Thoughts: 24 lessons I learned as I turn 24 (Part 2)

Hi everyone! This is a sequel to my previous post. I recently turned 24. Yay! As always, I write reflections and thoughts for every experience, event or learnings from people I meet. I deemed it timely to share 24 lessons that I learned through the years.

I hope you’ll find this article useful.

THIRTEEN- Live with a war time mind set. 

A few years back I was sitting in the pew during our church’s prayer time. As our Pastor shared the Psalm for the week, he also shared John Piper’s book called Don’t Waste Your Life. It is one of my favorite books and I try to read it again and again in order to be reminded that we are here on earth for a short time. We need to make every moment count. We need to be good stewards of our time.

This is also the reason why I had a shift in perspective regarding shopping and spending idle time.

I encourage you to read this book! It is free for download. Just click the link above.

FOURTEEN- Make others feel good. 

I am a very sensitive person. I tend to be very happy for a moment then sad for the next several hours. I am easily affected by circumstances and words of other people. I guess it’s just part of my personality but I think it is not an excuse to make others feel bad.

I am still working on this but thank God for Joy’s mom for her example! We can be joyful even if we feel disappointed.

FIFTEEN- Live with less. 

I wasted a lot of parent’s resources when I made bad decisions. I tend to buy unnecessary stuff but they all ended up sitting on the table. After a while, I realized that I am not being a good steward of the resources that God has given me or my family.

Recently, I have been more conscious with what I buy or consume. Maybe because I am already working and spending my own hard earned money. I learned that we can enjoy life by living with less. It also helps us to clear our thoughts when our spaces are not cluttered.

SIXTEEN- Be in the moment. 

There are a lot thoughts popping in my mind as I write this line. I better understood myself after reading a series of blog posts by Katie Kuo especially this one regarding day dreaming. My sister will often get angry at me when I could not keep up with what she’s saying. I think this explains why.

I need to remind myself to be in the moment. To focus on every word that some people are talking about. I think looking at them in the eye helps.

I also deem it useful to bring my notebook with me and write down what I observe. It helps me to be immersed.

SEVENTEEN- Allow yourself to fail. 

I am afraid of failing. Everyone is looking up on me especially during my elementary and high school years. I am afraid of seeing myself lose. Thankfully, after failing a subject in college, this fear was lessened.

I’m not sure how to do this either but maybe trying to do something that you like will help you accept failure.

I learned that failures are not the end. They’re like closed doors of opportunities. We should just keep on knocking on different doors so that we’ll find the right door. But of course we must choose wisely!

EIGHTEEN- Read. Read. Read. 

I hated reading when I was a kid. I cannot stick to a page without moving uneasily. I preferred making up stories while playing with my sisters or browsing my aunt’s pile of magazines. I got sick of my dad constantly reminding me to try reading.

This changed when a relative gave us a Magic Tree House book. It was really interesting and short. I started reading this series but always wondered why I could not find the purpose of doing it.

When I joined a camp and had to leave because I got sick, we dropped by at the nearby National Book Store because I asked my dad. I saw Sean Covey’s book entitled 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens. I knew I wanted to try reading that book after seeing the adult version from my dad’s shelf. After reading this book, I realized that I am interested in non fictional books–business, self help and inspirational.

My dad would always brag about his reading achievements. He told me he could read a book in one sitting. I wanted to achieve that so I never stopped reading ever since.

My course also required us to read a lot! I guess I appreciated reading more!

NINETEEN- Learn something new today. 

I believe that we can learn something new every day. It can either be a skill or an information about something or somebody. We just have to be unconventional and try to look outside the box.

We can start by asking, “God what are you trying to teach me today?” too!

I love reading blogs because I can gain new insights and ideas from people around the world. My favorites are mentioned here. In addition, I also love Joy Mendoza’s blog.

