Rising Up

Dear blog. Today has been one of my most productive days this year, so far. I know it’s only been 10 days since the year started but I had been very passive the last few months. More than usual and it bothered me on the inside. Everyday I just did my obligations without giving a thought to anything. Going wherever the flow took me. read more

A New Dream

It had been 9 months since I last visited this blog. So many things happened in that span of time. I met a lot of people and made relationships. I had a few friends come and go. I lost count of how many times my priorities changed. I don’t have all night, however, to reminisce and recall every single moment just so I have something to write here. I’d like to take every moment as a new beginning. This moment is a blank space for me to fill with whatever good things I can find.

I had continued to play the mobile game called VainGlory. I had, in fact, joined its content creator program. I write content for the game and get in-game items in return.

The truth is, I just really enjoyed playing it a lot. But with everything going on in my life, I had to have a better reason to keep playing. I had to justify it somehow, I guess, to myself. At least, that was how it started. All the knowledge I gained from the game had to be channeled through an outlet somehow, or I’d have felt like I wasted every hour I spent playing. That’s how it works for me. So, I went and made a blog, vainglory.abigail.pro. And on there, I unleashed everything I had exhausted from the game. I went and applied for the VCP (content creator program) and got accepted.

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What used to be an outlet of in-game knowledge evolved into a dream.

I had been blogging since I was 19. It’s not new to me. I’ve gotten the benefits of that in my essay-writing for school too. Writing, at least academically and professionally, is one of my best skills. I never, however, entertained the idea of writing fantasy for the sole purpose of entertaining readers. I mean, I write to entertain to some degree, but I hadn’t thought about writing fantasy.

The idea was presented to me multiple times by my family and some friends but I always dismissed it. The reason used to be because I didn’t think it was beneficial. I didn’t think fantasy had any worth. I’m a very rational person and I don’t want to feed something without substance to people. You can tell how strange my mind’s wiring was.

It wasn’t until recently that my family finally got me to see from another perspective. The truth is, I enjoy fantasy, myself. I love watching movies. I loved the LOTR books. I read manga and watch anime too. The truth is, everyone else enjoys fantasy in one way or another and even if I don’t write fantasy, it’s not really gonna change anything. People will continue reading good fiction books and watching movies, while I sit in my corner wondering why I never tried.

And so, the dream was born.

I wrote a fanfic – a short one, and it’s not really as good as I hoped it to be. At least, not yet. But it’s a start and I’m glad I had done it. I’m taking baby steps and just enjoying the ride, for now. Those steps include, trading my old Kindle 8 for a Paperwhite so I can read at night, too and getting into fantasy books. I’m starting with Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. It’s really captivating and I’m loving it so far. I’m just getting myself some inspiration and feed this dream within while I let days and circumstances pass.

In other news, I have exactly 13 months left to finish my degree. It had been a rough ride and this term, I must admit, I had been careless, not carefree but careless. I have a month before the final exams, 3 weeks before my group project and presentation is due, and 3 weeks before my database system is due. That’s quite a lot, now that I think about it. Just bringing into remembrance, I have a full time job. I work 12 hrs a day for 15 – 16 days a month. I do get a lot of downtime, but I also have a blog – or two, actually, two blogs. And I still manage to squeeze in some time to play VainGlory, watch movies with my sister and watch Michelle Phan videos. Not to mention the social media involvement I have to maintain for my VainGlory blog.

I should mention this, too. I have been rather active on Twitter and Discord and those are hogging up like 2-3 hrs of my day. It used to, at least, when I first started. That’s the thing with me and I don’t like it either. When I get involved in something, I go in so deep until I exhaust everything I can. And it gets kinda hard to pull away. I think Jesus is still fixing this part of me. I mean, it’s useful sometimes, but it can also be used to harm myself and stray from my path.

Speaking of Jesus, I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of remembering how good He has been to me. 3 years ago, I would’ve already collapsed under all this pressure. I would’ve overburdened myself with everything, exploded and blamed everyone, just being toxic and miserable. Thank the Lord, that’s far far away in the past where it belongs.

I like and love who I am now, knowing that the Lord loves me, and all of me, my strengths and weaknesses, right and wrong doings and everything else. Knowing that He died on the Cross to set me free from the curse of this world where I have to merit everything. I no longer depend on my efforts to attract good things. Jesus died and paid with His blood, to give me free access to all His goodness. He is on my side forever, and this strengthens me and inspires me to keep moving forward, to keep loving, to keep believing.

