s only through engagement that I gained new skills: escalating risks which eventually led for higher rate for China in general, dealing with non-Latin complex projects involving around half million utterances. I would have not known I’m capable of handling those big projects if I allowed fear to block me. Bit by bit, I got used to online global meetings, high profile emails, and responding to questions with ‘I am not sure’ or ‘I have no idea’, accepting the fact that I can be wrong and not know the answer. Lastly, I‘m proud of all my HDs for this semester because they reflect the effort I put in – with Appen work on the side for the past semesters.

*What mistakes you made?*

I think one mistake I made is saying no to social gatherings and putting my health on the sidelines. I realised I need to change this when I went to Sydney with my mama, seeing mothers traveling with their husband and children. A question I have been asking was ‘how can I enjoy my time with my family if I am this big and I’m usually exhausted even after just a few steps’. It’s disgusting. It’s about time I put my health as a top priority and myself. My hair hasn’t been cut, my night routine involves scrolling through FB and watching Youtube videos, and my irregular menstruation was disregarded. More importantly, I didn’t spend too much time as I normally have with God! That’s the biggest mistake for me! Not committing to a church family. Although I attend Saddleback church online, it’s no substitute for a present church where I interact with people personally.

*What were your favorite memories for this year?*

The three-day stay in Sydney with my mama for sure, but to be honest I enjoy the mundane more… and so the fondest memories for me are going to Copland for the lectures and Baldessin building for the tutes, the busy productive nights and roller coaster weeks of academic semesters, the chats with professors and classmates.  I love it so much! I am willing to do it again!

*What went well this year?*

Uhm, straight (high) HDs (but again it comes with a price, my health!)

*What is the biggest lesson you learned in 2018?*

Make time for God and you will have more than enough time. You cannot serve two masters at the same time is a bible passage, but it doesn’t ring true to me until this year when I work and study at the same to provide for my parents. Pick God first, and you will have enough energy for other things. What happened was I always put off God, telling him I had to respond to this email, then to another email. The truth is, those emails won’t stop, so I have to pause and choose God every time!

Looking Ahead:

*What’s one limiting story you’re ready to let go of before the New Year?*

I’m willing to let go of the story that my life doesn’t matter, that I can never change, and most of all, that all this is temporary! It is, but God is a good God. As long as we put Him first in our lives, then we don’t have to fear the future. No effort can substitute for God’s mercy and grace! While this is true though, it doesn’t mean I should stop giving and tithing, for it’s God’s way of testing our heart.

*What do you want to do differently in the New Year?*

I have a few things in mind, more of a checklist, but my mantra is going to be ‘Year of God and Good Health’, so definitely not binging on Facebook and Youtube, standing at least three hours a day and exercising at least two hours a day, and of course removing coke from my diet, and working on my relationship with my God!

*What advice would you give to yourself in the next year?*

Kayla, it’s not done yet. You still have another year. Get out of yourself, it’s tiring I know, but it’s a responsibility. Use whatever you learned to give back to the community in the Philippines, and prepare for your next adventure. It’s gonna be another five years in another country, so do not give up yet. More importantly, put God first and your health second. As long as you have these two intact, all else will fall into place. You will have more energy and peace of mind to work on your thesis, to grind on your Appen work on the side, work on your proposals for Phd to universities abroad, and travel and enjoy the beauty of the world. God and health, remember!

*Gratitude Prayer*:

God, thank you so much for 2018! It has been a ride! But through it all, You’ve been with me. I met new people and parted with some people; struggled with most courses while coursed through others; struggled with making ends meet for the first half of the year but enjoyed the financial rewards in the last six months; stayed idle and closed off to the world, centered on my Appen work and academics for most of the year yet traveled with my mama around Sydney, fulfilling my dream on the last week of 2018. Surely, everything takes time. There’s a time for sowing and a time for reaping. Thank you because You have never left! Thank you for this little sense of pride in me! Thank you for telling me that I am enough always! Thank you for showing me the beauty of Australia and the amazing excellent courses and professors I had at ANU! Thank you for walking with me for the past year as always! As I bid farewell to it, I again surrender my past, my present and my future (esp. my thesis! hehehe) to You! Welcome 2019, Year of God and Good Health!