We can also learn something new when we visit to a place we’ve never been to. Several weeks ago I had the privilege to get to see Dangwa, the flower district in Manila. I’ll be posting our photos and reflections separately.

TWENTY- Acknowledge that everything has a purpose. 

When we seek God, we gradually understand that even though we may not see a bird’s eye view of our lives, He can. We may not understand why we are going through a season in life but He knows. He knows everything about us.

I always go back to Jeremiah 29:11:

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

That is also our mentoring group name.

TWENTY ONE- Give more. 

For the past several years, I always write a goal to give more but I could not. I guess it’s because it is a bit vague. They say that it is more blessed to give than to receive. I couldn’t agree more! My aunt has this generous spirit that is why people are naturally drawn to her.

Studies also show that people who give more are happier. They are also content. During the year, I hope I will be able to live by this lesson.

Setting aside a certain amount will be of help. We can give to our family, relatives, friends, organizations, and those in need.

TWENTY TWO- Eat what is right (and enjoy your food). 

During my high school years, I restricted myself to a lot of food types but never resisted anything sweet. This imbalance will probably cause me to be more diabetic prone.

After eating halo halo (filipino version of Bing su) in my university years, my tonsils suddenly hurt. I ate congee for several days but the pain would not subside. I visited an ENT doctor to check the swells. This incident occurred again after a year.

I learned to lessen my sweets during that time. God taught me to eat a balanced meal gradually. I am also learning to enjoy my food.

TWENTY THREE- Care less about how you look. 

I craved other people’s attention. I wanted to always stand out. My image became an idol. I cared about how people compliment my outfits or the way I look. I tend to get sad when nobody tells that I look pretty or that my dress looks great.

I guess it was connected to my clothes obsession (although I think my previous outfits were horrible looking back). Living with less means living with the basics.

I am learning to care less about the way I look. Instead, I wanted to exude a God given confidence so that other people will be blessed and will feel good.

TWENTY FOUR- Freebie suck. 

I am always thrifty. I bring food in school and at work. I also bring my water bottle with me. I love free stuff. I enjoy them! Through the years, I made a conscious effort to use free stuff or service as long as I can in order to save. I realized that we don’t need to spend to have a good time.



Thoughts: 24 lessons I learned as I turn 24 (Part 1)

Hi all! As I’ve shared in my previous post, I just celebrated my 24th birthday. As always, I write reflections and thoughts for every experience, event or learnings from people I meet. I deemed it timely to share 24 lessons that I learned through the years. I hope you’ll find this article useful.

Jannel at 24

ONE- Know God.

I believe that we exist because God created us. He loves us and He has a wonderful plan for us. We are not created by accident. He longs for us to get to know Him. We are wired to have satisfaction when we know Him. As John Piper used to say, God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him.

I learned it the hard way. I craved for new toys, new stationery items, and clothes. I delight in high grades and applause from relatives. I watched korean drama endlessly. All these give momentary pleasures but never really trully satisfy. I just feel tired chasing these.

Purpose driven life

When we know God or have the desire to know Him, we see a different perspective, a clearer perspective on life. We have that sense of purpose and peace and joy and satisfaction that only God can give.

Bible in One year

I encourage you to read your Bible. If it is your first time, start with the gospel of John. Read a chapter a day and write down what struck you in a journal. I just also started last year and God never fails to amaze me.

TWO- Know yourself. 

Knowing God is just a part of our existence. We also need to know ourselves. I believe that we are unique. Each one of us has a set of skills and talents. God also placed us strategically. He knows where we can best exalt Him.

Consider your strengths, weaknesses, personality and circumstances. Know where you excel and try to join in interest groups to gain more experience and knowledge. You can also look back to your childhood self. What do you enjoy doing? Are you good at it?

For example I like to draw, write, take photographs and sell stuff but I did not put in efforts to develop my talents. Recently I set up this blog to dedicate some time to practice writing and share some learnings with you. I am also helping my dad in the business. I hope it isn’t too late.


