Thursday, December 8, 2011

City of Angels here I come

My upcoming visit to the city of Angels was prompted by a phone call I received by a family member I barely even know. She sat in the hospital with my mom as she left a very startling voicemail. Her quivering voice had the sense of urgency as if the inevitable was about to go down. I felt helpless.  This was about a week ago... My boss was leaving for Paris the next day so I couldn't just up and leave. A slight panic attack suddenly sat heavily upon my chest as I talked to my drug-induced mother about her sky-rocketing blood pressure and dimming energy. My negative thoughts started to flood my brain and I couldn't stop. I was at the lobby of one of my pastor's, excited for the ugly sweater holiday party when all this was happening. I took a moment after I hung up the phone and pulled myself together.
I asked the doorman which way to go and he directed me pass the marbled floors up the elevator to the 14th floor, ugly sweater and elephant gift in hand. 
I said a little prayer to ask God what I should do with the information I just received and booked a flight to see the momma. Fast forward to today when I got a more cheerful voicemail from the momma, "Don't worry anak, I am feeling much better but I look forward to seeing you on the 15th." 
A great big sigh of relief. I can only hope that the city of angels looks out for my mom in my absence.

A psalm of David.
 1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
 3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
   for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
   through the darkest valley,[a]
I will fear no evil,
   for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
   they comfort me.

Friday, September 9, 2011

9 days away until Jayna's 5K

Please consider chipping in a couple of bucks if you would like to Support the Jayna Murray Foundation that will provide scholarships for students studying the arts. Thanks so much!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A decade of Awesomeness has passed

and I am really at awe at what has transpired after embarking on the SS Universe Explorer in Vancouver, Canada. 

I am SO happy to have chosen a study abroad program that took me to 10 countries in 100 days.  Within the hundred days, I managed to maneuver around the world with just $800 in my pocket and experienced a lifetime of things that only 600 other people will understand. Not only was the timing unusual (we arrived in Kobe, Japan just days after 9/11) but the setting and classes were quite unconventional. Whether you were in Voice and Speech, Film Analysis, World Economics or Astrology class, there was always someone to relate to on a whole other level. Being nomadic and adjusting to your surroundings on a weekly basis was unsettling at first but we were all briefed upon arrival to our designated ports of call and after Japan, we became pros. 
There are too many things to recall, these are just some of them~
*Canada-Meeting my roomies for the first time and realizing later that the boy scout shirt I wore had the same den number as our cabin-Upper Deck 464
*Japan-Going to a sushi place with Davenport, Kao, and Kalina and Davenport asking a group of Japanese ladies (in Spanish) to take our picture. 
*Hong Kong-going to Aberdeen with Annie, Sharon and Wayne and negotiating with a lady to take a tour around the area and adventures in Lantau Island
*Vietnam-Exploring the Cu-chi tunnels with Colin and Jeff and eating pho in the same restaurant that Bill Clinton frequented. Being shown around by the former Miss Vietnam.
*India-Going to the beaches in Chennai and seeing a Sari commercial videotaped while Raj (my rickshaw driver) does his bobble head move at everything I ask him. He wrote me a few years ago and thanked me for the watch that I gave him to keep track of time to meet his customers.
*The Seychelles-Getting proposed to by one of the guards that watched over our ship after telling me about his houseboat, motorcycle and cooking skills. He pulled the ring out of his sock. Totes Ridics!
*South Africa-Visiting Stellenbosch and Neethlingshof wineries on horseback with Chris, Wayne, Blakeley and Shane and smuggling a small bottle of Rosenlese onto the ship.
*Brazil-between South Africa and Brazil, I turned 21 and Jared and Deep throw me in the ship's pool and almost drowning. Learning Capoeira from a 9 year old boy.
*Cuba-Sitting in a room with a translator in my ear listing to Fidel Castro talk about terrorism, CFC's in the air and the mercury in the fish that the pregnant people were eating and his favorite baseball team.

HAPPY "ITS BEEN A DECADE SINCE WE WERE ALL STUCK ON THE VOYAGE TO WHO KNOWS WHERE" Anniversary. My fondest memories were on that boa...I mean, ship with all of you SASers!!! Much ♥ to y'all!

Friday, June 24, 2011

PLAN A ready to go

LAST August, I traveled to Uganda with Forefront Church as a missions trip to teach former child soldiers, AIDS orphans, and former child laborers. The video above was taken in the L.E.A.D. Uganda house in Kampala with some of the mothers to the students I had the pleasure of meeting and teaching. To this day, it had such an impact in my life and I am going back on July 5th-Aug 9th with a NY-based sustainable fashion company called MUSHANA.

My main purpose this time to work on Product Development for the August market of the NY International Gift show but like the mission trip, I will not set up any expectations and just let things organically flow (rough skeletal organizational plan in place) and relish in the experience. Don't get me wrong, this is a JOB so I will be responsible for reporting on a day to day basis to the fabulous founder of Mushana and like the moniker suggests, "Working Under One Sun", will be my morning mantra. The dude upstairs has blessed me with so many options for the next phase in my life and I am grateful for this opportunity to be here, right now.