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Letter to Jesus: Happy Birthday!

Dear Kuya Jesus,

Happy birthday! Ito naman tayo, ahahahahah! I can’t believe I’m writing this letter at Toad Hall in Canberra, Australia. This shows how you’ve blessed me for the past years. I want to thank you for everything, for choosing to be born into this world to save us, for dying on the cross and for being the best kuya ever! Ahahahahaha. I want to honor You with my life, my choices, my lips, my heart, my finances. Everything kuya. IT’s been a rough 14 years for us, but what still holds true is Your unfailing love and compassion. Rick is right, I must not base Your love on what I feel, on what I think… because the truth that You love us despite our shortcomings still remains. You are the same yesterday, today and forever, and so I give my past, present and future to You!

You say I am enough when my heart and the people say I’m not

You say it’s okay while they say I’m unworthy to be forgiven

You say I’m loved when people say I am not


I’m sorry if I keep this small notebook and read my prayers every day. I treat you like a vending machine for the past year. I’m sorry God. But you know it’s just to keep track and to keep me at ease knowing that You are here, aware of my petty concerns.


God, You are that hand that tucks me in at night when I cannot sleep

God, You are that warm breeze that keeps me at peace amidst my throbbing heart and clammy hands

God, You are the whisper that assures me everything is okay

God, You are those soft eyes that choose not to judge me when I’m being too arrogant

God, You are that coach who guides me what to do

God, You are the peaceful assurance that I CAN despite what others say

God, You are that laughter when I complain, trying to keep it light

God, You are that silent thug in me, pushing me forward

God, You are that voice that do not judge me whenever I miss a service, although you keep on reproving me in this area of my life

God, You never nagged.

God, You never choke me with SHOULDs. Instead you keep on reminding me to rest

God, You are too busy pointing out the goods instead of the bads in me.

God, You did not give up on me when I was about to give up on myself.


Thank you so much Kuya for protecting us and granting our prayers. I love you Kuya. I have to work on staying close and getting closer to You each day for the next year. I thank you Kuya Jesus for:


Miraculously healing my sister and removing her cysts,

Changing my coordinator’s heart. I can’t believe she’s praising me now. What happened?

Granting my mama’s visa. You know it’s my dream. Thank you also for telling me not to ask my mama to undergo the health exams anymore. We trusted and You delivered.

Providing me with a job. I remember I was looking for jobs online because Appen was not too busy around June-July. As usual, I was anxious again. I had a lot of what ifs. What if I don’t earn enough, what if…And then now, I work 4o hours a week!

Helping me hit my target savings! I remember I only asked for this amount and after a year, I can’t believe I am actually earning what I put in the notebook! I thought it’s just wishful thinking, now it’s my reality. True enough, in an instant you can make a poor man rich (Sirach 11:20-21). I held on to this for such a long time. I still remember pawning my mama’s gift because I was at a rat race. I promised myself that that won’t happen again. I cried out to you, and You answered me! God, you are a great God!

Giving me all HDs for the past two semesters. You also granted my prayer of getting all HDs in all of my papers and take-homes and quizzes. I worked hard on them, but even though at times I faltered, You didn’t. You still gave me those HDs.

Stopping me from taking the assistantship. True enough, I can’t even move now. I  feel so tired every after my Appen working hours. How much more if I got into that Summer Scholarship. I also know that You have a purpose. And I trust You.

Reminding me that having a church family is important!

Thank you for teaching me that all blessings come from You. Working hard is important, but it’s not everything. We still have to anchor ourselves to you and source our strength and courage from You.

Thank you for teaching me the importance of timing. If it’s time, it will surely happen.

Thank you for bringing people in my life also who correct me so I can see my blind spots, and work on them.

Thank you for teaching me how to bake through Melda, for teaching me how to be confident, and loving.

