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