Friday, January 11, 2019

My word for the year is cheerful. I'm going to be cheerful in 2019!

Yep, it's CHEERFUL. My word for the year is cheerful. It came to me on my birthday last November when I was thinking about my new year. "Lord," I prayed. "What do you want me to be this year? What should I do for You and my family and the people around me?" And this verse blossomed in my head:

"The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." 2 Corinthians 9: 6-7

So I was focusing on BOUNTIFUL, you know, because I want to be inundated with money, blessings, and lots of good things this 2019. I wanted to stop worrying. I believed if I just had more, I'd be less anxious. But I just kept gravitating towards CHEERFUL. Not even "cheerful giver." Just CHEERFUL. And I realized - BAM! - I was being convicted by the Holy Spirit because I've been so masungit and fearful and depressed the last few years!

I struggled with that word. I didn't like that word. It was too, I dunno... It doesn't sound like me. I have a big smile but I'm not a sunny person. Cheerful sounds like someone else. Cheerful sounds so immature and undignified. And then another verse came up a few weeks later:

"She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs without fear of the future." Proverbs 31:25

Okay. So God replied, "You can laugh and be dignified at the same time. Cheer up first and then watch Me make things happen."

Jelly Bean

And so I finally said yes. Yes, God, I'm going to be cheerful na! And if you read my 42nd birthday post, you can see that my attitude had already changed. I'm willing myself to be happier now, to just focus on the good—nope, not to ignore the bad but not to be blind to the goodness of life either. So there, mamas. Join me on my mission to be cheerful this year! That's my word and I'm going to obey and I'm going to be grateful and happy with what I have and what's to come. This time, I'm not going to be "I'll be happy when the world is finally a better place." This time, I'll be happy no matter what!

I will confess that I'm afraid I'll have a hard time sticking to this CHEERFUL word. Let me explain why.

In 2013, my word of the year was SIMPLICITY. I had just lost my dream job as a glamorous magazine editor and it was a blow to my ego. I prayed for a similar glamorous job but God impressed upon my heart to let that go. It was a time for diminishing, for becoming humble, for simplicity. Well, I tried but my blog picked up big time and it got to my head. I became even more mayabang than ever.

In 2014, my word was FAMILY. I was going to be a mommy of 3 boys this year! But I was also in the thick of my new career as a professional blogger. I wanted to work work work, especially since so many new bloggers were coming into the scene. But again God told me to focus on what matters: my family. So I said, "Okay!" But I didn't really obey. I said yes to so many projects this year—on top of my burgeoning blogger campaigns, I had my Manila Bulletin column, my articles, and Baby Magazine. Guess what happens when you disobey God? Bad stuff. Overwhelmed with work and three young children, I failed in everything I did! Even as a wife and mommy! I was finally humbled because I was so embarrassed by my failures.


In 2015, my word was COURAGE. It had to be. I needed courage to face a year where my career prospects were non-existent and so I had only my blog to rely on for our family's income. I wasn't a very good mommy nor was I a great wife. With three small kids, I was overwhelmed and exhausted and all of that frustration came out as rage. I just wanted to give up really. So I told myself I've always said courage was my biggest and best trait. And that year, courage to face another day after mistakes and failure is why I'm still here today, with my boys, still incredibly blessed. Courage and hope—these are the best things in life!

In 2016, my word was LOVE. With a toddler in his fiercest tantrum stage ever (his two older brothers never had tantrums like this last one) and then the elections where I got into terrible arguments with family and friends, you can bet love was a very hard word to embrace. To apply it in my life? That year, I felt it was impossible. I have never felt so much hate, anger, disillusion and fear in all my life. I guess that's why God impressed upon my heart for "love" to be my 2016 word, to prepare me for what's ahead. But did I love people? Nope. Not at all. I was a disgrace.

So in 2017 and 2018, I had no words. I was just too angry, disillusioned, upset and afraid. I was also aware that I haven't been living up to any of the words I've been supposedly using as the guide for my year. Obviously, this "word of the year" is nonsense for me. Or hopeless for me. But God worked on my heart and renewed my mind. I let go of a lot of anger and hate slowly. In its place, gratitude and hope and faith took over. I had to believe that the world is still a good place, for my children's sake! And I had to ask for forgiveness because I wasn't a very good person these past 2 years. I needed to work on myself and it's slowly happening. I think I'm a better person now.

And so here we are in 2019! I'm going to choose happiness this year. Not really positivity. I detest that word or attitude. It's come to mean ignoring the evil around us or refusing to acknowledge suffering (others' and our own) just to keep the peace. I will still fight for what's right. I will still use my anger for good change. I will still point out what's wrong and what's bad. I will never stop talking about problems - especially of women and mothers! - because we must never be blind or deaf or unfeeling for the sake of positivity. But I will also not allow the evil of the current times to dampen my spirits and affect my mental health. I'm going to have fortitude this year! I will draw on the joy and peace that passes all understanding to choose happiness this year... and hopefully for every single day of my life.

Baby Chicken

So here's to cheerfulness! Wish me luck! I'm such a grumpy person I don't know if I can do this haha And I wish you all the joy and happiness, too, my dear friends. God bless us all this 2019! Let us all laugh without fear of the future!'

P.S. Which of my happy boys look most like baby me??? That was a rare smile, I was told. Even as a child, I wasn't a cheerful one. We'll change that about me!

P.P.S. That's just chocolate on Vito's teeth. He has clean teeth - no cavities!!!


  1. Your youngest, Piero, resembles you the most, Vito is Vince and Inigo is your late mom (including the curly hair).

    1. Aww it's fascinating what other people see! I always thought IƱigo looked like my father!

  2. Focus is my word of the year. I love this idea... Who ever started it. ������

    1. Yes! Focus is a good word. With so many distractions these days pa. Good luck!

  3. What an inspiring post, Frances! My word for this year is READY -- for anything? Ha ha! I have yet to write it though.


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