Ending This Decade with….

Ending This Decade with….

A grateful heart.

The decade 2009- 2019 was a roller coaster one. It had its share of ups and definitely low points. Hills and valleys. But in all those seasons, I was assured and kept secured that God was with me. That alone is enough reason to be grateful.

This decade saw me mourn the deaths of my precious loved ones — that of my father, grandma, uncles. But it also saw me rejoice in the truth that they are home in the arms of Jesus and someday soon, we will be reunited again.

This decade saw me shifted careers. From working in a posh 5-star hotel as a public relations officer, I am now enjoying my job as a preschool teacher. It was a shift I never regretted, though. Everyday that I go to school and get to see and experience the funny antics of my students, it’s an everyday reminder that I am exactly where God wants me to be. I am also grateful that I am still able to continue my passion for my writing as I still get to write for certain projects every now and then.

This decade saw me grow my faith in God and flourished in my walk with Him. It’s true when they say that you can experience more of Jesus if you spend more time with Him. I’ve come to know Him more and not just as a God resting in Heaven. He is my personal God and Savior. Year 2019, specifically, was the year that I’ve experienced God as my protector and shield. I am blessed to be experiencing this unconditional love from Him everyday. I am not a good person but His love is making me want to be better everyday.

This decade saw me answer the call to go to the nations. A calling I didn’t know I am actually deserving to have, but God qualified me for it. I went on a short sojourn in Medan, Indonesia and is now enjoying my season in Vietnam. Apart from the Philippines, these nations hold a special place in my heart. I got to enjoy their beautiful culture and share the beauty of knowing Jesus at the same time.

This decade also saw me keep the friends I knew from way back then and gain new friends I now call my constants. There were some I lost along the way but nevertheless, I am glad to keep those worth keeping. There were hellos and goodbyes as there were healings and restorations.

This decade saw me opened my heart again. I lost my first love in 2004 and I thought my heart won’t be able to love again. This new love isn’t the same as the old one, but who would want a repeat of an old love? I’m thankful that this new love is something I could enjoy discovering the beauty each new day. I like that it isn’t predictable and I like that I feel more secured now. It wasn’t the usual “highschool kilig” feels when we met. Rather, I felt more at home with him. I felt home with him. Will this love be until the end? Only God knows. I have offered this new love to Jesus and anchored it to Him because I know that only Jesus could make it work. I want Him to not be a special guest in our relationship but a very essential part of it.

In a few hours from now, I will be saying goodbye to this decade. This decade that gave me a different look at life. I am just thankful that God didn’t let me end this decade with unanswered prayers. I am grateful for the gift of family and friends who never fail to make me feel loved and cared for. Most of all, I am forever thankful to Jesus for choosing me and for loving me unconditionally all the days of my life.

Year 2020. I am ready to create new memories on your blank pages.

The Thankful Thirty Project. Day 6

March 6.

Today, I’m thankful to God for blessing me with a really good and crazily happy Lolos and Lolas and Titos and Titas.

I’m grateful that God made me born into two families who know very well how to value the importance of ‘family,’ fight for it, and live for it.

My Lolos and Lolas from the father side died even before I could actually appreciate the warmth of their cuddles and kisses. I think my Lola Saling died when I was just 2 months and Lolo Gemeng died way before I was conceived. Thankfully, I have Lola Saling’s brothers and sisters to call my Lolos and Lolas on my father’s side. They’re actually a blend of super serious, slight serious, and very funnily amusing grandparents! Most of them already passed away but at least the funniest of them all is still here with us–Lolo Totoy. He’s the most mapanlait lolo ever but his panlalait never fails to amuse me and make me laugh:-) One of my cousins even told me before that she doesn’t know how to introduce her boyfriend to Lolo Totoy without receiving panlalait from him. But we love him dearly and in fact, he’s always the life of the party during our family reunions. Every time he cracks a joke, the whole room will be filled with laughter.