I have made a lot of mistakes in the past, and I still will do in the future. The only assurance of hope I’m holding on to is knowing that Jesus already knows this and He still chose to save me and gave me what I can never deserve. Why, then, should I still worry? The only thing left for me to do, really, is to stick to Him like a glue. I still fail at that sometimes, but who’s counting my mistakes? It’s not Jesus. He has forgiven me and I have forgiven myself. Everyday is a new opportunity to walk with Him and enjoy His goodness. I’m on sermon #43 out of #361 (Joseph Prince sermons) and it’s really helping me stay on track. Being reminded daily of His salvation is what enables me to be. It’s a kind of freedom and peace the world will never understand, but for those who do, isn’t it just amazing? I never thought life could be this beautiful. That despite everything, I’m still alive with a purpose, everywhere I go, good things happen. I don’t have to drag myself out of bed every morning, I don’t have to dread the day the world ends. I mean, I’m happy.

Ah, I intended for this to be a short update on my whereabouts but I got sidetracked again. Whatever. It always clears my mind though, when I get to write my heart out like this. Pray for me, if you would, though. I need to do a lot of studying and time management. Thanks for dropping by. Jesus’ love, salvation and peace be with you.

Casting All Cares

I only took two modules this term and to my delight, I won’t have any exams. I have, however, quite a number of assignments and projects to finish. One is a mobile movie and I have to come up with a storyboard and a script plus a short essay about the concepts I’ll be using due next week. For my other module, I ended up being the group leader for a presentation to show this March. My team and I will start working on that the week after next week.

In another realm, on the other hand, my professional life with Nucleus Connect is ending this week. After Chinese New Year, I’m moving over to Starhub. I haven’t had time to process that both mentally and emotionally. There’s quite a few things, paperwork mostly, I have to finish for the transition.

I’m excited about it, actually. New environment, new people. The new job is interesting, especially that, I think, there will be some programming involved. I’m still a network engineer, but my new responsibilities will require some coding skills. Python, specifically. This is huge to me. I think the experience and everything I will learn here will be paramount to my planned career change. Enough about that for now. I’ll write more when I start working there.

When I’m not working on my homework or my job, I’m trying to finish a side-project, which is also kind of a big one. It’s my sister’s website. The current one is getting a bit outdated. I coded it last year but there are quite a few major things that need updating. I do my coding and testing on my lab site. You can check it out and see how it’s developing. My progress with this is a bit slow, though. I am not really that confident with my coding skills yet, both in WordPress and JavaScript. So, I’m reading a complete guide on developing professionally for WordPress (will learn JS later). It’s a good book and WordPress recommends it too. Check out the preview on the left.

Speaking of books, I’m trying to accomplish a goal this year, of reading 20 books. I’ve read one so far and currently on 2 at the same time: the one I mentioned, Professional WordPress Design and Development and The Two Towers (LOTR). I’m starting to regret choosing lengthy books, though. I’m getting impatient and I just want to finish them now, but time seems to be against me. Especially with everything else happening in my life.

I try to read whenever I can, but I have quite a lot of academic journals to read for my school as well. I guess that’s what’s weighing me down a bit lately. There are so many things that I have to and want to do. It’s kinda overwhelming. My priorities are constantly changing to accomodate for what’s most important for the day or the week.

The thing is, I know what I should be focusing on. It’s Jesus. He promised to take care of me and every little detail of my life, while I fix my eyes on Him. That is the only thing that matters, really. It’s just that sometimes I forget and I end up worrying over things I should be doing or should have already done. I’m not even procrastinating. There’s really just too many things I want to do all at once. I guess I’m a bit too excited to see things flourish in my life. All these baby steps are getting boring and I just want to leap!

But, Jesus knows what lies ahead and He has my best interests in mind. He has already gone before me and checked it out for me. He knows my strengths and weaknesses and whether or not I can already face the big world. He is in control and I know I can never go wrong if I just cast all my cares and worries upon Him. Being anxious about my assignments and school projects, or everything about my job, or my sister’s website, or just my future in general, won’t fix anything. I guess, I’ll take this time to remember God’s goodness in everything I went through. He will never abandon me and is probably already preparing everything for my future. All I have to do is be still and see His salvation.

