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!

10 Things I Learned from My Friend, Ayet

Two weeks ago, my friends found my blogpost about our trip to Laguna. My friend, Ayet, missed that trip because of work. She expressed her regret not being part of the photos I have shared. I promised she will get featured on this blog. Now is her time to shine! :D

I met Ayet 3 years ago on a trip to Naga. We had common friends. We belong to the same high school batch. I know she’s a keeper because we have only been friends for three years now yet it seemed like we have been friends for a long time. She is one bright girl with a loving heart and an adventurous soul. I learned a lot from her in the past three years.

Here are the things I learned from her just by observing how she lives her life:

1. Never be afraid to take adventures. This girl does not have an ounce of fear in her body. At least, she does not let it show. She climbed Mt. Apo, wakeboarded in Naga, surfed in La Union, plunged in Bohol, parasailed in Boracay , paraglided in Australia and a lot more.

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Photo taken from her facebook account.

2. Know your good angles and strike a pose. As much as I love to take candid photos, she peppers my shots with glamour poses! She is responsible for many of our ‘choreographed’ photos. It makes traveling fun.

ayet

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3. Treasure the memories. She has several albums on Facebook full of photos. Recently, friends have unearthed the high school photos she shared long ago. There was a fun exchange of comments in the process. In my case, I got know what some of my friends looked like in high school since I did not know them then.

4. We all need some sense of humor. She introduced us to some terms of endearment that we end up using when we get together. These terms have become inside jokes and would result to fits of laughter among friends.

5. No act of kindnes is ever wasted. For two of our trips, she opened her home for us. We all coverged in her room like sardines but we love it. We were all together. Such generosity of sharing her space no matter how small is always remembered.

6. Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less (CSLewis). She has this funny way of putting herself last on the list even at her own wedding! She once told us, “Do you really still need to take pictures of me preparing for the wedding?” Yes, we do! You are the star of that day. She does not put herself under the spotlight even if the light is directed towards her. And she never rubbed it in our face that she topped her class in school.

7. Know when to let go. She has her own share of trials and heartbreaks. Her unwavering faith has kept her strong through the years. It takes courage to walk away from things that you worked hard to keep together because they no longer make people happy.

8. Her family is always in her heart. She flew home in a heartbeat when the family needed her. You can see how she is loved and how she loves them back.

9. Take time to reflect. There is power in silence and in listening to your own hearbeat. We can be alone in our thoughts and find better perspective in life. She writes from the heart when she feels like she needs to express something. She goes on a retreat to recharge her spirit. She says a prayer whenever she can.

10. Never give up on love. She allowed herself to love and be loved.

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I know I will learn a lot more from her.

And since I am sharing this post to her, this is my special message:

Happy, happy birthday, Ayet! I admire you for your kind and loving heart, wicked sense of humor and adventurous spirit. I truly appreciate and treasure your friendship. Mwah!

31 Reasons to be Thankful for May 2014

I am back from a vacation. I will talk a little bit about the vacation on this post but be ready for more posts about it.

I think I have mentioned that May was a steady month. There were no projects that required strict deadlines but I was busy nonetheless. Some of which are non-earning work but I am still happy about making efforts (kahit linis ng bahay lang ginawa ko).

There are a lot of things to be thankful for.

1. Approved funds. Do you remember that I sent a solicitation letter on April 30? Our donor was very generous!

2. Time to do alumni prep work. Since our grade school alumni homecoming is near and we already got the funds, we started to shop for the uniforms we will be wearing.

3. Painting time. I continued to paint.  This has been an enriching hobby for me.

4. Clean room. I am not really my mother’s daughter when it comes to upkeep of the home. I wish I can be an OC with the cleanliness of my room but I always lose the inspiration to do so whenever I see the areas that need to be repaired. However, there are times like today when I step up and clean my mess.

5.  Impromptu roadtrip. My friend who went on a two-month vacation in Manila came home. Together with another friend, we went on a roadtrip to their farm.

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6. Visiting my Papa’s friend. I have been promising to visit my Papa’s friend, who is also my friend’s mom. We finally had the time to do so. It is nice to reconnect with people who are always nice to me while growing up.

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7. Blessy. My cousin’s mini-pinscher is such a hyperactive dog. This time, she posed for my camera.  She looked so emotera melancholic.

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8. Parents. May 8 could have been my parents’ 41st wedding anniversary. I know they are celebrating in heaven. I am thankful for this day otherwise I would not have been born.

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9. Rain. Thankful for the rain. It slightly cooled down the hot summer.