Plan B looked enticing but I'm glad I will be living out Plan A and keep trusting the path that was designed just for me.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SUMMER plan B if A doesn't work out

Hey y'all! I have been struggling to make a decision for after May 31st but this suddenly became an option. I hope I get the gig and I will definitely make all my musician friends proud by giving them a shoutout :)

Cheers and Please DRINK RESPONSIBLY!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

HESED does not equal BUSY-ness

I have been ruminating about a lot of things as of late and it took taking a break from the busy-ness of my life to realize that I need to STOP. Yes,  stop busying myself with events and meetings with people and just sit with myself and the dude upstairs and have a conversation. The beautiful surroundings here in Airmont, NY is the driving impetus for all this. Even ending up here was, and I know because I certainly didn't plan on being up here this week, orchestrated by something higher and omniscient than myself. Also, a recent email from my pastor, Brian Moll had me thinking of the current series we are observing at Forefront Church called HESED : the consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly-pursuing, lavish, extravagant, unrestrained, furious love of our Father God!
"It is this love, demonstrated through the life and death of our Savior Jesus Christ, which has shaped our lives and made us who we are today — a people filled with joy and confidence who know the source of life, who are living the way life was meant to be lived." -Frank Johnson

My relationships thus far has been lacking the trust that is needed to be placed in the hands of God, and frankly, just GOD period.  To this day, I wonder about how my life would've turned out if I had stayed in Costa Mesa, CA and married my pseudo-ex fiancé. Michael Bublé's "Feeeling Good" just went on in my Pandora and I can't help but feel that the dude upstairs is really tugging at my heart right now. I know that he's got big plans for me and whether I execute them here in NY, Paris, LA, Perth or Kampala whatever it is will be HUGE. The one thing that I AM worried about is that I will go at it alone. I long for a partner to share all of this with but I do not know that I have met him yet. Every time I meet someone new and exciting, our lives kind of separate us due to their "busy-ness". 21 Including the one that I left back in CA. I was a stubborn 25 year old longing for something bigger than what God was planning and I didn't know him then like I know him now. I'd like to think that my faith has always been at a level 10 growing up but it hasn't. Even separating from the comforting arms of someone who loved me was against everything I was programmed to do. Was I letting me drive the wheel or my creator? The very thought of me being here reminds me of Jean-Paul Sartre's, Huis Clos (No Exit). Existentialism is a fickle thing and my duties up here in Airmont (caring for some animals and a beautiful house and car) has me wondering. Why am I here? Why is it that I exist?
I just finished viewing a documentary about 2 brothers and their relationship with their father and the world called: The Human Experience  along with another documentary about the I heart NY creator, Milton Glaser and Original Sin, Billy Elliot, and Salt. Yes, I wanted to maximize my NETFLIX subscription today...and it has made me delve deeper into my ruminations.

Well, with all of this. I am still forced to make a decision come May 31st to rid of all my possessions or to store them and figure out a home base for the next 6 months...I just hope that the people that I meet along the way have a matched faith. They don't have to be Christian, just a faith that their existence is because of a greater good. There are a lot of events that are lined up in my life: being an auntie, helping out with the debut of a Film Festival, Directing, Producing and writing very important stories and I hope I can partner up with the right person to go through all of it with me and still have room for the dude upstairs. In fact, the dude upstairs is the unmentionable partner that will be with me along the way, with or without an actual physical counterpart.

Monday, March 28, 2011

30 years and counting: Observations and Wayward Wonderment: Team World Vision:

30 years and counting: Observations and Wayward Wonderment: Team World Vision:: "Marivic's World Vision Donor Page Yes, I'm only 5 days away from running a half marathon (13.1 miles). Please join me in my efforts to prov..."

Team World Vision:

Marivic's World Vision Donor Page

Yes, I'm only 5 days away from running a half marathon (13.1 miles). Please join me in my efforts to provide clean drinking water for villages in Africa. Click on the link above for my personal World Vision donation page.
Visiting Mbale, Uganda

 I hope you can partner up with me to raise much needed funds for a water filtration system in select villages in Africa. I have been training since November for this half marathon. The last time I ran a full marathon was in 1996 in Los Angeles. I hurt my right patella permanently so I am doing it the right way this time and working with a personal trainer. I will probably be wearing a knee brace regardless of how awesome I think I'll do without one but yes, it would be an honor to run for my friends in Uganda and different parts of Africa.

You can view the course here:
Map of the 13.1 mile run on Sat. 4.3.11

Thanks so much for your support :) See you at the Arthur Ashe Stadium in my running gear!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Jayna T. Murray: May she REST in PEACE (part 2)

Ephesians 3:20-21

 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.  
Kelly, Katie and I from Semester at Sea Fall '01 voyage in NYC reunited in Jayna's honor
Photo by: Stephen Shames (

When I first heard this from my pastor almost a year ago, it hit me like a Mack truck, maybe even a ton of bricks..all at the same time. Being raised Catholic has taught me that I had to pray to specific saints in order to have my prayer requests answered. I couldn't really take it up directly to the dude upstairs. My relationship with God was nullified by the fact that he was WAY up there and I was a mere speck WAY down here. As you read this, I don't want you think I am getting all Christianese on you but my faith has been tested over the last week. I have been referring to the bible more than in all my 30 years combined to find the right words to make whatever I was feeling towards God become sensible. And frankly, I lost it a couple of times. I would throw my fists up in the air and blame him for the death of my dear friend. The old adage of, "Why do bad things happen to good people" crossed my mind more than I can type in a minute, and I can type real fast. 

I am really at a point where I feel I could avenge her death by doing X, Y, and Z but that's not what God would've done if faced with this situation. I am learning that God has a plan for everyone. Our bodies are on loan until we meet him face to face and live in his glory. Yes. Hold on, I know what you're thinking. "LIVE in his GLORY?"'re treading on Christianese talk there Mar. Whatevs. Call it what you like, but I believe that once we are done in this lifetime, the next one will be SO much more joyful and worth fighting for when it is our time to go home. To the upstairs where the 'dude' is. Call it heaven or the after life with the pearly gates but I have learned that God has our backs. Yes, Jayna arrived at the pearly gates on March 11, 2001. She has gone home and I will join her there when MY time is up here. 

*Let me reiterate verse 20: "Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.." 