Thank you most of all for clarifying my goals. I want to be a professor that’s it. I want to live a normal simple life but still able to provide for my parents and siblings, and family. I want to be the best mother and wife.

While I’m in my season of waiting, I found this to be helpful after hearing grandpas shared what they loved about their wives:

I must take care of my husband. Make him breakfast, prepare his lunchbox and welcome him with love during dinner;

Listen to him and support him;

Nag not. He has his way of being, and that’s just a fact of life;

Find a way to show him every day how I love, respect, and support him ;

Date every week

Thank you Jesus for everything especially for the past 2018, a Year of Excellence, which has been true for me.  I love you Kuya Jesus. Happy birthday!


Yours always,


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It’s funny that the photo chosen by Marilyn is a plant in a pot… God’s response to my wilt flower.

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Photo Diary #159: November 28, 2018 Wednesday, Show me the way God

The Wednesday session for CoEDL Summer School is optional, so I decided not to attend to rest… Although I felt I slept well, I still am weak. I guess, the weakness doesn’t really stem from being fatigued physically cos I had to walk from Toad Hall to Molonglo theater every day and still have to work 8 hours at night. Today, I feel the need to write it all out here…

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Since I only stayed at Toad Hall the whole day, attended the weekly meeting with Nic and Sinney for Apollo Mandarin, I didn’t have a picture. To represent what I feel, I got this wilt flower. To be honest, I do not know myself anymore. I feel like working nonstop without knowing the reason for all the efforts. I feel guilty for traveling to Europe as a birthday gift when I could use the money to pay my parents’ debt intsead which I intend to do. I haven’t started out with life yet, but I’m already tired… I’m tired of feeling stupid, inadequate, unworthy and useless. I’m tired of giving myself up, and not really feeling being appreciated- as if all those sacrifices are nothing cos they would repay me anyway.  I see myself as someone ready to die tomorrow, and the world will never even notice. I sometimes wonder what the efforts are for… I give, and give, I work hard and try to excel and I always end up being mediocre. I work hard for my grades for example… and only to realise once it comes down to really picking the candidate, professor will choose the other one over me… I think that’s the reason why I don’t care anymore. Sometimes I think all the accomplishments were just my imagination – the professor telling me how impressive my work is, how fellow student leaders praise me for my teaching and leadership (in the past)… I am constantly running after something I couldn’t even grasp. And I’m just FUCKING exhausted. Can I go to Europe without feeling guilty? Can I respond no without feeling bitchy? Can I speak out my mind without being bossy? Can I be me? Can I be me even for just today. Part of the problem is putting all my eggs in one basket – in grades in being excellent at one thing, when I put other areas of my life on hold- relationships, self, and even enjoyment. I feel so small! everything I thought I was is wrong! All of it – my being summa cum laude, my HD grades, all of it! I don’t even know where I stand anymore. My mind is so mslal, I can’t think beyond what I write for example in my to-do list… What is there for? What do I even fight for? Why do I even do this? Why does it even matter? Is my life worth it at all? Am I worthy to be loved too? Am I worthy to listen to? How I wish I am fluent! How I wish I don’t second guess myself everytime. How I wish I think more critically. How I wish I am more confident than the others… I am so tired! And I feel I need to love myself more! I have always put myself aside. My writing sucks, my speaking sucks, my teaching sucks, my body sucks, my ego sucks… Is there anything right about me God? Is there? Cos I don’t know anymore… No one has even asked me how I am… But I hold on to what you promised God… every single tear, every single sweat every single sacrifice never pass you by.  I guess, it’s time to live in integrity in everything no matter how small, in humility, in aiming after you… Then everything will fall into place. God teach me, and show me the way…

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Photo Diary #156: November 25, 2018 Sunday, Toad Hall

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I also started preparing my mother’s itinerary for her visa application…

So help us God


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Photo Diary #147: November 16, 2018 Friday, Work

I could not concentrate the whole day. I was anxious cos we were trying to reach the 88 percent QA. Prayer is the best tool…

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Photo Diary #128: October 28, 2018 Sunday, Toad Hall/Shout to the Lord, Musings

I shout to the Lord and praise God for His mighty love!