10. Hotel booked! We finally agreed to book the hotel. I do not own a credit card so I am thankful for my friend for offering hers. Oh, I have a new profile picture on Facebook.  I change picture twice a year,  I think.  I took advantage of my relatively tamed hair so I took pics. In most days, buhaghag siya.  :D

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11.  Mothers.  It is mother’s day. I thank God for mothers who spoil us. For someone like me, who lost my mother too soon, I thank God for aunts who love me like their own. :D Not in the picture is my aunt in Canada.

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12. Fun Walk. We woke up early for a clan fun walk.

13. Taxes paid! ‘Nuff said. :D

14. Dinner with friends. We only had a short time catching up but it was a good one over good food.

15. Realization.  It is already mid-month! Time flies so fast!

16.  Permit!  We plan to have a motorcade during the alumni homecoming so I processed our permit.

17.  Cousin’s bday. This means free food. LOL.

18. Preparation time for fiesta. It took us some time before we started buying stuff for the fiesta. It was crunch time for us-from cleaning the house to preparing the food.

19. Fiesta! The guests already arrived before we finished preparing the food! Oh my! Thank God we only had to keep them waiting for a few minutes.

20. Meeting.  With the fiesta over, we can now concentrate on the preparations for our grade school alumni homecoming.

21.  Mama. I can’t believe that it has been nine years since Mama died. I have only been with her for 27 years.I thank God for those years.

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22. Gingoog fiesta. This has been an annual tradition. We have a standing agreement: when our relatives in Gingoog attend our fiesta, we are supposed to attend theirs three days after. Thus, every May 22, we go to Gingoog to fulfill our promise. :D Plus, they have good food. This year’s pretty special because we got to see Tita Ruthie a year after her horrific ordeal. She is as beautiful as ever with humor intact.

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23. Energy. Oh, it is our last minute preparations before the alumni homecoming. My friend and I were panic buying! We bought raffle and game prizes for the homecoming. This event has been a three-man preparation team. I thank my two friends for having the energy to pursue this.

24. Fun event. Whew. After only a few months of preparations, the day has come! The alumni homecoming was a success. I declare it so because I had fun. We played our childhood games and our dinner was boodle style where everyone gets to eat with their hands!
bces

Oh, this is our flashback video which my cousin created. Fun times indeed!

 25.  Reunion hangover.  The alumni homecoming extended on Facebook.  I posted the photos and many who were not able to come were happy to see the photos of the event.

26.  High school souvenir.  I got a surprise visit from a high school friend. He delivered the souvenir of our school’s 25th anniversary last year. He has been meaning to give me a copy but he always forgot to bring it with him the last time he was here.

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27. Last minute preparations. It is the day before I leave for my vacation. I have finished packing early that day. My backpack is full and I know I did not forget anything important.

28. Safe trip. Off to Manila for my vacation. Oh, and I won the consolation prize for the Kojie-san contest. I went to the Nuffnang office to claim my prize. Congratulations to fellow BCBlogger, Kristine Gavilano, for winning the grand prize.
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29. Kota Kinabalu vacation. Arrived early in the morning so we were able to settle down in our hotel at 3AM. We had time to island hop (Yes, only one island because we started late.) in the afternoon.
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30. Walking tour and souvenir shopping. Rain prevented us from doing a trek to the Kinabalu park so we spent the day walking around the city and shopping for souvenirs.

Photo taken by my cousin, Bong.

Photo taken by my cousin, Bong.

31. Cool minds. We took a ferry to Brunei. The woman at the immigration was not welcoming. That incident deserves another post. I thank God that our cool minds and sense of humor prevailed.

Quick Update: Life is a feast!

I am looking at my calendar and May is almost over.  You would think I would be sad but I am excited about it because I have a trip coming up next week! I’ll talk about it when I get back.

My May was steady. There was not much work that required tough deadlines. But still, my schedule was full and I never had the time to blog.  Let me just  run down some of the things I did in May.

My friend came home after a long vacation in Manila. Another friend had some free time and the three of us went to their family’s farm. I love random get-together like this.

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The sunset was gorgeous on our way home.
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May is fiesta time in the city.
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There was a tree planting activity. Each Butuanon clan was asked to plan trees by the river. My two aunts were sitting pretty in the shade. (ha!) It was my uncle who did the planting. Well, he was a forester by profession. He knows how to plant it right.
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This is the Magsaysay bridge over the Agusan river.
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Fiesta was last May 19. I hate going to fiesta where I have to wait for the food to be ready. Well, well, well. We have not yet finished cooking when the guests started to arrive. Oops! Here are some of the food we prepared:

fiesta

I also continued to do some watercolor art. I tried landscape painting this time.

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And since I bought a mechanical pencil, I tried sketching.

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Oh and in a few days, we will have an alumni homecoming. I made this invitation. :D
bces invitation

And life goes on.

I hope all is well you, guys!

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