I have asked the aforementioned dude upstairs to strengthen me throughout this difficult time and I definitely felt THAT prayer request answered. Some lay witness to it last night when I was reading through Ecclesiastes at her vigil where I fought through my tears to finish the verse. I have emailed and called lululemon athletica headquarters and various store managers and PR people along with Jayna's brother, the Mindfulness Center, Safe Horizon , NYC Victims of Crime unit and countless friends who knew Jayna to help sort through my feelings.

For the past 8 days, I have run a gamut of emotions that would rival a menopausal woman or a newly minted mother. Now, I don't mean to undermine those types of people but by being around them in those times in their life mimics the kind of feelings I've been having; Extreme hot flashes from learning about what took place inside the lululemon in Bethesda, fatigue and memory loss from sleep deprivation to get to the bottom of things, worriedness about the future etc. I know. I shouldn't compare my feelings with any one else's but to put things in context and to find a reference point gives me a sense of normalcy when I can't determine which way is up anymore. My idea of a candle light vigil for Jayna grew from Union Square, NYC to Walnut Creek, CA; Beverly HIlls, CA; Washington D.C.; Bethesda, MD; Minneapolis, MN; Cottage Grove, MN; Baraboo, WI; Stavanger, Norway; Warsaw, Poland; Tokyo, Japan. Medellin, Columbia; Frankfurt, Germany; and more are trickling in.

Mother and Son who stopped by the vigil to honor Jayna
Photo by: Stephen Shames (

My goal was to light a candle in her honor and help raise awareness about violent crimes against women, as well as men and I hope that somehow we did that. A lot of people were curious about the brown paper bag lanterns that spelled out J-A-Y-N-A and we got some ears perked and attentions caught. One lady from Japan thought it spelled Japan and I told her that if she wanted, I would help her with a vigil commemorating those affected by the 9.0 earthquake. She signed the guest book and left her email with me. I asked for a way to help me get through the loss of a good friend, and in turn, gaining new ones and raising MORE awareness out there.

I have been touched by some of the stories that are reaching my inbox in the last week. I asked Yoko for permission about including hers on here and she graciously obliged. 

Yoko with Danny

Yoko's message to me:
Hi. Thank you so much for organizing this project. I'm a friend of
Jayna from Johns Hopkins and am the biggest fun of her in Japan.

not sure if I am following your idea right. I lit a candle thinking
about our beautiful friend and took a pic at night in EST, which was
bright daytime in JPN. If you want another pic taken at night, let me

I'm sorry for not being able to get a nice appropriate candle. I just
had to dig out my old aroma candle as all candles are currently gone
out of shelf cause people are preparing for the blackouts.

The last week has been really rough for me as it has benn to all other
Japanese but personally, Jayna brought me the biggest shock which was
much greater than the magnitude 9.0 quack... With or without a good
candle, Jayna should know I miss her so much....

Yoko with Danny

I am amazed at your tenacity to take this photo with your adorable Danny amidst the chaos in Japan at the moment. I will pray for your safety and hope that whatever God has planned for Japan will be strategic and with the best intentions.
There was a Japanese woman who came by the vigil today in NY and asked if I can organize one for Japan. We exchanged contact information and are now planning an event to commemorate those affected in Japan.
Thanks again for taking the time to do this. I am sure Jayna is looking down at us and smiling her signature infectious smile.
Take care.
In peace, love, and light~


Thank you for your comfort. I evacuated from Tokyo taking my baby
Danny with but leaving my husband behind. Since then things are
turning better for me.  Now we are at my parent's home in Hiroshima
and should be safe around here. We are planning to stay here in
Hiroshima till things get settled, maybe a month or so depending on
how the nuke plant situation goes. I may not be able to attend but
please let me know when and where you would be organizing things in
Japan. Also, if there's anything I can do, let me know.  It's amazing
how Jayna is bringing all of us together. Once she told me that she
believes everything happens for reason. I need to find out the reason
of this tragedy.

 Like Yoko, finding out a reason for the recent tragedy has been an innate feeling to the likeness of a baby's heart beating in conjunction with it's mother's. I haven't stopped my quest to find the truth about what happened last Friday night and even after the arrest of Ms. Norwood I am still searching. For every person touched by Jayna's story, may others come forward to share this as we collectively find ways to support one another. God CAN and DOES things immeasurably more than I can ever ask or imagine. I am laying all my worries at his feet as I maneuver around in my borrowed body. Seeing friends last night who had the pleasure of knowing Jayna was enough for me to be okay for that one moment. Our candles blowing out at the same time during the vigil gave me horripilations (google it) reminding me that spirits are all around us. Jayna's will be felt for years to come, even now as I write this. Your presence was  always markedly known when you were in the room. I love you my dear girl. May we meet again at the pearly gates and bungee jump way up in those big cumulus clouds and give people horripilations. About that SUPERMOON, did YOU have anything to do with that? I don't doubt that you did. I love you and that infectious smile.

