The Story of My 2013 in A Thousand Words & Million Happy Smiles

“Memory is a funny thing. When I was in the scene, I hardly paid it any attention.” – Haruki Murakami (Norwegian Wood)

In a few hours time, my 2013 will just be a memory to me. Another leaf in the calendar to throw away and replace with the new one. An old journal to keep inside the box and a new one with the blank pages to fill with fresh thoughts and new hopes. A new jar of happy pills to fill in with happy moments.

My 2013 seemed to happen so swiftly, but nevertheless, I believe that in all of the moments that happened to me this year, I was able to savor it and live within it during the time of their occurrences. I enjoyed every scene I played in my 2013 life story. I cherished every episodes with much appreciation and gratefulness because I know that after that, I can never recreate those special moments again. You can be with the same people in the scene again but the emotions you felt during that time could be a lot different.

Looking back at my 2013, my heart is full of gratitude for I really felt God’s love embracing me all throughout. Since the first month up to the last, God’s always present and involved in every bits and pieces of my 2013 story. I still don’t have a boyfriend and I’m too far to be engaged but who cares?! There are still a lot of things to thank Father God for the year that’s about to end.

I’m thankful that I still have my family with me. We are still complete and happy. Although there maybe occasional setbacks but our faith in God is steadfast that He will restore everything in His time. Every day that I wake up and I see them lying next to me, or when I go to my Lola’s house and see everyone there or have a phone call with a tito or tita or my cousins living a bit farther form us, I’m overwhelmed with much gratefulness that the protection of God is upon our family.

I’m thankful for the gift of friendship. I’m thankful that God gave me different set of friends who are really for keeps. Some of them, I’ve been friends with for almost two decades now, some for a decade, some for 6 or 5 years, some for a couple of months, but nevertheless, God’s been gracious to bless my life with friends who accept me for who I am, laugh at my weirdness, understand my randomness, feel for me when I feel down, and rebuke me if necessary. Thankful for the broken relationships and burned bridges which have been restored this year. There were friends I lose along the way but I’m still hopeful that God can restore my relationship with them. Just as I have faith in Him, I also have faith in the foundation of our friendship and that no amount of misunderstanding or strife can totally ruin it.

I’m thankful for the new people that God brought in my life this 2013. In one way or the other, these people have touched my life in a very special way. They are, undoubtedly, another addition to my bunch of friends for keeps. I hope that God will also make use of me to extend His unconditional love to them.

I’m thankful to God for sending me to the nation of Medan, Indonesia. That mission trip is perhaps one of the highlights of my 2013. The year before, that mission trip was just a desire, but God made that desire come into fruition this year and I just couldn’t contain the happiness and fulfillment I felt when I was finally in the mission field. Indeed, man has plans but it is the Lord who will direct his steps (Proverbs 16:9). It wasn’t an easy episode  and there were a lot of emotional struggles I had to battle just to get through but God remained true to His promise till the end. He never left me and was faithful and providing for me and our team during that time. I’m also grateful to those people who allowed themselves to be used by God for this mission trip. Their “yes” really made a big difference in my 2013.

I’m thankful for my spiritual family. These people never fail to remind me of God’s goodness in my life and they’ve been great instruments on the changes in my perspectives about life and love in general. And truly, my walk with Jesus is made even more fun and enjoyable because I’m walking with them, too.

Nine years has passed and still I am thankful to Oliver and his family. He might have long bid goodbye to this world but the pieces of his life are still connected with me. I am forever thankful that God blessed me with another family in them.

Travels. Some people might view it as just a luxury, a waste of money perhaps. But never for me. Traveling makes me appreciate the life I live and the world I live in. It makes me value my job and hard work but also helps me understand that life is not just about pushing your way to the top without stopping for a moment and enjoying the beauty surrounding the road your trudging on. Traveling makes me come to terms with my fears and issues. It makes me experience different cultures, understand that people have different opinions on things, and it makes me appreciate and love my country — the Philippines — more and more. Moreover, it helps me weave words in a more creative manner which I never thought I could do before.

And on that note, I thank God for blessing me with travel opportunities and provisions this 2013. My Bangkok trip was memorable because that’s the first time I traveled with my family out of the country. The joy that I see in my mom’s face every time she shares about that Bangkok experience is really priceless.

I’m thankful for the jobs I got to do and earn from without feeling stressed or slaved out. I’m thankful for the students who made me feel like I’m the best teacher ever especially during our summer class. I’m thankful for my online employers who continuously give me community development and writing projects. I’m thankful for our events clients who entrusted the special milestone of their lives to us and for appreciating our service. I might not be trudging the corporate ladder with my power suits on but I’m equally happy where I am now. I’m blessed to be doing the things that I love the most and earn from them– writing, teaching, and events management.

Just as I’m part of the happy scenes in my 2013, there were also sad episodes that I had to act upon on. But I have to thank those melancholic moments, too for they helped me cling on to God more for strength and comfort. The issues and struggles I battled with in 2013 helped shaped the kind of faith I have now. And truly, at the end of every storms, there’s a rainbow to give hope and smiles for the coming days. I’m thankful that God was glorified even in my lowest points and I was able to bear witness to how He’s moving in my life.

