Monday, April 29, 2024

What I Do When My Heart is Anxious

Today, I have this unsettling grip of anxiety. It's that restless stirring in the depths of my being, a feeling that something isn't quite right but I can't quite pinpoint the cause. It's as though my heart is speaking a language my mind struggles to comprehend.

Anxiety is a formidable opponent, its origins sometimes shrouded in mystery. Yet, its effects are tangible, casting shadows over our thoughts and coloring our perceptions. When the heart is anxious, it can feel like navigating a stormy sea without a compass, unsure of which direction to take or how to find calm waters.

Ever since my cancer battle, I've often found myself in this place of uncertainty, where the fear emanates from deep within, a primal instinct that refuses to be silenced by reason alone. In those moments, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, to succumb to the torrent of worry and doubt. I try to convince myself that it is just the side effect of my medication, but my brain can't rationalize reasons.

However, I've also discovered that amidst the chaos of anxiety, there exists a quiet strength which emanates from my faith.

Faith is not the absence of fear but the courage to face it head-on, knowing that I am not alone in my struggles. It's the unwavering belief that there is a greater purpose to what is happening with me.

When my heart is anxious, I turn to faith as my anchor, grounding me in the certainty that I have my husband to depend on, regardless of the storms raging within me. I find solace in prayer, surrendering my fears to a higher power and trusting in the wisdom of divine providence.

What I learn is that it's important to extend grace to myself, acknowledging that it's okay not to have all the answers, to stumble and fall along the way. For faith is not a destination but a journey—a winding path of self-discovery and growth, marked by moments of both triumph and great loss.

May you find peace in the midst of your anxious heart, and may your faith be a beacon of hope in the days ahead.

Praying Psalm 91 helps me a lot when my heart is anxious.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Pulling the Weeds of Doubt and Embracing Life's Uncertainties

In the garden of life, we often find ourselves tending to more than just flowers and greenery. We grapple with the stubborn weeds of doubt, anxiety, and fear, their roots digging deep into the soil of our souls. But amidst life's uncertainties, there lies a powerful truth: trust in the process and have faith in something greater than ourselves.

As a cancer survivor, I've learned firsthand the importance of pulling these weeds and nurturing the seeds of faith within me. Each day was a battle, not just against the physical ailment, but against the doubts that threatened to choke out hope. But through the darkness, I discovered a resilience I never knew I possessed—a strength born from facing the storm head-on and emerging on the other side, battered but unbroken.

Life after cancer is a journey fraught with its own uncertainties. The fear of recurrence, the anxiety of the unknown, the side effects of taking medication—these are weeds that can quickly overrun the garden of our minds if left unchecked. But I refuse to let them dictate the course of my life. Instead, I choose to trust in something greater than myself—to surrender to the divine plan that unfolds before me.

Just as a gardener tends to their plants with care and patience, so too must we tend to our spirits. We must cultivate an unwavering trust in God, knowing that even in the face of uncertainty, we are held in the palm of His hand. It's a process that requires faith, but one that yields a bountiful harvest of peace and contentment.

So, let us embrace life's uncertainties with courage and conviction. Let us pull the weeds of doubt and fear, replacing them with seeds of hope and trust. And may we, like the flowers in a well-tended garden, bloom with resilience and grace, strengthened by the trials we've faced and emboldened to face whatever lies ahead.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Unraveling the Double JJ Resort Campground: An Enchanting Camping Experience with Some Untamed Corners

Nestled amidst nature's bounty, the Double JJ Resort Campground promises a memorable camping experience that draws outdoor enthusiasts from far and wide. With a picturesque setting and an array of amenities (home to annual Electric Forest), this campground offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. However, like any destination, it has its pros and cons. 

From the moment you set foot in the Double JJ Resort Campground, you're greeted with a sense of serenity but immediately replaced by frustration because directions were not clearly given with poor signages. The campground's secluded location adds to the overall charm, making it a haven for those seeking peace and quiet except that there was a big event going on in the adjacent campground and loud music was played all throughout our stay.

The Double JJ Resort Campground caters to a diverse group of campers. Whether you arrive with a massive RV or prefer tent camping, there's a spot for everyone. If you are tent camping, you might want to check the electric connectivity or you would end up like the family beside us who had to connect their electricity to our camper since they didn’t have the right plug.

One of the few drawbacks we encountered during our stay at Double JJ was the issue of untrimmed trees near camping spots designated for big campers. While the rustic appeal of the untouched wilderness is understandable, it may pose challenges for campers with larger vehicles. A bit of trimming and careful planning could alleviate this concern, ensuring a comfortable camping experience for all visitors.

The resort boasts a big pool that beckons campers to cool off during hot summer days. The size of the pool is impressive, providing plenty of space for guests to enjoy swimming and lounging. However, we did notice that the pool's maintenance could be improved. Regular cleaning and upkeep would go a long way in enhancing the overall experience for visitors.