THREE- Set a vision for yourself. 

Well, it’s not really setting a vision for yourself in a way that you disregard God’s design. You envision yourself as God reveals.

I never really  sat down to think about this because it is mind boggling. However at this point in my life, I was somehow forced to do it because I got stuck. Although I still have a long way to go, I grabbed these pictures on the internet that somehow resonate with me.
I put it in collage form vision board as inspired by Nubby Twiglet. Create one for yourself too! Don’t settle to see it on your mind. Put it on paper and share it to your tribe. Start thinking about your future now!

Jannel's vision board

FOUR- Cherish time with your family.

family at manly

I think you heard this statement many times over. I cannot emphasize enough to value your grandparents, parents, siblings, uncles, aunties, cousins, and others in the family.

I am guilty of this because during high school years, I was so engrossed at extra curricular activities and anything school related. I was juggling leadership roles in several organizations while striving to top the class. I felt really exhausted but I was so thrilled in seeing myself get awards. I did not think about how my parents feel about this. I was selfish of my time.

When I studied in the university, I was living alone. I would cry because I miss them and would send random text messages to them. We became closer ever since. I would also constantly call my mom to share some stories. My dad on the other hand would share his stories to me!

FIVE- Share your life with someone else (and stick with it as long as you can).

lights and gloves

My parents brought me and my sisters along at church during sundays. I grew up in ‘sunday school’. We would perform during special occasions. My parents gave me and my sisters money to drop in the offering box. It became a tradition ever since.

I never knew something is lacking but I felt I was not growing enough. I struggled in my time with God. I also felt detached from other Christians.

When I joined a mentoring group in the church I am part of in Makati, that’s when I realized that we need others to keep us accountable. We also help them in their own journey in life.

To be honest, at first I did not feel I belong to this group. Or was I being a typical INFJ? I wanted to stop attending our weekly gatherings but I could not find any reason to leave aside from my feelings. Several years later I realized that I was hoping to feel loved but never really took the time to show love towards them.

After 6 years, I can see God’s work in our lives. We have grown more mature and our bond just got stronger. Several people come and go but we still keep in touch.

SIX- Meet new people and don’t be afraid to ask. 

 A muni meet up. Photo from Jen Horn

I was a very shy person back in elementary. I even refused to join a contest because I felt I will just humiliate myself. In the contrary, during the latter parts of high school, I joined a lot of events because extra curricular activities would result to additional points.

During university days, meeting new people meant gaining additional insights on various topics. It also meant having connections when you need people for surveys, professors as resource speakers and books for the term.

My dad encouraged me to meet new people. This gave me motivation to initiate conversations. I was also able to meet new people by joining an organization. Through Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), we did outreaches together with other volunteers. We would approach students during free times and talk about life and Christ.

It was quite exciting to hear their thoughts and reactions.

SEVEN- Spend time with like minded people.

While it is good to get to know new people, I realized that we also need to choose our friends wisely. I’d rather have a few close friends who share the same values and principles and who strive to move forward than friends who want to remain in status quo. People who want to grow and learn and be unconventional. People who want to make a difference and use their influence for good. People who want to do hard things.

EIGHT- Welcome spontaneity and be adventurous. 

jumping kid

I am a routine person. I’d like to know how my day looks like. I’d like to minimize surprises. As a student, I would prepare homework in advance. I am content of eating the same dish almost every day. I hated spontaneity. I carried this behavior even during my free times!

After I graduated from college, my week ends were usually free. I got a bit bored of the routine stuff. I cannot believe it took me five years before I get to see the shops near our place!

In the past several years, I would make a conscious effort to be more adventurous. I have to push myself to try going on a different route. I have to accompany Teaz so that we’ll get to buy ingredients we don’t normally use. I have to force my relatives to try a different cuisine or restaurant.

I realized that new places, food and experiences inspire us and make us more creative.