God, thank you for not giving up on me! I was supposed to give my dream up and give up on myself.. but You told me straight up, “no, it’s going to happen!” And you brought me here! Surely, your promises are incomparable! No one can tell me not to believe because You already did say it’ll happen! I hold on to You! God! Thank you! The more I think about all the failures, I see your favours clearly! Jesus, thank you so much! I love you! I still remember that vividly. I still remember the time when I asked you, “am I really talking to You?” and you responded to an 11-year-old me, “ask whatever you want now”… and I said, “I want lechon manok?” And you laughed… and then lo,  mama came home with lechon manok. Hahahahaha. And kuya Jesus, I would often come to You whenever people bullied me or whenever I hurt people…And You would often hug me and told me, we’re always together, and that’s your promise. People might fail me, but You will never ever leave Your kim-kim. You’re my coach, my trainer, my wisdom, my guide! It has been a long journey for us. You haven’t given up God! And that’s the biggest gift you have given me. Our relationship is the best thing. Remember when I was just 15. I remember, no one could find our promise ring in the church, your half. And I still vividly remember, I told you after leaving it there that you should let me know if you got your ring through your rain. And when I stepped out of the church, it rained hard. And when I asked all the altar boys and convent boys, they couldn’t find the wrapped gift with my letter. Those were the fondest moments I had God! And I still remember when people bullied me, you told me whenever I see butterflies then I would know that You are near… I miss those simple miracles. Especially when our promise ring fell off into the sink, and then I prayed and I cried the whole night,  but the next morning I woke up with our engagement ring back in my hand. And when those stopped, you told me, “You don’t need those miracles, You are a big girl now”.  All my life… all my successes from failures built our relationship together. I will forever love you Kuya Jesus! People called me stupid, fat, and everything but You believed in me Kuya Jesus.  No sinful act can separate me from Your love. I also still remember when I didn’t win the NDEA oration at Kidapawan. I sighed but smiled and said, it’s sad cos I ended my oration career this way. And then a month after, I didn’t know You will bring me to UP Diliman to bag the National Oration title. You’ve always overturned all my negative expectations. I mean look at how I write.. but You bless all my papers. No one would understand… but I know cos I know how stupid I am sometimes and how ugly my writing is. WITH YOU NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE! So who am I to boast after all these experiences? You have the right to give and the right to take away. We’re always at your mercy, and like a wife who’s willing to submit, I submit my heart, my future to You because You are faithful, You are kind, generous and merciful and loving! I can handle everything as long as I know You are beside me. It’s been 27 years God. But my love for You gets stronger and stronger each day. I still remember the time while I was 15, when the rumours about You and Magdalene spread, I imagined holding your hand while telling you, even if it’s true Kuya Jesus, I am still here for you. It does not matter. And I remember you’re hugging me tight and telling me it’s not. I always heard your voice, and nothing compares to those moments. I am crying cos I know I am almost there, I am getting closer to home… and only you and I know where that is. I can’t even say it… that’s how I love that dream so much, so much it hurts. But I know You will be with me. I’m not afraid. Thank you for today!

I’m really sorry for being too focus on acquiring glory after glory! I was not satisfied because I always look for validation outside You, outside myself. True, the only legacy that will last is the number of souls we are able to save! Thank you for reminding me God! I worship You God! Power and Glory are Yours! The seas roar at the sound of your name! But even though You are God, thank you for loving me deeply, for watching me sleep at night, for wiping my tears, for holding my hands and telling me you’re holding me foreover. Jesus Christ, I surrender the next years, the remaining years to you. I know it’ll happen because you already declared it. I love you God! Thank you for the promises


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Photo Diary #124: October 24, 2018 Wednesday, Toad Hall

I struggled finishing this Assignment. For sure, it isn’t because it’s too hard. In fact, I was so worried because it seemed so easy… and I was so anxious of messing it up. Thank you God for guiding me, and for pushing me to finish this. I wrote the answers on the due date because I was so afraid. Anxiety can be paralyzing!

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