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am in a thousand winds that blow,
I am the softly falling snow.
I am the gentle showers of rain,
I am the fields of ripening grain.
I am in the morning hush,
I am in the graceful rush
Of beautiful birds in circling flight,
I am the starshine of the night.
I am in the flowers that bloom,
I am in a quiet room.
I am in the birds that sing,
I am in each lovely thing.
Do not stand at my grave bereft
I am not there. I have not left.
Photo by: Stephen Shames (

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Jayna T. Murray: May she REST in PEACE

"The world stands out on either side no wider than the heart is wide; above the world is stretched the sky-no higher than the soul is high. The heart can push the SEA and LAND farther away on either hand; The soul can split the sky in two, and let the face of God shine through." -Edna St. Vincent Millay
Jayna and I at Semester at Sea- Fall 2001 Voyage

 The Millay quote above was what Jayna wrote on my memory book from 10 years ago along with this note: 
You are an amazing person! Strive for your most far-fetched dreams! You will succeed! You are a young, beautiful, self-confident, independent woman-let nothing stop you! Thank you for everything! I truly cherish our friendship. I will miss you and I love you!
<3 you-Jayna T. Murray"

To this day,  her words resound in my ears and keeps me motivated to keep 'striving' for my dreams. She was a fellow Scorpio and equally beautiful and independent in her ways. She lived across the hall from my upper-deck #464 cabin along with my 2 other roommates for 3 whole months and kept in touch over the years. She was like the fun, blonde, energetic and vibrant sister (amongst other things) I never had. We made a pact to wake early at every port to watch the sun come up (like the pic above as we ported in Kobe, Japan). We did that for a bout 3 ports and found that it was hard to get up at 6am every morning after crossing several time zones and be picture ready for the sun's rising.  My fondest memory of her was when she and I came up with the cheer, "Olé, Olé, Olé" for our Red Sea REDBULL team for the Sea Olympics. We rallied everyone on our deck and ran around ALL levels of the ship at 7am to wake everyone up with the cheer. She had spent another study abroad program in Spain prior to Semester at Sea, hence the Olé. To this day, whenever I am with SASer folk, that cheer would come up in conversation and how everyone remembered which deck was the LOUDEST (and probably most annoying). But whatevs, IT WORKED. We stuck out in people's minds.

Just like the Olé cheer, Jayna will always stick out in our minds. The ones who loved her and cherished her most need all the prayers you can give. If you or anyone you know who may have been in the 4856 Bethesda Ave. Lululemon location on Friday (March 11) night have any information about her murder, please call: Capt. Starks  at (240)-773-5070.  Please help us spread the word so that we may lay Jayna to rest in peace. Thank you.

Here is a link to the Washington Post article: Jayna Murray 
Semester at Sea Fall '01 Sea Olympics: Olé, Olé, Olé!!!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Facebook Challenge: Day 3

Yup. For those of you who thought I wouldn't last 14 minutes (aka J.Ho) think again. Tell me something that I can't do and I'll try and prove you wrong. Someone tell me I CAN'T make $1,000,000 by the time I'm 31 so that I will. Thanks.

Refraining from logging into my Facebook account has been easier than I thought. I feel somewhat of a cheater though because I have other social mediums to express my thoughts and concerns about the world around me. If you don't follow me on Twitter, you probably should. I offer up-to-date tweets on current events like the earthquakes that hit Japan and how our secretary of state public affairs is offering up aid to countries that have been hit. Even the latest vegan recipe for red velveet cupcakes and musings about where the heck Ellenville, NY is scribed on there. Yes, it runs the gamut of popular topics like fashion, foodie-finds, music, church, local and global events and philanthropic events, and charitable organizations.

Naoki and pup

Today's immediate concern is the tsunami alerts in Southeast Asia. My friend Naoki is currently in Tokyo until this Sunday and hope that he and his family are safe. Even the little family I have in the Philippines is at risk. I am sure that God has a plan and that this natural disaster hitting that part of the globe will provide us with unification that we are lacking as a nation in the last few years since 911. We all have family, friends, colleagues in different parts of the world who go through struggles, why does it take a tsunami to suddenly reach out to them? I'm not really sure why we do that, but I, too am guilty of that. I reach out to family and friends only when tragedy strikes and until things get superbad is when I ask for help. I'm getting more aware and better at asking sooner though. I guess that is the perk of entering my dirty 30's. I speak up more and learn that the more I do, the more it gets me in a position of power. No, I can't quite read minds as of yet, so I try and get to the bottom of things before they blow up in my face. If you don't like it, tough nuggies. No, but seriously, this fast from FB is going to be interesting.

Prayer Requests

 I am currently in pain from a fall down a flight of steel stairs at work yesterday but the show must go on. I hope and pray that I heal quickly so that I may continue training for the half marathon in 22 days.

I will be walking the premises of our possible new West Side location for Forefront Church with the Rev Jacob and Lee today. We are also going to visit our good friend Teddy to see how he is doing. Please pray that our friend Teddy finds the strength to keep going and to not let being in a wheelchair stop him from getting to church. I also pray that the West Side community continues to grow and affect our communities in a positive way.21

Pray for my family and friends in Southeast Asia who are affected by the earthquake(s) and tsunami(s). May they find healing and strength during this ordeal.

*IF you have something that you would like me to be praying for, please send it to me at or leave a comment below.

THANKS SO much for your readership. I appreciate it!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

$2/day CHALLENGE: DAY 31 (end)

Smoked Salmon Seaweed Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette from Le Pain Quotidien
So, I started the $2/day challenge on Feb 7th, much like 500 other people from the life-changing Forefront Church . Today is Mar. 8th and the official first day of living like the rest of the 4 billion people in the world who are currently NOT living under the poverty line. The challenge itself was difficult with training for a half marathon but with the help of my trainer, Tim Hollander and the support of my roommate Melyssa Brown and a few others, I was able to make it work. Now, there were times where I found it difficult to ration my meals so that I never exceeded the $2/day alotted budget but it happened probably 4 times in the course of 30 days. What?!? I know. It turns out that I am NOT perfect after all. Big whoop.  **NEWSFLASH** NO one is. We can all try but perfection, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