NINE- Life is full of choices. It’s either you choose one or the other.

market finds_ choices

For the longest time, I am troubled by this question–Can we live in luxury (or have a very comfortable life) at the same time have integrity in the business? I still cannot figure out the answer but one thing is for sure–for every decision that we make, there’s a trade off.

I realized that we need to make choices. Not deciding on anything is also a choice! These choices reflect our values and beliefs.

As an INFJ, I struggle in this area. Every viable option seem interesting. Until now, I haven’t figure out where I can excel but I choose to get to know myself better.

TEN- Reflect. 

notebook, pen and camera ready

Reflecting on life gives me the thought that I am making a progress every single day. I cannot pass a day without pausing. More so, I cannot pass a day without writing my thoughts, feelings and ideas. I hate hurried life! It just doesn’t make sense.

Reflecting allows us to be honest with how we feel towards God, ourselves and other people. It helps us process the things that occur to us or to the environment around us.

If you haven’t tried this yet, you might want to start writing a line per day. If this is still difficult, words or phrases may do.

Identifying songs relatable as of the moment is also good. Or how about taking a picture of what your day looks like?

ELEVEN- Discipline on sleep and exercise 

sleep essentials
sleep essentials–Pillow, socks and blanket

I disliked sleep and exercise especially when I was a kid. I just can’t wait to play and get everything be fixed. I suck in sports and couldn’t figure out why we need to exert effort to be in shape.

Later on, I realized that when we sleep and exercise we nurture ourselves. We help ourselves to do our tasks better. Both activities are not a waste of time.

I learned that when we sleep, we are trusting God that He will restore our bodies, protect us from harm and equip us for the tasks ahead.

I also learned to enjoy exercise when I learned how to swim and do pilates. I realized that we need to find the exercise that fits our style as well.

TWELVE- See beauty in everything 

Rainy day at Hosier Lane

I used to hate the rain and having to walk in the rain. I cannot bear the feeling of wet shoes and feet. I hate it when we are served with dishes that I disliked. I hate it when our flights get delayed.

Through the years, thank God my patience grew! Despite these seemingly unfavorable circumstances (on my part), I try to see the hidden beauty in the moment. I try to capture the rain drops or the people walking in the rain. I try to experiment on the food that I disliked. I try to talk to people when flights get delayed.

When we accept these circumstances and turn them into something good, we do not waste time. More so, we are able to have new realizations, create art or make new friends.





Thoughts: Lost things


I was browsing my phone gallery when I stumbled upon this old photo collage taken in Hokkaido. It was on the same trip where I took the farm picture in my previous post. We came back in the hotel room to have some rest before dinner but my mind is still wandering. Where did I drop the other pair of my gloves? Did it fell on the streets? Did it fell because I took it off while taking photographs? Was I careless? 

Sometimes we lose things unknowingly. Sometimes we lose things carelessly. Either way I guess there’s always the guilty feeling of not taking good care of our belongings. I would often be angry with myself whenever I lose important stuff because of forgetfulness. Thankfully I am always able to find them inside my bag, underneath my bed or around the house. This time, it wasn’t found. It was lost somewhere in Hokkaido.

At the end of the day, I just laughed it off because I realized I was worrying over this small thing. I realized that I was angry because losing a thing is beyond my control and I could not do anything about it. I realized I was sad because I depend on it to keep my hands warm.

Friends, let us not worry about lost things. Possessions do not define us. They do not give us life. We ought to use them for enjoyment or work but we cannot depend on them solely. We need to depend on God because unlike lost things, he will always be there for us no matter what.

Stay inspired,


Words on Wednesdays: Say no


After reading this book, I realized how entitled I am. Our parents, being baby boomers, really worked hard almost all their lives. They are used to working almost 24 hours. They cannot live without work. Our generation is more prone to self-entitlement. Everything is accessible in an instant. We want results now. We want to have life outside work. We are dissatisfied easily. At least that is in my opinion. What do you think?