Goals 2018

Yes! It’s the new year. It has finally reached the depths of my heart and mind that 2017 is officially over. That took quite some time, I know. Only more than half a month delayed. I have reasons that I won’t be discussing here. Instead, I’ll be sharing my goals and things I look forward to this year.

Personally, I found having lists of everything a bit overwhelming. Having so many things in my mind was too much at some point in my life that I just totally let everything go and winged it. It was during the time that I held myself to foolish and impossible ideals which were objectified by my to-do lists. Curse perfectionism. So, whenever I failed to be consistent, I just dropped the whole thing because I felt terrible for having failed in the first place that I didn’t think continuing was still worth it. Yep, that’s perfectionism fer ya. At least, that’s how it was for me.

After letting Jesus just take over my life, I have learned a few things. One is that, my lists don’t define me. Second, whether or not I complete something does not define me either. I now know who I am, and that’s beloved of Jesus. One He chose to die for to save from eternal damnation. And nothing… NOTHING, can ever separate me from His love. Not even my poor attempts at creating good habits.

There are many other things I’ve picked up along the way while walking with Jesus and towards the end of last year I started tracking my daily progress again. I’ve also made a list of the things I’d like to prioritise in this life. Not so I can keep a perfectly consistent life to show off to others. No, but because there are so many things happening in my life, good things mostly, that I forget what my priorities are. So, I’m finding it helpful to keep lists again for my own sanity but not as a standard to hold myself accountable to. I hope that’s helpful to those who keep failing at their self-imposed rules. Rules don’t define us. We make the rules for our benefit. When they stop being beneficial, there’s no point in having them anymore.

Before I move further, I want to give you a glimpse of my life in 2017. You can really just choose to ignore it haha, I just feel like posting it here. I’m feeling rather accomplished to have survived that time. The different colours you see there identify work, school, and general duties. This is really just adulthood 101 but knowing that many people fail at adulting, I hope this can be an inspiration that it’s not impossible at all! With Jesus nothing is impossible. Also, I still had enough downtime for myself and the people I love, so it all worked out okay.

Having said that rather wordy (and image-y) introduction, here are the things I’d like to focus on this year.

Seek Jesus

Of course, I’ll never be able to survive this year, or any year for that matter, without Jesus. The decisions that I make everyday take all of my brains but knowing Jesus’ unconditional love for me gives me a kind of peace that the world cannot give and I end up making the right decisions at the right place and the right time. Not to mention, it was Him that brought me out of the darkness of my self-imposed lawfulness and showed me His grace. His life-saving, joy-giving and peace-loving grace.

So, this is just a reminder that my life would be so much better if I spend time to seek Jesus – that is reading His Word with a revelation of His grace or listening to Christ-centred sermons, before starting or ending the day.

Family

If I have to make decisions that involve my family, they come second only to Jesus. I love my family to the bones and I thank God for them everyday. So, this year, I’m looking forward to spending more quality time with them. I’m already planning two more trips home before this year is over (I’m at home with them right now).

Studies

I’m studying to be able to do what I wanna do for the rest of my life so, yeah, this is kind of a big deal.

Work

Of course. My current job is a God-given gift so I’d like to keep it until this season passes.

Web / Mobile Dev

This started as a hobby but this is what I’m studying at school now. So, I’ll be focusing on spending the rest of my free time tinkering my own WordPress themes and my sister’s portfolio site. Maybe I’ll go back to creating mobile apps too.

Reading

Yes! Reading opened my eyes to so many things and not just fantasy but the lives of the rest of the world. My 2018 reading challenge is 20 books. You can help me track it here haha.

Fitness

This one will take quite some guts. I was able to go through a fitness routine for half a year and it was a very fulfilling time. I’d like to be able to do it again and this time, make it part of me, my lifestyle. I really just wanna be able to wear some of my old clothes again haha.

Learn Chinese

China is taking over the world. No, really. I get to meet a lot of Chinese people and I feel sad when I don’t get to communicate with them because they can’t speak English. Chinese (Mandarin) is also very handy in case China does take over the world.

Write Fanfic

Least priority but is still fun nonetheless. I’ve published two fanfics so far and I’m currently working on one. Since this only takes whatever leftover time I can spare it, my progress on this one may be like a turtle’s. No matter, even turtles can get to the finish line.

That’s all about it! I hope you get some time to gather your thoughts too and have things to look forward to this 2018.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

I’m here fresh from reading Facebook comments on viral videos so you’d know what influenced me to write this. The million dollar question is “Why can’t we all just get along?” I have two answers to this. I will go through each and satisfy myself with some explanation.