  • I don't need to stuff my face EVERY single day with unsatisfying, high caloric meals just to satiate something that I'm dealing with emotionally. (ie. CRUMBS cupcake or a cocktail after a hard day at work)
  • a recommended 2000 calorie daily meal plan CAN be achieved with proper planning and a mindful eye of your food intake
  • Running a solid 5 miles CAN be done at least once a week on this $2/day challenge WITHOUT passing out.
  • SUPPORTIVE friends make it easier to do the challenge because they buy into the idea that you are doing something to benefit others and not just to be a pain in the YOU KNOW WHAT
  • DISCIPLINING yourself to be mindful of your body works with everything else that is going on with yourself (ie. more sleep, less extraneous activities that harm your body/soul/mind)
WHAT I sacrificed
  • A mere 30 days of my time 
  • A better understanding of how 2.5 billion people survive in this world
  • An undisclosed amount of money donated toward Celebration Generosity offering on top of what I contributed due to my efforts 
  • PATIENCE and UNDERSTANDING towards the people that I pass everyday with dilapidated cardboard signs alluding to hunger, help, desperation because they have no one and nowhere to turn to
  • A closer relationship towards the dude upstairs (not literally, if you're reading my blog for the first time. DUDE UPSTAIRS=GOD)
  • $ saved from this challenge to head to Boston to see old classmates and endearing teacher who will one day walk me down the aisle

 LENT is just around the corner and I would love to  set up another challenge for myself in order to keep growing in my spiritual life and a higher level of understanding of the human condition.

I will gladly take suggestions, starting NOW :)
Mr. Jerry Freedman-The man who has served as a mentor and father figure for 15 years

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Lyrics in motion: Caleb Hawley Edition

The talented Mr. CALEB HAWLEY and I after his APPLE STORE PERFORMANCE on 2/25/11

I have made some amazing connections being part of a church community here in NYC, Caleb Hawley being one of them. You may have recently seen him on this little tv show called American Idol.  Here's a video of his audition in NJ:

So, I met Caleb  2 years ago yesterday (2/25/09) when I attended my first ever small group with Forefront Church near Columbia University. His beautiful wife Samantha was there, along with a great group of intelligent and well-spoken individuals. Throughout the group, we looked at different social justice and global issues, such as poverty, equality, violence, war, and race. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend one discussion involving an excerpt from  The Violence of Love by Oscar Romero due to scheduling conflicts but I have never forgotten that day. Maybe it was because the group had such an impact on me but the connection was definitely an act of God. Being a part of Forefront for the last 2 years has and continues to make lasting impressions within me. There are SO many people that go under the radar every time I attend and it takes a few conversations to see what people are doing to move and shake this crazy world that we live in. ENTER Caleb Hawley.

After an amazing show at the Apple Store on 14th Street last night I HAD to approach him and his manager wife about making his first music video. I have been delving into video every since I bought a flip mino 3 years ago from my own Rude Monkey Theatre Group online store.  I have taken some footage from trips to the orphanages in Mexico with Corazon De Vida, my recent trip to Uganda with Lead Uganda, and just everyday goings on and have developed an affinity for motion picture. I have been dabbling in photography for almost 10 years but stayed focused on my theatrical studies (specifically in acting and directing) so it makes sense that I am going in this direction. I have produced and directed shows off-broadway but it's been such a tremendous undertaking. I know that putting music in video form will ALSO be an arduous task but I am gearing up for it as we speak. I have met an amazing network of videographers, photographers, AD's, actors, Producers, musicians, artists, etc. that would aid in my next venture so I am faithful in the next step. Something about last night's performance and my recent conversation with independent artist manager, Dave Margolis led me to this point. I have been praying for clarity since I recently fell upon a stumbling block in my career and I am slowly, but surely coming face to face with it. Everything has been slowly unraveling before me and MUSIC has helped me through it, as well as my continuing relationship with the dude Upstairs.

Stay tuned in the next couple of months to see the progress of this next phase in my life.
I've come a LOOOOOOOOONG way since my bartending days. I know that God has a plan that is bigger and deeper than I can ever imagine. All I have to do is trust and keep my faith in the process. Wish me well my friends. Until the next one.

$2/day CHALLENGE: DAY 20

Line of people waiting for a hot meal at Father's Heart

One of the suggestions to a successful run to the $2/day challenge was to experience a day at a local soup kitchen. It has been 20 days since I've had 3 meals worth more than $2 but instead of eating at a soup kitchen, I eagerly volunteered at one. Now, I have been volunteering at Father's Heart for about a year now and have met some of the elderly, working poor and neighborhood people who stand in line to receive a hot meal.  The difference is that I have enough to make a hot meal (most days).  I have been doing okay at home making my rice and beans, mixed green salad with tuna, oatmeal and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so I did NOT participate in taking a meal of pineapple chunks, 2 eggs, 2 pieces of turkey ham, some potatoes and a sliced piece of wheat bread. I was, however, in charge of cooking the turkey ham and potatoes and it was amazing. We ended up feeding 632 people in a span of an hour and a half and still had plenty left over.

God works in such amazing ways and I am grateful every time I spend a Saturday morning to see his work come into play. I spoke to Pastor Perry about the program and he shared the same sentiments. People who come through the doors of Father's Heart is led there because of the love that God has for them. We hear, over and over during the orientation that our "Father wants us to come home." It's okay to go astray after being hurt or feel abandoned by him because of the loss of a job or shunned by family members, but his heart is always open whenever you're ready to let him in again. The hope and faith that he instills in us is constantly being challenged when we go through difficult times and the loving staff at Father's Heart reaffirms that God is always there-through the good AND especially in the bad. We just have to hear him knocking to door of our heart and let him in. I have been knocked down a few times in the last, almost 5 years of living in NYC but God has never abandoned me. I've shut him out a few times in the course of those almost 5 years but coming to Father's Heart this morning reassures me that I'll continue to be looked after.