I have to remind myself especially in the area of work that I need to do my best because it is not just me who’s in the line. As a believer of Jesus Christ, I ought to follow His example.

Dr. Townsend described two kinds of pain–success pain and symptom pain. Success pain is experienced when we push ourselves beyond our limits. For example, we do five more pilates stands despite the ache that we are feeling or keep on writing despite the rejections that we faced after we submitted articles to a news company. On the other hand, symptom pain is experienced as a result of mediocrity. For example, we notice that our work isn’t good enough. We feel that discomfort and yet we did not act on it.

As much as I want to feel more success pain, I can relate to the symptom pain more. Let’s not forget that we are here to excel and give our best. Let’s not forget to do hard things now rather than regret later.

stay motivated,


Thoughts on Tuesdays: Entertainment addiction

Why are people addicted to entertainment?

This generation is so hooked to social media. Lately I’ve been seeing two of my sisters watch youtube almost all the time. Lately, I also started to watch a couple of vloggers. I must say it is indeed addicting. I also noticed some shift of bloggers to vloggers. They were creating more video content than written content. I want to try that also in the future. What do you think?
Why are we prone to entertainment addiction? I think it’s because we think we can forget our present world for the mean time. We want to unwind after a day’s work. We want to be in the other person’s world. We want to tap into our emotions. We want to have fun for a moment.
But are we actually resting? I don’t think so. I feel like my eyes really hurt after watching several videos. And it does not apply just in youtube. It also applies in social media such as facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest etc. For me, my favorite app would be pinterest. It gives me ideas and is a good platform for sharing really awesome photos but sometimes it turns into addiction. I make it as an excuse to postpone what I actually ought to do like read a book, plan a meal or do a business plan. I always catch myself falling into these traps.
Sometimes the comfort entertainment gives allow us to forget that we ought to do something more important. I feel guilty of this too. Be careful friends. Let’s reach our full potential by doing the hard things now.
Stay inspired,

Thoughts on Tuesdays: Reflections on Toruk

A couple of weeks back, I got the chance to see Toruk:The First Flight held in Mall of Asia together with my relatives. It was one of those Cirque de Soleil tours where actors do different stunts as the story goes. I expected it to be more lively but it turned out to be more dramatic.

The story was about the village of Pandora and the two brothers who had a long journey to get articles from the sub-villages. These articles would then be used to save Pandora from the foreseen disaster.

As always, I try to get life lessons from anything. Here are my realizations while watching the show:

  • Creativity comes in different forms. In order to make the show, there were orators, dancers, singers, prop makers, make up artists and directors. Each one has been given a different talent essential to make the show outstanding.


Balancing Act. The beam looks sturdy!

  • Technology helped a lot in the props making. Instead of using three dimensional props to recreate a scene taken from the sea, the directors used audio visual projectors instead.


  • The dancers took time to train really well. It takes a certain amount of time to master the moves especially for the people who did aerial stunts. I applaud them! I was inspired to practice yoga and pilates to gain more flexibility.


Here are the other photos that I took during the show:


Stay inspired,


Thoughts on Tuesdays: Financial Goals and Strategies

nasugbu waves

Have you ever sat down and thought of your long term plans? I did several times. But every time I do it, I never seem to have a final and definite plan. It is a bit blury and vague until now like the sea of waves I encountered while snorkeling! I end up researching how-to tips in Marvin Germo’s site and other books and blogs that I stumble upon. How I wish there is a definite goal plan that we ought to take but there’s none. Right now I still have to decide an investment strategy that will work for me. Do you have an investment strategy? How do you manage your finances? what are your financial goals?

As we decide what to invest on, we need to be reminded that we ought to be good stewards of what God has given us. After all, everything belongs to him. In the end, we will not carry a single thing on the day that we die.

Whatever we are going through, God has got his hands on us. We need not worry.

Stay posi,