OF REBUILDING AND RESTORATION

in my life, stories of faith, travel journals

We were right on time as we entered the National Gallery of Singapore, as the receptionist told us that there would be a free guided tour of the whole place that would begin within five minutes. We didn’t hesitate to join, after all having someone explaining the details of the place and artworks were a better option than going around like headless chickens.

History is something that I’ve always been interested about. That’s why while I was listening to Jane (our museum guide); I can’t help but be fascinated on how the Singaporeans were able to preserve their culture and lineage. But I was a bit guilty as well that I came to know a lot of facts about Singapore’s history, and not being able to dig deeper on our country’s own.  I made a silent promise to myself that I should explore and discover Philippines the way that I desire to roam other countries.

What impressed me the most was how the restoration and rebuilding was made for the National Gallery.  Originally, it was two separate buildings which was not of the same height and age, which made it more challenging to be joined together (I’m sure the architects and engineers out there can fully understand). Jane mentioned that it took five years for the establishment to be completed. She showed us photos of how it was before, and the rubble that it was during the rebuilding, it was indeed a far cry on how outstanding it is now.

Do you have those little moments of grace and wisdom? When you hear that still small voice, whispering in your heart, “I am not yet finished in your life. This isn’t the den.” When you’re just walking through a museum, but God gave a different revelation? His grace and wonders can reach us in different ways.

During that moment, I was walking through egg shells. God must have felt my frustration in every honest prayer that I have cried out to Him. Lord, when will the pain go away? Will anything come out of these rubbles? It has been too long. It is too late? I badly want the cries of my heart to shake the heavens. I was an impatient girl demanding for answers.

In the middle of the National Gallery, while standing in between two magnificent work of architecture, He quietly answered, “I am still at work.” It took years for places like these to be rebuilt, for it to become like new again. How it was before is just like how our life seems to be during the progress – a mess. Yet it doesn’t mean that God isn’t at work, or he isn’t moving. There are instances we do not see, but he’s putting the pieces back together. Through this season, I have learned to see situations in a different perspective.

“They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated, they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” – Isaiah 61:4

Hold out for healing.
Hold out for the rebuilding.
Our timeline can be different at times, but He is at work – both in our hearts and lives.

SEEING THE SIGNS AND THE WONDERS

artsy fartsy, in my life, stories of faith

These words have been long overdue. They were repeatedly contained in my prayers, written on my journal, typed through posts in social media, and stored through locked notes in my phone. Not being a wordsmith makes it longer for me to piece them together, just like what I always say: bear with me, as I try to connect the stars that formed my constellation (okay, that was too poetic). But these made me sure of three things on the art universe:


1.  A COMPLIMENT CAN GO A LONG WAY AND WARM A PERSON’S HEART IF YOU SAY IT SINCERELY
(it’s easy to tell when it’s just lip service). Mine came last January 2015. We were busy doing our vision boards when Ms. Rhiza came to our table and said: You really have an eye for art.

Being the usual introvert that I am, I did not know how to stop turning into a mushy marshmallow while fully controlling myself from letting it go to my head. In return I gave her my sheepish smile and continued working on my piece.

Those words may be simple, but in that moment it was enough to spark my passion to create art once again. It made me think that maybe there’s beauty in what I make that others can see, something that I failed to notice. Yes, what an epiphany, but Ms. Rhiza’s words during that day gave me a different perspective.

If ever you know someone who’s striving to create their own art, don’t hold the compliments in. Don’t hesitate to give away words. Remember that 1 sincere word = 1 step away from the doubts and insecurities that artists are facing everyday.

2.  WHEN THE ART UNIVERSE CALLS, DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ANSWER IT.

Woman, Create called for submissions last July 2016, I quickly gathered what I considered was worthy enough to be submitted and e-mailed it with these words:

As much as I want to say something melodramatic or touching, all I know right now is that you convinced me to submit my artworks with the lines that say “artistic souls – those who may not have the label of an artist or writer but have some pieces they’d like to put out, but don’t believe it’s worth it – it is!” I’m still shy on sending them to you. The scanner at the computer shop failed me, but if ever you decide to choose one from any of these, I’d be more than glad to send another high-res copy. Keep on empowering women to create.

Months passed and there was no reply. Okay, that scanner really did a crappy job, I thought. Maybe it’s just wasn’t the art they’re looking for. Not wanting to dive into a pit of disappointment, I pushed the thought of getting published out of my mind. But just before I was able to forget it completely, an e-mail came bearing a promise:

Hello, my wonders. How art you today?

If you’re wondering why you’re suddenly receiving this e-mail, surprise – the planner of wonders is coming out real soon, and your contributed works of 5 months ago made it into this book. I thank you for opening up portals to your universe through the works you have given me just for this planner to not be a source of my vanity (in terms of art, design etc.) It is truly a great privilege to get to know you a little bit more through art and poetry, made sincerely for whatever purpose you have wished it to serve back when you first created it.

Processed with VSCO with hb1 preset
Poetry by my friend Val

Surreal. I re-read the it just to sure I wasn’t dreaming, that it was really happening. And it did happen. Another amazing this is that my friend’s poetry was chosen to be published too. We were both quiet about it, not wanting to spill anything unless we were included. We celebrated this milestone together, exclaiming how these was just a wish when we spent time on our Tumblrs. We were both astounded that at the right time, God honors even the littlest dreams, or the most silent of prayers. And this leads us to the last part of the story. This may seem like a cliché but that does not make it any less true:

3.  IT MAY TAKE A LONG TIME, BUT SOME DREAMS DO COME TRUE AND PRAYERS GET ANSWERED.  It may just be a page, and maybe a word or two but it was quite a big deal for us. It was a testimony in itself. There’s a note sitting on my phone for a long time now, partly confession but more of a realization.