2013 was also the year when I celebrated my 30th year of existence. Months, weeks, and days before my 30th birthday, I’ve been having mixed feelings about turning 30. In all honesty, I more of dreaded it before the day came. The thought of hitting the big 30 and still single, I believe, is a common dilemma. March 13 came and from 29, I finally became a 30-year-old single lady. But wait, I’m not just a 30-year-old single lady, I am a 30-year-old single but empowered, blessed, and complete woman of God. Hitting 30 did change some things in my life but I learned to embrace them all and celebrate the joy of hitting this age of maturity (hopefully). I am still single but I thank God endlessly for I know that He has already prepared “the one” for me. In His appointed time, I know our paths will meet. For now, I will busy myself doing what God has called me for while waiting for His best for me.

My 2013 wouldn’t be meaningful and complete without the presence of Father God in my life. I am eternally grateful that He is the Lord and Savior of my life. Each and everyday, I thank Him for the gift of my life and His involvement in every details of it. I hope that in the coming year, I will experience more of Him and soar higher with Him.

Happy New Year everyone!

Here’s to loving more the people you’re with, welcoming the new ones that will come into your life, embracing new changes, facing new challenges, winning over difficulties and trials, climbing more mountains and maybe hoping to move some, leaping of an even greater faith, sharing more laughter and joys, crying over heartbreaking moments, giving more of what we have, appreciating the people and things in our lives, giving more hugs, drinking more coffee and tsokolate batirol, munching more chocolates, reading more books, visiting more holes-in-the-wall, traveling to different places, and dreaming big dreams!

Let’s declare that 2014 is the Year of the Lord’s favor upon our lives!

Jeremiah 29: 11-13 

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Cheers! Life is better when you share it with the people who matters to you! Share the love! Be blessed! 😀

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Season.Crave.Wait.

The year that’s about to end, I could say, was a bittersweet journey for me. There were some events this year that made me appreciate life more and there were also some that made me lock myself inside my room and cry out to God for help and enlightenment. There were a lot of things I learned about life, about my faith, about people, and topping them were the things I learned about God that made me enjoy my walk with Him all the more.

During our Victory group’s Christmas party held in Tagaytay, one of the activities done was writing down on a paper designed and printed just for the occasion, the top 5 things we are thankful for in 2011, the top 5 things we are believing God for in 2012, and our message to God.

In all sincerity, I had a tough time choosing the top 5 of the things I’m thankful to God for in the year 2011. It maybe a bittersweet ride but nevertheless, I realized I still have countless of things to be grateful to God for. He ushered me in to the start of the year with much hope in my heart and still continued to fill my heart with more wonderful things to aspire for in the year and years to come.

Perhaps, I could summarize my 2011 in three words: SEASONS.CRAVE.WAIT

SEASONS.

God put me in a number of seasons in 2011. In some of these seasons, God let me hear His voice loud and clear in almost all the conversations I had with Him, while there were also some seasons when He seemed too silent and far away. Nevertheless, I am just as grateful for all those periods of my life because I’ve learned to understand what ‘walking with God’ actually means and what it really takes to be able to enjoy that walk on a level that you and God only know.

CRAVE.

The seasons of my life in 2011 made me crave for God and His words more than ever. I was able to feel that certain longing to get to really know Him and hear His voice. And being able to finally hear God’s voice was the highlight of my year. I never really thought that that thing could actually happen. Since then, in most of my quiet times, I would always   be excited to hear His voice and what He wants me to know and be enlightened about. In most of my decisions, if not all, I’ve learned to seek Him first before deciding what to do.

WAIT.

I’ve checked my 2011 Faith Goals recently and yes, not all of the things listed there were crossed out yet. Not yet. Nonetheless, I am thankful that God blessed me with a heart to continue to wait on Him patiently. Being able to get to know Him more and spend more time with fellow believers, I was now able to associate and include JOY with WAITING.

Waiting and hoping on God is indeed much happier and bearable than to wait and on hope on man. People could fail you, even the closest person to your heart could let you down. GOD NEVER WILL.

2012–Year of the Dragon? Nah! It’s the year of the LORD’S FAVOR!

The year 2012 is still a mystery to all of us. No one really knows what’s going to happen to us. Not even the most expensive DRAGON FIGURINE you bought believing to give you good luck can never and will never assure you of a good life in 2012.

It is only in believing and hoping on God and His favors for your life that would make life worth living for. There is only one GOD that could provide for your needs and bless you with a happy and abundant life. Abundance here doesn’t only mean money or luxury or any material things of this world. It is only in walking with Him that you can get to experience and understand that so-called ‘abundance of life.’

Those dragons can never save you from harm, neither can they heal you when you’re sick or if there’s a loved one who’s sick. Those dragons can’t even enlighten you on what to do with your life. Those dragons can only stay in your house but can never be with you every moment of your life.

Only God can do those things. Only God has the almighty power to do all those things.

Jesus Christ did not save us through luck. He saved us through His blood and that’s real-life☺

Whatever season God will put me in 2012, I’m certain that He will always be there to help me make it through those events and periods☺

A Blessed New Year to all!