40 Things Making Me Happy As Of May 31, 2019

ida at 40.jpg

Because I love lists and because I just turned 40, I thought about writing a list of things that are making me happy as of May 31, 2019. This list may change over the next few months, but as of today, these are the big and small things that are bringing me joy.

I like writing these things down because I know that in my dark days, I will lose all sight of what brings me joy. If I re-read this, it may help me get back to the place where I am most functional, where I am most joyful, and where I will cling to His Grace.

  1. Turning 40. Seems like a good number to be.

  2. Having a job that both challenges and fulfills me and gives me purpose and joy.

  3. Having another job that provides financial security and challenges me too.

  4. Working out with officemates (for free!)

  5. Staring at my piles of books (even as I wonder when I can read them all)

  6. Experimenting with making my own pour-over coffee

  7. Looking forward to Japan and Singapore (and hopefully the US!)

  8. Scrolling through my feed and seeing cute babies, yummy food, gorgeous places, and beautiful people

  9. Listening to podcasts while I take a bath and while I walk to and from work.

  10. Getting people into enneagram.

  11. Backtracking on my photos a day project.

  12. Writing down my pop culture schedules (movies, TV premieres, book launches, etc)

  13. Teaching people to journal.

  14. Being able to consistently journal again.

  15. Thinking of ideas for work (trying to see them through is another issue)

  16. Planning my Abot Tala film appreciation class.

  17. Thinking of the Boracay and Dumaguete trips.

  18. MIBF (and it’s also part of the stress list)

  19. Re-arranging my stickers and postcards


  21. Having random lunch or dinner or coffee with workmates

  22. Spending time with Mama and Carlo even if we’re not actually doing anything.

  23. Speed-reading through romance books on my Kindle Unlimited account.

  24. Re-watching some of my all-time favorite comedy shows on Amazon Prime Video (30 Rock, The Office, Parks and Rec, Community) and Netflix (Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine Nine, Fresh Off the Boat)

  25. Making customers happy if I lead them to the book they’re looking for.

  26. Buying colorful pens.

  27. Being able to finish my skin-care routine.

  28. Discovering new restaurants or trying new food.

  29. Chatting non-sense with friends (and also, sometimes, may sense)

  30. Reading storybooks or making up stories with G.

  31. Watching my favorite football teams win dramatically.

  32. Watching really good movies for the 2nd (or even 3rd or 4th) time.

  33. Writing down random things I want to tell God.

  34. Re-reading verses and seeing them in a new light.

  35. Listening to preaching that makes me ask more questions.

  36. Trying to figure out the tension between what is in the Bible and what is happening in real life.

  37. Reading Christian authors that challenge me.

  38. Keeping still.

  39. Talking to Him without any of the prayer structure that used to bother me.

  40. Breathing.

30-day Journaling Prompt


Journaling has been my on-and-off hobby since I was 8 years old (I won’t say how many years ago that was). The past couple of months, I was given the opportunity to actually share what I know about it and help people get started on their journaling journey (tongue-twister that is).

I was supposed to do a 30-day journaling prompt starting January 1, but by the 15th, life caught up with me and I found myself stuck. But since today is February 1 and the trial period for 2019 is over, I am officially re-starting my New Year.

And so here I am, not re-starting the prompts, but giving you a full 30 days of prompts that you can use in case you want to go on a journaling journey yourself.

Remember, you can write, sketch, collage, or even video your answers, as long as you are able to do it. As one of my idols likes to say, “done is better than perfect”.

Will be doing a daily #selfcare challenge for February, so crossing my fingers I stick to that one this time around. If you want to follow my progress, follow me on Instagram @emotionalnomad

Happy journaling!

DAY 1 What are you most thankful for the past month? List at least three (but better if more!)

DAY 2 What are you looking forward to this month? List down your events and plans so you can look them over the next few days. Get excited!

DAY 3 What are things about yourself that you want to improve? List down three and if you can, list the practical and concrete steps that you need to take

DAY 4 What is something new that you want to learn this month? It can be something as simple as learning to cook a new dish or as formal as signing up for a business marketing course on Coursera. The important thing is to never stop learning and having the desire to learn new things

DAY 5 What book (or books) are you planning to read this month? What do you hope to get out of these books?

DAY 6 If your 2019 will be a movie, what genre would you want it to be? Any specific movie that you would want your year to turn out to be?

DAY 7 What do you do to relax and de-stress? Write out (or draw) your destressing routine so you have something to look back on when you feel the pressure.

DAY 8 Who is that one friend or family member that you want to intentionally spend more time with this new year? Write down your reasons why then schedule a regular "date" with this person for the next few months.

DAY 9 If you like to travel, what is it about traveling that you love? If you don’t travel, what is stopping you from going on trips?

DAY 10 What are new places that you want to visit this year? It can be a nearby town, a new restaurant, a new country, etc.

DAY 11 What's your morning magic weapon that helps you conquer the day? If you don't have one yet, think about the past few months and try to recall what it is that you do that brings you energy and joy and helps you focus for the rest of the day.