Even through this difficult challenge, I can see him working through me and around me and I wouldn't have it any other way. If you are reading this and don't believe that there IS a GOD or something orchestrating the goings on in your life, that's okay. I have been there. I can truly say that I once felt alone- even with a thousand friends on facebook and myspace, even friendster and a rolodex full of names and numbers. However, cultivating a lifestyle with Christ in mind and people around me who ARE believers is SO much better. I am not here to convert anyone but genuinely testifying how my life has changed with a mere belief that GOD died for us. ME, even. I have done my share of denouncing Faith and religion, especially after losing my father when I was 7 and experiencing sexual abuse and neglect growing up but all those things happened to get me to the place where I am now.
My mother and I
My brothers and I
I have 10 more days that I am committing to this challenge and a little over 4 weeks before I run a half marathon here in NYC. If you are interested in partnering up with me in Celebration Generosity or the World Vision half marathon, please click on these links: WORLD VISION donation page and Celebration Generosity

Thanks for taking the time to read this and supporting my efforts to seeing the world change, one day at a time.

Monday, February 14, 2011


The 13 year old boy you see in the picture above is Mpande Brian. He is a constant reminder that 2.5 billion in the world LIVE on LESS than $2/day.

I have made a very difficult, but necessary decision to commit to this challenge for another 3 weeks. Even after a difficult week, I feel that to truly experience what 2.5 billion people go through on the daily, I will try attempt to eat on only $2/day and document it. Part of this decision was made because of a recent email about some of the kids that I taught in the LEAD UGANDA program. They are doing an amazing job at their schools and living on LESS than $2/day. Yes. I know I need to be EXTREMELY careful with this challenge since I am also training for a half marathon (13.1 miles) on April 3rd. I have talked to my trainer and we have devised a meal plan so that I get enough sustenance on this budget AND run without passing out. I will, however consult with other nutritionists to see if this can continue without doing permanent damage.

UPDATE from last week:

  • Day 3: (free meal but stuck to what $2 could be)  I was on the set of Blue Bloods and had oatmeal with a few raisins and a bit of brown sugar, green salad and french beans. Then I got home and had an apple with half a teaspoon of almond butter (Ran 2.5 miles on the treadmill-easy pace)
  • Day 4: I had oatmeal again with agave nectar  ( about $.53 didn't have raisins), a bowl of lentil soup with onions, carrots, celery and a few spices ($1.10) one banana ($.19)
  • Day 5: Banana ($.19), another bowl of lentil soup with couscous ($1.25), 1 apple and 1 orange ($.65)
  • Day 6: Promax bar ($1.10-bought a box of 12), rice with potatoes and green salad ($.85) 
  • Day 7: Promax bar ($1.10), Veggie(flour tortilla, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, onions, scrambled egg) burrito (free-shift meal at Alias- but it would cost .90 to make)

 GOING on Day 8 and starting with a Promax bar.

Here's a little inspiration since it is, after all, V-day:

On Love

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep,
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you.
Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

Like sheaves of corn he gathers you unto himself.
He threshes you to make you naked.
He sifts you to free you from your husks.
He grinds you to whiteness.
He kneads you until you are pliant;
And then he assigns you to his sacred fire,
that you may become sacred bread for God's sacred feast.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart,
and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
Then it is better for you that you cover your nakedness and pass out of love's threshing floor,
Into the seasonless world where you shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.

Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

When you love you should not say,
'God is in my heart,' but rather,
'I am in the heart of God.'
And think not you can direct the course of love,
for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night,
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


This is me in Mexico, one of the many poverty-stricken countries in the world.  This is one of the 14 orphanages that I help support with Corazon de Vida ( Quick little tidbit: In 2002, half the population in Mexico was living in poverty and one fifth was living in extreme poverty.  At the national level, in 2002 the rates for access to electricity, water and sanitation were 98, 90 and 80 percent, respectively.

The UN reports that 2.5 BILLION people live on LESS than $2/day. NOT just on food, but for every incidental out there. This is only the second day of the challenge that my pastor at Forefront Church presented to us and I know at least 50 people who are ALL taking the plunge.

SO far, my mind has been blown by the amount of things that we think is NECESSARY when, in actuality, it's all just pretty dang frivolous. A trenta non-fat soy latte macchiatto frappuccino with extra foam and 2 pumps of hazelnut syrup is NOT a necessity. That $2500 Louis Vuitton bag that matches your 3 in. Louboutins  is again, NOT necessary. It's pretty, but NOT necessary. Coming from a fashion background has taught me that frivolosity (yes, I make up my own words) and necessity are fickle fickle idealogies that people adhere to on the daily. Take Paris Hilton for example, how did her Simple Life reality show really show her what mattered in life and what didn't? It was a fun little experiment to take a well-to do über-privileged heiress, have her work on a farm milking goats and make her shop at Wal-Mart (where they sell walls*) and interact with the majority of Americans who don't OWN an Empirical company like Hilton Hotels and see if she learns something. MAYBE for like, 2.3 seconds but honestly, she will still buy her $2500 Fendi handbags and $1600 Jimmy Choos and not even blink an eye. Who cares if there's 2.5 billion people living on less than $2 a day? I'll tell you. A whole congregation of about 600 people in NYC do, and I'm glad to be part of it.

Definitely looking forward to my small group tonight who will ALL chip in to eat on our allotted $2/day challenge:
Small Group Dinner Tonight:
Soup: 2.49 x 2 = $4.98/12 = $0.41
Rice: 2 boil-in-bag = $1.44/12 = $0.12
Sour cream (1 tbsp): $3.16/12 = $0.26 per tbsp
Total: $0.79/per person :)
*Wal-Mart reference: Hilton thought they sold Walls. She had never stepped foot in one.