I’m blessed to be able to experience spending summer vacations with my Lolo and Lola from the mother side. Tatay, as we fondly called Mama’s father, was the most gentle, caring, loving, and generous lolo ever! He would always defend us from Nanay (my lola) whenever she gets mad at us. His death some 15 years ago, was the first heartbreak I’ve experienced in my life.

Nanay Sitang is not your usual gentle and sweet Lola. She’s actually mataray and at times madamot:-) But those things could not discount the times we’ve experienced her unconditional care and love. She wouldn’t be Nanay Sitang if she’s not mataray. Nanay may be extra masungit at times but she never fails to make us laugh whenever she bonds with us over lechon rice or ice cream and sometimes even red wine. Even if we keep on telling her that too much sugar is bad for health because she has diabetes, she would stil insist on eating chocolates, ice cream and even hoard sweet desserts inside her refrigerator. She’s the most makulit and hard-headed lola of all! But we love her dearly:-) She’s our family’s treasure and just thinking about losing her one day really creeps us out. 

I’m extra grateful to God for blessing me with cool titos and titas from both sides. They are at times a paradox of each other. While the other side were more goody-goody and less enjoy-the-night-till-you-drop types, the other side were a more carefree bunch.

But I love them both ultimately. I love that they care for us more than what the normal titos and titas do. I love that they treat us like their own kids, too. I especially love that some of them are really very supportive of my passion for writing and creativity. I love that some of them were very thoughtful enough to really design my home workstation. I love that some of them were sweet enough to buy me my favorite nakakabilaok na mamon from Baker’s Fair. I love that some of the things I have now I got because they blessed me with it. I love that I could sing Eraserheads, Rivermaya, After Image, The Dawn, and even Introvoys’ songs with some of them and never really feel ridiculed. I love that I always look forward to summer family outings because they’re part of it.

It’s not always rose-colored days between us but nevertheless, I super appreciate their existence in my life. They are one of the reasons why I feel that my life is really blessed.

The Thankful Thirty Project. Day 5

March 5.

Today, I’m thankful to God for blessing me with crazy bunch of cousins on both sides of the family.

Not all people have that kind of close bond with their cousins. And maybe there are even some who don’t even have the chance to spend time and share memories with their cousins at all. Hence, I am super thankful that God made me belong to the families where there are different kind of bond between cousins.

I don’t actually consider my cousins as just ‘part’ of the family. They are ONE OF THE SPECIAL REASONS why I love being with my family. They are my happy pills. They’re the source of my heart-filled laughter. I would really trade a night out with friends just to spend crazy night of watching ‘koreanovelas’ or pigging out with them.

I especially love the feeling of waking up in the morning and seeing my younger cousins sleeping beside me. I love that these youngsters look up to me as their ate. That even though I keep on telling them what to do and not to do or reprimanding them for what they’ve done wrong, I know that they still love me and treasure the times I bring them to different places and make them experience new things. They even thought that Mother Nature is my best friend because I keep on telling them that Mother Nature will get mad if they will just throw their litters on the floor.

I love that I found a barkada among my cousins. We plan family events together, we try new things together, we watch movie together, get really out of tune in videoke lounges together, we go to random places together and a lot of various things we love doing together. I love that it’s easier to plan dinner dates with them and our parents wouldn’t mind us coming home late because we’re with each other.

I’m thankful that during the lowest points of our lives, we have each other to cry with and to move on with.

I’m thankful because during my ’emo’ moments and I don’t have available friends to be with me, they’re there for me. Just their presence alone could already lift my mood up. Well they don’t actually always mean to be available…it’s just that most of their houses are just a few walks from our house so I could just go there if I’m feeling down and just seeing their funny antics, especially the little ones, could already make my day.

When I grow old, some of my friends might be too far away or too busy with their own lives to spend time with each other. That’s  a bit scary, though. But at least I know that when that worst time comes, I still have my cousins to have coffee with. We don’t actually need annual family reunions to see each other because we could always set a special date to be with each other and no amount of busyness could hinder that.

Friends come and go but my cousins will always remain as they are until the end. After all, there’s no such thing is ‘disowning’ your cousins.