Because we’re different.

That’s plain as day. Although that doesn’t mean that just because we’re different, we shouldn’t get along. It only suggests that there are differences to consider before people decide to get along with one another. These differences could include reasons, among a gazillion others. A person has his reasons (and his ways to find those reasons, I won’t delve in too deep – I think you get the point) to consider whether or not he should argue with someone on Facebook about why wild cats shan’t be domestic pets (among many other first world problems out there). These reasons are results of our different ways of thinking, experiences, influences, cultures and beliefs. That’s just one difference, and a very broad topic at that. Of course, you already know the more controversial differences like religion, sexuality and political opinions. I don’t have to cite an example but I will. The existence of ISIS is largely considered due to religious differences.

However, this answer is a dead end. What I mean by that is, this is an answer that poses no solution. It means, you just have to accept that we’re all different and live with that. Until, of course, you get entangled in this web of differing opinions and you find yourself justifying why you support this or that. Also, because we’re humans and there are many factors to consider, like our emotional acceptance of some things. For example, you may be supporting feminist activist groups until you have a son, harassed by feminism (it’s happening in other countries). Your mind may understand right and wrong, but your heart goes out to the one you love and it’s not always logical. Accepting differences means accepting the consequence too that, not everyone accepts differences. Yeah, sorry about that loop of thought. We can go on and on, but I think (hope) you get the point.

Because they’re wrong.

And I’m right. This is the more common mentality and a rather vast subject. To start off (and perhaps a continuation of the previous topic), we all hold different values and have different principles. Again, they could be borne from our own experiences, influences, cultures and beliefs. These principles, however, are not entirely different from others. We have groups of people that hold the same beliefs and principles (religious groups, activist groups, social groups, etc). It’s all fine and dandy until we realise that the beliefs and principles of others are contrary (and I mean, total opposite) to ours. I think you see the pattern here now. Differences introduce conflict. It doesn’t have to be that way, but that’s how it is in this world, right now.

Instead of accepting these differences, we categorise them, rather, as “wrong”. Now, things escalate if we name them right and wrong. Because, by who’s standard? Everyone has his own sets of rights and wrongs that may be different from others. It can’t depend on the circumstance because that’s ever-changing.

The modern world thinks it’s the majority. It’s by the majority’s standard that right and wrong shall be measured. Do you see the problem here? Anarchy! If the majority votes for having no need to vote at all, we’re all screwed. No more right, no more wrong. I know that’s a bit extreme but that’s reality. For example, the world, right now, is inclined to think that there’s no male and female anymore (by that, I mean, people call their sexuality new labels). Is that right? Is that wrong? Who knows and who’s the judge? And if you’re sitting there thinking, so what if there’s no right and wrong? It may not actually be an issue for yourself. But again, we’re humans. We get attached, emotionally. And if the people we love get some hate for what they believe in, we jump in to defend them, effectively building up our own law of what’s right and wrong (it’s wrong for others to hurt your family).

I think you get the point. I warned you. This is a rather vast subject but it’s fascinating. This answer to the question, however, is not a dead end. It’s a very loose one. You can go two ways. One is to establish an objective law for the rest of the world to follow. By having one standard for all, everything will be black and white. Things will be much easier, right? In some ways, that’s how communism works. Now, go to North Korea and experience it for yourself, if you want. The other way is to not have a law at all. That’s anarchy and I’m not repeating what I said against it in the last few paragraphs.

I was going to think of other answers but I think they all fall under either of these two. In the world of social research, they’re more known as either interpretivism or positivism but in our common speech, the reason why we all can’t get along is either because they’re (we’re) different or they’re (we’re) wrong.

In conclusion, and rather because I’m getting tired of thinking some more (it’s a Sunday!), we actually know the reason why we all can’t get along. We also have ways to solve it but we can’t afford the payment for this worldwide risk. Hitler tried and failed. UN tried and… well, still failing. It’s a great trade, this whole issue of peace. Whatever solution we choose, there will always be war, within and without. We’ll never get along unless we strive to not get along for the sake of peace. Yeah I can’t wrap my mind around that either.

I have chosen a solution for my own and it’s an easy trade. Those who’ve read some of my other posts know what I’m talking about. But I’d like to keep this post as objective (and short) as possible. I’ll write my own views another day. Thanks for dropping by listening to my talkative mind!