 Attempting to open up cans at Casa de Paz Orphanage to prepare breakfast for 100 kids :)

We are committed to practicing Celebration Generosity raising and giving away $100,000 this year to 3 fantastic groups: The Bowery Mission, Northwest Haiti Christian Mission and The Orchard Group-Everyday Church

Monday, February 7, 2011


So, my lead pastor at Forefront Church challenged us to survive on $2 a day in New York City. Now, the challenge involves nourishment, NOT travel or incidentals. If those were included, I would already have failed because it costs $2.25 for a subway ride to get to work. Now, if I were REALLY diligent and want to take the challenge further to include those things, it would mean leaving my house at 6am and taking the FREE ferry ride into Manhattan, walking from South Ferry to Union Square for work and packing a brown bag lunch. I only had a few hours to prepare from when the challenge was offered and starting it today.  Now, why the heck am I taking this up? Pastor Brian Moll lays it out here:
Why?   As an act of solidarity with those living in extreme hunger in our world (2.5 billion live on less than $2.00/day & 20% live in extreme poverty - less than $1.25/day)

How?  Again, download the challenge here and read all about how to meet the challenge head-on, either alone or with friends (highly recommend doing it with your friends/family/small group/co-workers!)

What?  This is in partnership with Celebration Generosity (CG), and this past weekend we heard about our partnership with Haiti to install clean water filtration systems to prevent the deadly disease cholera. Learn more about CG and what we'll be doing on Sunday, March 6th here.    I hope you'll participate with us, embrace a life on $2.00/day for 7 days, and imagine how we can be a part of the change this world needs.

NOW, I am adhering to JUST the meal plan of $2/day so I started off today with packing a lunch consisting of day-old home-made lentil soup with couscous and frozen red grapes. Since I work at Union Square, I immediately hit up the Farmer's market to scour the free samples of honey, apple slices and banana nut bread. This happens Mon, Wed, Fri and Saturday so I am totally STOKED!!! It's a total convenient thing too because I work in Union Square a couple days a week and frequently make lunch appointments in the area. Only 10 hours into the first day and I'm already doing AWESOME! Hope you are too.

Friday, January 28, 2011

V day schmee-day

It's 17 days before flower shops, restaurants, chocolate stores, hotel rooms and greeting card stores get BOMBARDED by, plentyoffish, J-date,,, okcupid and e-harmony types. Yes. Maybe companies like HALLMARK and Godiva and 1800-Flowers rely on this particular day but it really is media-induced. I get it. Who doesn't love getting stuffed bears holding a fluffy red heart that reads, "I HEART YOU." OR a massive box of chocolates filled with highly caloric fillings that makes your ass look amazing? I mean, I, personally am allergic to chocolate but whatevs. It's the thought that counts, right?!?
Maybe I'm just jaded but I am ecstatic at the fact that I have never really participated in this holiday (not to mention all the $ I've saved over the years). Even when I was pseudo-quasi engaged, I never partook or became a recipient of a bouquet of red roses sent to my workplace or sat in a hard to reserve spot kind of eatery or rented a nice hotel with a heart-shaped hot tub but then again, I am not really that girl. I have no qualms or bitterness (well, maybe a little) at this fact but are there any single ladies out there that secretly want all that pomp and circumstance?

If you just said a resounding, "HELL YEAH," I apologize. I guess it would be awesome to be treated like a queen for one particular day out of the year but I have yet to experience that. I don't even remember getting a candy heart in grade school that read, "I like you." or "You're Sweet." I guess there are worse things in life but I just wanted to get that off my 34 C chest. Thanks.

Does it really take all that stuff to let someone know that you love and care about them? Whatever happened to mixed tapes and leaving a little post it note on the bathroom mirror that says, "Good morning. Just wanted to remind you that I love you. Happy SCHMEE day :)"?
 Oh, wait. THAT, I've definitely experienced.
I guess I'll keep my single little heart all to myself until I find the other half that God has designed for me. Until then, I will mingle.

I have no JOY in this contract tonight (oldie but goodie)

by Marivic Guevara on Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 10:38am

SO, in light of the recent relationship status update (ENGAGED), I regret to inform all of you that it is FALSE. PLEASE KEEP reading though.
Shakespeare says it best through Juliet:

Juliet: "Although I joy in thee, I have no joy of this contract to-night. It is too rash, too unadvis'd, too sudden; Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be(125) Ere one can say ‘It lightens.’ Sweet, good night! This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath, May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet. " Act 2. sc.2

Jay and I have known each other for about 12 years now (since I started Freshman year at UCI) and have been through thick and thin with our friendship and the relationships that we've both had (briefly with one another). We've had numerous conversations about life and partnerships and what it really means to MARRY your best friend and thought it would be great to be "ENGAGED" to each other since we share the same views. Neither of us intended to damage any of our relationships, especially our family but it may actually be the truth a few years down the line. We can truly say that we know each other inside and out, probably more than most of our relationships with other people but it does not negate the fact that we prematurely BROADCASTED our falsified statuses.

One day, this status update might actually be the truth but for now, we will joy in the fact that there is a possible partnership here. It may not be as far-fetched as we initially discussed. But after interviewing couples about marriage and almost finishing up my MARRIAGE or LACK Thereof play, I've come to the conclusion that marriage is the HARDEST job you'll have to do and in a world full of statistics and negativity going against the institution of have to wonder. Is it worth it? I, personally think it is. Finding the right partner for LIFE (because DIVORCE will not be in the vocabulary spoken between us) is a mixture of God's plan and YOUR actions towards finding the right fit for YOU. AND yes, it may not work out and you may have to resort to a DIVORCE, but ultimately, as long as you're open to it (which I wasn't for the latter part of my life) GOOD things and the right person will come. (Learned that in my small group-scripture study last night)

APOLOGIES for alarming you guys and to my family, the right one is in the don't worry. I'll make sure you meet him BEFORE I broadcast it on FACEBOOK. PROMISE.