Really, thank You Lord for the gift of crazy cousins!

Cousins are often the first friends of your life…. Cousins share your childhood memories. ….No one will ever understand your crazy family like your cousins!!!

The Thankful Thirty Project. DAY 1

March 1.

Today, I’m thankful for the God I’m worshiping and praying to.

I’m thankful that the God I’m praising and putting my faith in to is the only God who made the heaven and the earth. I couldn’t imagine my life without HIM.

I’m thankful that He rescued me from darkness and He blessed me with this new life I am now enjoying.

I’m thankful that He is my one and only Savior.

Following Him and surrendering my life to Him was the most wonderful decision I’ve made in my life. It might have caused rifts and unending questionings from my family and friends but I never feel regretful for doing that. I didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, I strongly believe that what I did was the the single, most right thing to do. I didn’t do drugs or even caused anyone to die. I just surrendered my life to the one God who’s deserving of all the praises and adoration. I surrendered my life to Christ.

I’m thankful that God didn’t let me wander through life without a clear picture of what He is in my life. Year 2007 will always be a special year for me because that’s when I finally let God come into my heart. Year 2009 was an even more special and remarkable year because that was the time I finally let go of my fears and just surrendered my whole life to Christ. That year, I was born again. I was born into a new relationship with my Savior and my life was never the same again.

The Thankful Thirty Project.

First day of March 2013. The countdown to turning 30 starts today.

Some 18 months ago, when I was still 28, I came across this blog entitled “The 30 Before 30 Project.” It’s about a 20-something lady who made a list of 30 things she would like to accomplish, do or experience before she turns 30. By the time she celebrated her 30th birthday, she victoriously blogged about how she was able to accomplish all those things in her 30 Before 30 project.

I would love to do the same thing but that would just be parroting what’s already been done and published. Plus, one of my older cousins told me it might just stress me out if I wouldn’t be able to accomplish all that 30 items in the list. He said that the best way to prepare for your new season of being 30 is to just welcome it with open arms, celebrate and enjoy it.

An advice I was a bit crabby at first but I eventually concurred to.

Nevertheless, I would still want to celebrate my 30th year of existence a little different. Turning 30 is one milestone in my life that I’m both dreading and feeling excited of. It was way different when I turned 20. I don’t exactly know why. Perhaps you’ll just feel it when you turn 29, when being 30 is only 12 months away. Imagine the feeling when you’re only a few sleeps away from hitting the big 3-0.

I actually have plans for my 30th birthday. No I’m not going to throw a birthday bash for myself since I’m no fan of hosting or preparing for my own party. Instead, I’m planning on celebrating my birthday alone in one of the happiest places on earth for me–Baguio. I’m actually used to doing things alone like eating, watching movies in a movie house or even shopping but travelling alone is one thing I’ve yet to do. Thus, I decided to travel to Baguio alone on the eve of my birthday and I will be spending the entire March 13 walking along the streets of Baguio, eating, watching people, doing quiet time, writing in my journal, and perhaps taking pictures. Nope, this is not an emo kind of thing. I won’t be there to feel emotional or feel alone. I will be there to celebrate my life.

Since I couldn’t come up with the top 30 things i want to do before I hit 30, I decided to just make a list 30 of things I’m thankful for in the 30 years of my existence. And I’m calling it THE THANKFUL THIRTY PROJECT.

It was only last Tuesday night, while walking along UP Sunken Garden after my class in EDRE 146, when I thought of this thing. Since March is my birth month, I decided to write about one thing that I’m thankful for in my life for each day for the entire month. March has 31 days and I’m only turning 30 so I guess I’d have think of what to do or write about on March 31 in the coming days as this project progresses.

I know not all people who turned were very OC about being 30. Maybe it’s just me. Or maybe not. Whatever. I just want to have something to look back to in the coming years and say to myself that “hey, that was something I did when I hit 30!”

Alright. March 1’s about to end so I better get going. The Thankful Thirty Project officially starts today!