WomanCreate_4


Poems x collage artworks by yours truly published in the Woman, Create planners.

The truth is, I felt small that time. Some artworks were placed on centerfold and whole pages, then there was mine…quietly waiting on the sidelines and would probably go unnoticed if you flip through it faster than a blink of an eye. Yet there was a quiet voice inside of me saying – you might feel tiny, but aren’t all universes made up of a billion stars to create galaxies so beautiful, to light up the dark night sky? And I knew. I knew that we were all stars, no matter how big or small our artworks were. No matter where our words were placed. We weren’t made to shine on our own, but rather be collectively put together to shine brighter.

These words are also my long note of thanks for the two women who greatly influenced me to keep on creating art– though they may not be aware of it that time. For Ms. Rhiza, whose words of encouragement made me see my art in a different light. And for Marika, who could have filled the book with her own artworks but was gracious enough to give space for other artists to grow. ❤


And oh, my art and I made it to the centerfold this time. Hihi :’)

To those who have bought/supported the creation of this planner, thank you. You didn’t buy just a mere book, but you’re carrying our hearts within those pages. It is our hopes and dreams translated through words and pictures. Let’s continue inspiring one another to leap into wonders everyday.

LET ME SAY A FINAL ADIEU, 2015

in my life, stories of faith, travel journals

But as for me, my feet had almost

        slipped;

   I had nearly lost my foothold…

When my heart was grieved

   and my spirit embittered,

I was senseless and ignorant;

  I was a brute beast before you.

Yet I am always with you;

  You hold me by my right hand.

You guide me with your counsel,

  and afterward you will take me into

         glory.

Whom have I in heaven but you?

   And earth has nothing I desire

      besides you.

My flesh and my heart may fail,

   but God is the strength of my

           heart

   and my portion forever.

PSALM 73: 2, 21-26

If there was a way to summarize 2015 in verses and words, this would be it. It was a tough year that I even asked myself if there was any sense in writing about it. Even the photographs above are a far contrast from what happened during in-between moments. But then I just have this habit of closing the year through a blog post or something written. Something to acknowledge the fact that life can be good and bad at times, but God…He just remained constant through it all. Through the heartaches, through the pain. Through the sorrow and through the rejoicing.

I am far from who I was, and who I wanted to be. Some of my plans in life did not go as expected. It has been a scary and exciting ride. A few things weren’t one hundred percent clear when the year ended, but I guess that is where He wants me to be…out of my comfort zone and into His arms.

THE 100 DAY PROJECT: DEVO X TYPO

artsy fartsy, in my life, stories of faith

“A hundred days! I can recall the questions that raced through my mind before I decided to jump in: can I handle it? Will I push through when my schedule is jammed? Will I show up everyday, even when it hurts? – especially when it hurts?”
-Elle Luna

These exact thoughts were running in my mind as I joined the challenge. It was a last minute decision mixed with excitement, fear, doubt, and a whole lot of mixed emotions. Knowing myself, I am aware that I tend to lose my sense of excitement in doing creative things or maybe anything in particular that requires my attention everyday. It makes me think if it will make me a slacker artist in the future. But this weakness was actually the reason why I jumped into the challenge – to develop discipline in handling my creativity. Art takes time and practice and patience. Excitement may die but I hope that my desire to improve in this craft won’t.

Deep breaths, inhale, exhale, and I finally committed myself to create 100 typography works out of my devotions. There were a lot of thing that ran through my mind before I chose this theme. A lot of ideas presented themselves to me, but this one tugged at my heart strings – it became a personal conviction. To tell you truth, I was even trying to work my way around it; thinking of reasons why I should choose another theme for this project, and it all boiled down to the fact that I am scared.

When it comes to sharing His word, there were a lot of times that I hesitated before I post a Bible verse or any realizations online. I was afraid of being judged, being labeled as a religious nut, or worst: not being able to apply this in my life offline. The challenge for creativity began to challenge my faith as well. As much as I tried to resist it these verses kept echoing through my mind (and totally nailed it):

“Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in His glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” -Luke 9:26

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of God.” -Galatians 1:10

Now that may sound a bit too preachy, but in simple terms this is a way for me to stand up for my faith. I no longer want to feel ashamed when it comes to sharing His word. I may not be a perfect epitome of a Christian but this is my baby steps toward maturity and growth. I will push through knowing that this would help in changing me from the inside out. It is a way of saying “Work in me, as I work with the talent that you have given me.” It’s a personal conviction to dedicate this to Him as early as now. For me to be reminded that the talent came from Him and He is the reason why I keep on keeping on.

It also made me realize that I have a tendency to be proud of my achievements, and I guess it’s time to lose that sense of entitlement. No more time to be preoccupied with the thoughts of being criticized by others or perfection, because my focus should be in Him. If I can’t give glory to Him when it comes to simple things, then how much more if bigger things are to come my way? Glory be to God all the way. And so we begin with the end goal in mind: To be disciplined both in reading His word and practicing the skills He has given me.