31 Reasons I am Thankful for August 2014

August was a busy month. I did not have time to blog and if you look at my list of blog topics to write about, I have 12 items pending on my list. However, I promised myself that no matter how busy I am I should have at least one blog post a month and that would be the gratitude list.

A busy August meant I was productive. I thank God for the opportunities that came along my way. I thank the people who allowed me to be part of the projects, trips and gatherings for this month.

Let me run down the things I am thankful for for August.

1. Dinuguan. This Filipino food is one of my comfort foods. My late mother cooked a mean dinuguan and the person she taught how to cook visited so we took advantage of her being around and asked her to cook diniguan. Sorry I do not have a picture. It was that good that I forgot about everything. ;)

2. Meeting that went well. There was so much preparations I needed before the trip and I did not know if I was doing it right.  The meeting gave me a clearer picture of what needs to be done.

3. Report submitted as promised. I had a trip the next day but I was still doing the report for another client. It was crunch time for me since I still need to pack for a week-long trip.  In times like this, you just need to focus. It is not a good time to panic. You just have to do it and you will be surprised that things can get done.

4. Escaped Manila traffic. I arrived Manila during the day when there was an 8-car collision and every Manila-based friend lamented on  Facebook being stuck for at least three hours on the road. I traveled light so using the MRT was a breeze. What I did not escape from was the heavy downpour in the afternoon on the way to a meeting. Thank God, my boss fetched me near the MRT station.

5. Tim Ho Wan. My friend raved about  this 1 Michellin star restaurant that I just have to try. The pork buns are divine.

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6. Visiting Myanmar. As of January 2014, Filipino tourists are allowed to entered Myanmar visa-free for 14 days. This is the view from my hotel room.
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7. Stress-free day. I thought we had so much to do today but I did not experience the stress associated with it. I do not know about those in the streets. Myanmar is slowly developing and does traffic follow development?

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8. Shwedagon. Myanmar is known for its political struggles, gems and pagodas. We visited the mother of all pagodas in Yangon, the Shwedagon. I walked barefoot in the rain (with umbrella, of course) to tour its vast complex. More stories about Myanmar in a future blog post.
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9. Bogyoke. This is Yangon’s shopping area. I was able to buy souvenirs here. Oh my! Gems are also sold here. Those gems are beautiful. I do not wear jewelry but I love art so I saw intricate art when I looked at those pieces of  jewelry.

10. Yummy dinner. We had a lovely Chinese dinner courtesy of my boss.

11. Home bound. We went home thankful for all the experiences in Yangon. We are humbled by the strength and resilience of Burmese people.

12. Home sweet home. This greeted me home. Frozen durian tasted like creamy custard. Yummy.

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13. Kare-kare. Lani cooked a mean kare-kare.

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14. Viber. I now have Viber so I can regularly get in touch with some friends this way.

15.  Time. We did some prep work for the following day’s activity.

16. Generous friends. My friends shared their blessings with some orphans.

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17. Road trip. There are 86 barangays in Butuan City and I have never been to each one of the them. My friends and I took a trip to one of those barangays. This is Tungao, Butuan City.

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18. Fiesta. There was another reason to gather with friends.

19. Energy. There was a trip coming up and I needed to allot time to do errands before I leave

20. Perseverance. I had a deadline and I did not sleep the whole night. Maybe, I had some catnaps but I was up all night. I was glad I was able to finish the task.

21. Trip. It was the start of the annual trip with friends.

22.  Breakfast. After a plane ride and a long 11-hour bus trip, we arrived at Tuguegarao City. Our first goal was to eat Pansit Batil Patong. Their serving was huge. I was not able to finish my meal.

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23. Palaui. The reason we wanted to go to Cagayan Valley was to visit Palaui Island. Beautiful place.

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24.  Fun food. I saw this on my friend’s Facebook. I could not resist ordering the pair for myself.

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25.Catching up with friends. I had one day to spare in Manila.  I used the time to meet with my friends.

26.  Home. I am always thankful that I got the opportunity to travel. It made me appreciate the world around us and the little place I call home. Home is the place I am most comfortable.

27.  Firefighters. There was a fire in one department store in city. The place burned down. Thank God no one was hurt and only that place burned down .

28. Art. I miss doing art so I settled for a quick digital art to allow my right brain for some exercise.

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29. Surprises from nature. I saw this metallic bugs in a shrub near our house.  I found them interesting and pretty.

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30. Movie time with Tita. It has been awhile since we last watched videos together. This was our setup.

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31. New place. My friend invited us to their fiesta. We grabbed the opportunity to do so. This is Lawigan, Tubay, Agusan del Norte.

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Thank you, God, for a wonderful August. September is my birthday month and I thank my BCBlogger friends for the early greetings. I will find time to catch up with you guys!

 

31 Things I am Grateful for July 2014

We are already more than halfway of August and I have not posted my July gratitude list. There is a lot on my plate right now and I am thankful for those. There are just opportunities that are hard to pass up and I sacrificed some things (like this blog). As a freelancer, there are lean months and busy months. I take advantage of these things especially if the work is fulfilling and I get a great learning experience.  July was one of my lean months but  it was as enriching as the past months.