DAY 12 What are your health goals for the next few months? Health doesn't mean just losing weight. It can be exercising, getting something checked, eating better, etc.

DAY 13 What Sunday night "ritual" do you do to prepare yourself to get back to the grind tomorrow? If you don't have one yet, think about things that either motivate you or relaxes you and try to create your own little Sunday night habit.

DAY 14 What are the things that you want to do or learn in order for you to love other people better?

DAY 15 What are the things that you need to do in order to love yourself better? What does self-care mean to you?

DAY 16 Write a “love letter” to a loved one that you haven’t said I love you to in a long time.

DAY 17 Choose one day this month where you will do absolutely nothing. Afterwards, describe the experience in your journal

DAY 18 When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? Compare what you wanted then and where you are now? What has changed?

DAY 19 If you could have any job but you won’t get paid for it, what would it be?

DAY 20 When you retire one day and look back at your working life, what are the things that you want to have accomplished?

DAY 21 Write a letter to your ten-year-old self. What are the things that you know today that you wish your younger self knew back then?

DAY 22 If you were given the chance to mentor someone, what are five things that you would want them to learn from you?

DAY 23 What work of art (movie, book, music, painting, etc) has made you really happy lately?

DAY 24 If you could have any talent or skill, what would you want to be really good at?

DAY 25 What has been the greatest disappointment that you’ve had the past few months? Is there anything you can do to overcome it or make up for it?

DAY 26 What are three small or big lessons that you’ve learned so far this year?

DAY 27 What are three things that you want to improve about your habits so far this year?

DAY 28 What are 5 things about yourself that you love the most?

DAY 29 What are 10 things that you love about your life right now?

DAY 30 List down 10 random thoughts that you’ve had today.

4 books that are currently inspiring me

While I’m really more of a fiction reader (and romance books devourer), I learned to read non-fiction books when I started working at OMF Lit. If you’re surrounded with a lot of inspirational and practical living Christian books and you need to learn how to market and promote them, then of course you would need to learn how.

But over the eight years that I’ve been doing this, I’ve learned to not just multi-task my actual job but also multi-task reading. At any given time, I’m probably reading around 3-5 books (plus “just” 1-2 fiction books too) at the same time, both for professional and personal reasons. I usually share them on my IG (I’m still thinking about creating a book-focused personal IG account) and for some reason, people actually believe me when I recommend something.

So long story, well, a bit long, here are five of my current reads that have been inspiring me for varying reasons. Some are shameless plugging for books that we sell of course, but there are also some non-OMF Lit books.


I may be a bit biased here because Isa is my friend, we published her first book Found: Letters on Love, Life, and God, and she wrote a short chapter about me. But ask anyone who has read anything she’s ever written (even her IG stories can be poetic) and they’ll tell you that she is insanely talented. She is able to put into eloquent and heartfelt words what people feel. She is able to tell stories that make you feel connected to the people she’s writing about even if you don’t actually know them (as her partner in crime Crae likes to say). And her new book, independently published, is a combination of the two. Her writing is kind and heartfelt but not cliche or too mushy. She tells stories about the strong women that surround her, the amazing students that she has inspired and who inspire her, and even missed love connections.

If you’d like to know more about the new book, visit her FB page Isa Garcia Writes. And if you’d like to buy her previous book, it’s available at OMF Lit and Passages Bookshops, National Bookstore, or buy online here.

Like Lines On A Map


The Relevant Podcast is my favorite podcast and Relevant Magazine is my favorite magazine too. I discovered my favorite Christian writer Shauna Niequist through both and the minute Annie F. Downs joined the podcast, I knew she was going to be another favorite person. I decided to read 100 Days to Brave first because, well obviously, I wanted to take more bold, brave steps in my personal life. 15 days in and I can’t say I’m so much braver, but I’m doing a lot of self-analysis and rediscovering what it is it I really want to do with regards to do that “one big project” that I’ve been meaning to do. Will be talking about my 100 day journey on and off through the blog and through my IG as well.

I bought it through Book Depository (free shipping worldwide!) but I’m hoping we’ll be able to import this soon.



This young girl has been an inspiration of mine ever since I discovered her stickers and her ABC Journal. I may not be an artist like her (in fact, I cannot draw to save my life) but I find inspiration in her creative endeavors, her travels, and her journaling. I know my journal will never be as pretty as hers but I am learning a lot when trying to incorporate my own kind of creativity when I journal, which is mainly adding stickers, prints, and the occassional doodle that only i will understand. This book talks about how to live the creative life in both practical, fun, and even money-earning ways.

This is available in most bookshops like National Bookstore and Fully Booked.



His first book, Love Does, changed my life. It showed me what it really means to really love like Jesus and made me realize how I may be doing things wrong. I’m still a work in progress when it comes to loving my neighbour and so this follow-up is perfect as Bob himself continues this journey of learning to love even the most difficult to love people (including yourself!) and how we (meaning Christians) are supposed to be the emobiment of love (and yet we’re obviously not).

This book is available at our bookshops for P925 but if you buy it until October 31, you get 20% off!