<3 all of you tremendously. Thanks in advanced for your forgiveness.

Stay tuned for the release of the play that I'm writing :)

30 years and counting: Observations and Wayward Wonderment: JUST BReATHe~ even if I DIDN't end up being the ba...

30 years and counting: Observations and Wayward Wonderment: JUST BReATHe~ even if I DIDN't end up being the ba...: "BReATHe. Simple concept right? (TAT credit to my friend Joe Squadrito) BUT what does it really mean to take a step back and DO just that? I ..."

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The APPLE doesn't fall far from the tree

After spending some time with my family in TX to celebrate my aunt's 50th Jubilee with the St. Dominic sisters, I realize that the apple really doesn't fall far from the tree. Our love for travel and exploring new places runs deep.  I am honored to have spent some much needed quality time with them. I have been traveling for 13 days from NY to Nassau, Bahamas, San Juan, Puerto Rico to Los Angeles and Robstown/Corpus Christi/San Antonio areas and crossed many time zones on a plane, ship, car, bus and now, the Texas Eagle (Amtrak Train) back to NY. I didn't have a plan except to hit up these places where I would find old friends and family and meet some new friends along the way. There was no agenda aside from just being.

The sense of community with my shipmates and the sisters in the convent were similar. YES. You read that sentence right. The common denominator was that we took care of each other. We all consulted each other of the day's agenda and walked through the day with each other in mind. Whether it was through prayer or a toast to signify that we all made it back after 10 years, the foundation was the same. We accepted each other in whatever state we were in (exploring the world, soul-searching, newly-weds, single and ready to mingle, celebrating 50 years of life with God etc.) and we were just IN THE MOMENT. SO much more to report but my train is about to head out and the bootleg wiFI I am using will not be a strong enough signal in a TO BE CONTINUED.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

COULDA SHOULDA WOULDA (50 years as a nun)

This trip to CA is a quickie to pass the time between my Reunion voyage to Puerto Rico and the Bahamas and my trip to Corpus Christi, TX to see my fabulous Auntie Sor Paz. She has been an amazing example of how God works and I am excited to see her celebrate an amazing feat...FIFTY years as a nun. Can you imagine? There was, at one point, a chance for me to spend a summer in her convent when I was in my late teens but that ship has sailed. She was elated to invite me over for a summer even after I replied with, 
"But I've already had sex.." with her sincere response of, 
"That's okay, God forgives."
I mean. REALLY? How cool is she? She joined the convent when she was 19. She will be celebrating her 70th at the end of this month and I am proud to call her my AUNTIE. I, will also be auntie this summer. My 23 year old brother announced a couple of days ago that he and his gf of 5 years are expecting a child. Its fantastic news for me because it kinda takes the pressure off of me to be married and produce an offspring. According to my momma, I should've had my first child at 26, like SHE did but I decided to end my 3 year relationship with a pseudo-quasi fiance (we got matching rings) and moved to NYC. Yup. Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda.

Anyhoo, the direction that my life has taken has been nothing short of a diatribe between God and Science and I am grateful. I've learned so much about the world, my place in it and the people that are currently involved in my life since boarding the MV Explorer...I will catch up on all of THOSE adventures at another café, perhaps in yet another city.


Saturday, January 8, 2011

Sleep to Dream about a perma-vacaystaycation

Inception (Two-Disc Edition) [Blu-ray]

So, right before I sleep, I try and predict what I dream about based on what I did throughout the day and it has been like being on Larium except for the malaria part. I don't usually remember my dreams nor have I seen the movie Inception but I get the feeling that being on this MV Explorer sailing on the Carribean Sea is somewhat reminiscent. I am not entirely sure that I have fallen into deep REM in the last 4 days but my dreams tell me otherwise.
Apart from my desire to go on a perma-vacay wearing only a 2-piece or sexy one-piece with drink in hand and glowing skin, being a NON-US resident has definitely risen in the ranks. My lofty dreams and goals has been, for the most part, achieved in exponential ways thanks to that fire that God has instilled in me. I am in a perpetual gratitude state of mind as I reflect on where my life has been thus far.
My 4-hour long conversation with one of my shipmates has definitely put things in perspective. He is doing partially what I would like to do, sailing around the world with bare necessities and discovering the world one country at a time. I know that my possessions don't possess me but I am kind of a pack rat and have to dispose of, wait for it, 95% of my belongings. Yup. Aside from my collection of jewelry, photos, and a few inherited clothing items from my grandparents, computer and phone, I want to rid  myself of all else at some point. He reminded me that you really don't need much aside from a pair of jeans, a couple of shirts, a computer and a prepaid phone. I guess money would be great too but he got that covered from being a Wall Street workaholic for 2 years. His 15 hour days for 720 straight days has finally paid off.

As a lady immersed in the fashion industries, I don't know if I can pull off a suitcase of a pair of jeans and a couple of shirts. Accessorizing with beautifully-crafted items by my beloved designers/friends is a MUST and I have quite a large collection. There had been a few funerals as of late of family members and notable people and it makes me realize that no matter how much the sentimental value is priced, you cannot take it with you. I would like to be cremated and become a pile of ashes and re-join the universe by being a speck in the grand scheme of things, just like my father. I know that he is definitely looking out for me during this journey and I am grateful for it.

SLEEPING to dream about my life is quite an intense happenstance but at least I'm sleeping longer and more rested that I have ever been in the last year. 2010 has been an exhausting year to say the least. I am preparing for a more rested and chill 2011. Sailing across waters is definitely a great way to start that. Thank you Semester at Sea for being available to dreamers and explorers like me.