July is a steady month and I am thankful for that because August is quite a challenging one.

1. Friendship. I found time to write about my friend, Ayet. I thank God for friends He sends my way.

2. Trust. When a friend confides to you, trust is given. I hope I was able to ease some of the worries bothering my friend.

3. Laughter. My cousin got into loom bands that she kept tagging me on her work on Facebook.

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I was interested in this craft before but when everybody else is into this thing. My crazy friend got into the conversation and posted this.

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I really had a good laugh. If you are a child of the 80′s in the Philippines, you know how to play with rubber bands. :D

4. Life. My mama’s friend succumbed to cancer. It is a sad day but I am grateful for the life she lived and how she was part of my mama’s happy memories.

5. Food experiment.  My friend was into overnight oats so I tried to make one, too. My uncle and I loved it.

6.  Art. I have time for art and it took me three days to finish all three.

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7. Humbled. I saw a watercolor painting  by a friend of a friend on Facebook. It was beautiful. I have so much to learn.

8. Remembering my mortality. For some reason, this day reminded me of my own mortality. Life is really short and we have make the most out of it. We also have to take care of ourselves. I am amiss on that part. I have not exercised since May! Hope I find time to workout.

9. Nephew’s birthday.  He is now 3. How time flies! And finally, he got a haircut.

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10. New art idea. My cousin forwarded me a video of a 3D art. I tried it on a simple object. It needs refinement but I was happy I learned how it was done.

At a certain angle, it looks like this.
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  When it is drawn on paper, this is how it looks.

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11. Errands. I accompanied my aunt in her errands. Transacting with government agencies can take some time. Good thing, the office had cable TV and magazines to entertain me.

12. Quesadilla. This is one experiment I enjoyed but I think I should have gone easy with the filling. I learned from Maan how to do it better.

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13. Positive vibes. I took a selfie after months of not posting a photo of myself. I got a lot of ribbing from cousins who are selfie-addicts. It was fun but taking a selfie is not something I will do often.
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14. Overwhelmed. I am grateful for the opportunities coming my way.
15. Space. The house was under repair and I camped in a small table in my aunt’s lanai. This is the day I regained my table.
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16.  Yummy cake.  It was my aunt’s birthday and Red Ribbon’s celebration cake is cheap and yummy!

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17.  Sacrifices. Art took a back seat as work was prioritized. Yay for work! It means I have something to pay the bills.

18.  Skype. I love how technology brings us closer. We have not chatted with my aunt in awhile.

19. Keeping cool. I overpaid the burgers I ordered. I ordered 4. The girl at the counter heard 6. I did not argue anymore. It is a she said/ she said thing. Pointless.  Hahaay.

20. Prayer. I released a prayer into the heavens.  Something was bothering me and I may not find the answer soon. I know God has something better for me.

21. Adobe Lightroom. I discovered this new tool and I used it on a selfie which I will not post anymore. It is on my instagram profile picture.

22.  Job offer. I got a call about a job! It was just a three-day gig but I was glad to do it.

23. Trip. I got the details of the upcoming work trip.  Getting some details will make managing time easier.

24. Instagram!

25.  Purpose driven life. I started reading the book with a friend.

26.  Roof overflowed.  I am not thankful for that. We just had it repaired and this happened. We had to call the carpenter to come the next day to repair it. Thankful that nothing was damaged inside my house.

27.  Blessings! I forgot where I found this poster but this spoke what I felt a that time.

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28.  Tasks. Finishing tasks give me a feeling of accomplishment.

29.  Realization. Live life to the fullest. I lost a schoolmate to sudden unexplained death  (in Filipino term, ‘bangungot’).  It was heartwarming to read how he was admired by a lot of people. He lived life with zest.  We all should.

30.  Personal guard. Our barangay has this monument erected. Datu Silongan! Because it was near my house, I felt that I have a personal guard watching over us. hahaha

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 31. Yellow wall. My aunt had my wall painted and it matched my yellow house shirt. Haha and this is not a selfie since I asked another person to take this photo.

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Hope your July was a good one, too!

Quick Update: I am on Instagram!

Thank you for all your uplifting comments on the previous post. I am doing okay now.

After 48 years (hehe!), I am now on instagram. Follow me @katrinacenteno. I still have a few posts. However, I am traveling this week. Hopefully, I will be able to update some photos.

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Please leave your instagram name on the comment. Let’s follow each other.

God’s Love

Early this year, I found these verses in the Bible.

Philippians 4: 4-9

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.
9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me–put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

I pray. I try to pray as often as I can- whenever I need to talk to Him. However, I have to admit there are nights when I just sleep without saying my prayers.  I am the kind of person who fervently prays to God when deeply troubled yet forgets to regularly pray when life is sweet. I am human. I am a sinner. Yet when I am feeling low, God is always there for me.