Amidst the untouched corners, one hidden gem stood out—the hot tub. Tucked away in a corner of the pool, the hot tub was a delightful surprise. It was a relaxing spot to unwind and rejuvenate after a day of outdoor activities.

While the tranquil atmosphere is appreciated by many campers, it was evident that there were hardly any staff members regularly checking on the amenities and facilities. Occasional maintenance rounds and inspections could address minor issues and provide campers with an even more pleasant stay.

The Double JJ Resort Campground undoubtedly offers an amazing camping experience, surrounded by nature's splendor and offering a range of amenities for guests to enjoy. The Double JJ Resort Campground has the potential to become an unrivaled camping destination that seamlessly blends rustic charm with modern comfort.

So, if you're looking for a quiet retreat amidst nature's beauty and don't mind embracing a few untamed edges, the Double JJ Resort Campground might just be the perfect spot for your next camping adventure and they have the best restaurant!


Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Embracing the Blessing of Survival: A Cancer Survivor’s Testimony on Triumphing Through Difficulties, Pain, and Suffering

This post is long overdue. I have been wanting to share an update but life got so busy. However, surviving cancer is an incredible journey that I knew I had to share what I went through, how I survived it, and lessons I learned after being encompassed with a whirlwind of emotions, challenges, and moments of despair. It is a battle that tests both the physical and emotional limits. However, within the depths of such adversity lies the incredible growth and a newfound appreciation for my life.

Going through the trials of cancer undoubtedly requires immense strength and resilience. Each day becomes a testament to the power of the human spirit. I remember so many times confronting fears that I never knew existed and tapping into a reserve of courage I never thought possible. Waking up in the middle of the night with a bloody nose, taking a shower and turning the water red because of nose bleed, and experiencing the worst pain possible in every fiber of my being. My husband, David, would watch me helplessly when even a gentle touch created such unbearable pain. The journey taught me to embrace my inner strength empowering me with newfound confidence.

The experience of surviving cancer shines a light on the fragility and preciousness of life. Having faced the prospect of mortality, I develop a profound appreciation for the simplest joys and everyday miracles. From simply waking up in the morning, spending time with my loved ones, and doing simple things in life.

The support I received from family, friends, and even strangers during the cancer journey was overwhelming. I was deeply touched by the kindness and compassion shown by others, which deepened my connections with loved ones and reminded me that I need to pay it forward. The experience becomes my beacons of empathy, offering solace and understanding to others facing similar challenges.

Surviving cancer has definitely a way of recalibrating my perspective on life. The trivialities that once consumed my energy and focus pale in comparison to the gift of a healthy life. I used to think that awards, recognitions, and degrees are all that matter. My life has existed largely competing with myself to be the best you could possibly be in terms of the long list of accomplishments in life. Getting sick with cancer, going through 30 radiation treatment, five surgeries, and one year of chemo, reminded me that life is short. We need to do what we love.

While surviving cancer is undoubtedly a challenging and painful journey, it is important to recognize the blessings that can arise from such an experience. It is in the crucible of difficulties, pain, and suffering that I found my true strength, learn to appreciate life's precious moments, deepen my connections with others, shift my perspectives, and inspire those around me. I emerged from the battle with a profound sense of gratitude and an unwavering determination to live each day to the fullest. I have finally completed all my treatments, and even though I need to continue taking a chemo pill/ blocker for ten years, I appreciate life's greatest blessing and that is being alive.

If you or someone you know is battling cancer, continue fighting. While roads might be difficult, life is worth fighting for.


Wednesday, April 19, 2023

The Greatest Lesson from our Trip to the Philippines

Seven years. It took me that long before I was able to see friends and family back in the Philippines again. It was a short trip but one that was filled with beautiful memories and nostalgic moments with people close to my heart. Coming from a cold, snowy Michigan to a tropical country, the temptation to talk about the place is compelling but I would like to share instead the greatest lesson I was reminded of by one of my former students.

The journey back home was the first time for David. Since I was working in Indonesia when we got married, he’s been there several times but never to the country where I was born and grew up. The trip however, proved to be more than meeting friends and family and showing him different places but also a reminder that the sweetest part of leaving home is knowing, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that you’ll always carry it with you.

It was one of those poignant moments during the visit of my former student, Dr. Chryz,  telling me stories about surviving college, passing the board, having the desire to work in far flung places to provide medical care to those who could not afford the expenses of getting sick, and listening to the passion in his voice about his burning desire to help his family after all the support they have given with his studies, that reminded me of that beautiful culture of the Filipinos. I couldn’t be more proud that my husband was listening to my former student talk about helping others instead of being rich. 

One of the greatest joys of a teacher is realizing that her student turned out not just as a functioning part of a community but someone who makes a difference. While teaching is already buried in the deepest recesses of my heart, Chryz reminded me that being a former teacher is one of the best things that happened to me.

As profound as it may seem, life is really not just a journey, but the people, the experiences, and the lessons we gleaned along the way. 

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