Over the weekend, I was feeling terrible. There were things I wanted to get done that did not get done. There were things that I wanted to happen that did not happen. These were simple things yet it felt like a heartbreak even if I did not know what a heartbreak feels like. I was emotional yet I kept a straight face. Then I remembered those verses. I prayed. I convinced myself that my worries will end for God knows what is in my heart. I still slept with worries but with some ray of hope.

Then something magical happened. I got things done today and I felt God’s hands in my life as I received some good news. There is really nothing to worry about.

30 Reasons Why I am Thankful for June 2014

I started the month in another country. The rest of the 28 days I spent them at home and I still had quite a fulfilling month.

Here are 30 reasons why I am grateful for June:

1. My friend, Jill. She slept late the night before because she had a cupcake order the following day. After she delivered the order, she drove us around Brunei the whole day. What a gracious host!

2. Filipinos at the Labuan Duty-Free. We got free chocolates!

3. Safe travel. I arrived in Butuan safely. Tired but safe and happy.

4. Free ride. I was scheduled to go to Tandag city to claim my professional fee for work.  My neighbor was also scheduled to go there so my aunt and I hitched ride to Tandag.  We had lunch in Lianga and I picked sea cucumber ceviche since I have not tried that before. It was crunchy and tasty.

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5.  Aunt’s birthday.  An aunt celebrated her 79th birthday. That is quite a milestone. I thank God for her life. She is a blessing to our family.

6. Chat with friends. My friends were quite busy watching the tennis match between Sharapova and Halep. I stayed up late to wait for updates who won the match.  I now forgot who actually won.  Ha!

7.  Dine out with family. There was a brownout and we were too lazy to cook in the house. We went out to try a new restaurant but it was closed because there was no generator so we have to settle for Chowking. It was still a filling meal.

8. Opportunity. I had a new task so I worked hard today.

9.  Movie with friends. We watched ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. I loved the book so I was ready to cry watching the movie. I didn’t. I watched it with my friends whose side comments would instead elicit laughter from me.

10. Cousin’s birthday. I can’t believe my cousin is now 32. I am the oldest grandchild so, in my eyes, my younger cousins are all teenagers. Ha!

11. Visit to father’s hometown.It has been awhile since I last visited my father’s hometown and I am glad to still see this sign whenever I get off the bus. My grandmother was one generous woman.

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12. Independence day! It is the Philippines’ 116th Independence Day.

13. Energy.  I was quite hardworking this day.

14. Lost weight. I am still overweight but 5 pounds is 5 pounds. Yahoo!

15. Father’s day. My Papa is in heaven but I thank God for my father’s life on earth. Those were happy moments. I spent this day with my regular ritual whenever I miss him and Mama- I listened to my childhood recordings of our conversations again.

16. Catching up with friends. Our friend, Mau, was in town. She is currently based in Ormoc as an engineer for the UN’s effort to rehabilitate Yolanda-affected areas. We took this opportunity to meet up with her because it may take some time before we get to see her again.

Photo swiped off Mau's Facebook.

Photo swiped off Mau’s Facebook.

17. Provision. Thank you, God, for the blessings. Someone owed me money and I got paid today.

18. Reminder. I was quite overwhelmed with the things I need to get done and the budget I need to raise for some of the projects I am trying to complete. I quickly realized that I should not worry.  God knows what is in my heart.

19. Cup topper. I saw a cute cup topper. I want to get one for myself and so I did. :D

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20. Time to try portrait. My watercolor portrait needs a lot of improvement but I am enjoying the process.

21. Fun doing landscape watercolor art. The watercolor landscape still looked different from the original where I copied it from but I am happy that my friends were appreciative of the result.

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22. Power of touch. We visited my mother’s friend who was sick. She was already bedridden and she hardly talks She smiled when she recognized me and she held my hand for a long time.

23. Portrait alternative. Since my own self-portrait was a little off, the dog painting was a lot better. Maybe I should stick to painting animals for awhile.

24. Free food. I got a visit from a friend and she brought food!

25.  Home repair. We got a carpenter to repair my house.  We need to do something about the termite infestation. Plus, I want a nicer home without the problems.

26. Friend’s clean bill of health. My friend had a health scare which prompted her to undergo surgery. She told me what she went through and I am thankful that the worries have come to pass. She can move on to the next chapter of her life.

27. Bonus! My client was happy with my work that I got a bonus for it.

28. Fun conversation. With my aunts, we always have laugh out loud moments.  One of my aunts does not mince words and she neither practice political nor tact. She doe not edit what is on her mind. We find that amusing and scary when we are with other people. But when it is just me and my aunts, it is always fun.

29. Hard work. I pushed a little harder with work since there are bills to pay. It is almost the end of June.

30. Reward. I was a little under the weather. House repair is still underway. My messy house may have cause a little stress to my system. I got something to cheer me up.  My collection is complete. I am not really a fan. I did not watch the movie yet. I just want these cup toppers.

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I am looking forward to a wonderful July!

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