Plot Twist

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I was actually having a tip-top week. I bought concert tickets for my second-favorite band, Phoenix, caught up with my teacher (whom I should start calling my friend now), had two group dinner with my language friends, worked productively, managed to lessen my social media habits, and had an afternoon with my church community. But life sometimes surprises you with plot twists which leave you wondering, where the hell did that come from? In my case… Saturday night.

I had to gather all my strength to be able to get out of bed since I have to do something exciting at my home church. By God’s grace, Sunday turned out well but as I am typing this now, the strange feeling is starting to creep in. Before it gets any worse, let me remind myself of how, in general, tip-top this week was.

Activity of the Week

International Pigging out. I must have tasted over five different cuisines this week: Peruvian, Brazilian, Korean (which is not new), Mediterranean, Japanese (also not new) and Indian. Being surrounded by ‘international’ friends do have its perks since if it were up to my habits, I’ll stick to the usuals.

Highlight # 1

Phoenix Tickets: Check!. It’s already set in stone. Now I’m just gonna count the days.

Highlight # 2

The supposed grill turned kitchen cookout.

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Someone once told me that when you’re in a church community, you’ll gain pounds since all we do is eat, eat, eat. I’ve been to three-four different communities and all I can say is, this is one of the reasons why I run.

Highlight # 3

That one night that changed this week’s mood. As disheartening as this may be, it rightfully deserves this spot. I am trying to see the good in every situation and what follows are the results:

Lesson # 1

Embrace the bad sides. I’m painstakingly optimistic and it’s gonna take a lot from me to go on a day with black clouds hovering above my head. Life throws curveballs and I have to embrace it— and all the emotions that come with it. It is what makes me human. I allowed myself to feel shame, anger, pity, and disappointment all in one go. BUT..

Lesson # 2

…God’s grace is always available. We are not meant to stay and sulk. We have to get up and kick it out. Personally, I run and pick a preaching. The preaching I listened today hit home unintentionally, which I’m 100% sure is God’s doing. One should only learn to admit that he can’t really do anything better in a dark situation other than to run to God. The problems won’t magically disappear yet there is peace in knowing that God is looking after you and His grace is within reach.

Lesson # 3

Set aside your concerns and glorify God. The moment I stepped inside His home, I am no longer present but His spirit. It was definitely a hard work today but the moment I magnified God, everything just seems insignificant.

Rewarding moment of the Week

The posters we’ve been working hard for a couple of months have been set up! My babies ❤

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Best Deal

GOT leak. I’m all for spoilers and actually read the plot leak a couple of weeks back BUT watching the episode still gave me chillzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Pun included

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Favorite GOT scene

Tormund and the Hound. I’m gonna be nice and leave it at that. #spoilernospoiler

Song of the Night

Listening to this song while ending this post. See you next week!

 

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The year that was

2016 was probably the most gratifying year I’ve ever experienced due to the main fact that my patience reaped a big reward : finally realizing a childhood dream of coming home to a complete family. It wasn’t an easy journey but as cliché as it may sounds, the long road was worth it. My 2016 was equally spent in half : the first half in the Philippines and the rest in Hamburg. I’m glad I pushed myself in the very beginning to document each moment, random and big, that’s why I was able to come up with this year-end video I’m about to introduce.

My goal was to create something similar to those videos I see online, in the hopes of achieving a kick-ass, share-worthy video. With this goal in mind, I planned to show only the good stuff—travel videos, food, artistic shots, and all those beautiful aesthetics. It was very shallow, also impossible because first, I didn’t even plan on travelling and most importantly : it just wasn’t me. So I just stuck to what I do best : just showing who I really am. Unfiltered, random, happy, natural, lazy, bare.

Taking videos everyday was harder than I expected especially during the busy occasions of my year. It went from one-seconders a day to a few videos a week and then the big moments of the month. The editing was even harder since some of my videos weren’t properly shot and most of them were corrupted. But so as they say, the finished product makes every struggle useless and invisible. I’m glad I pushed myself to take as many videos as I could ’cause now, I have the great opportunity to look back and cherish every single moment as much as I want to. Now, I will always have a proof of those short moments in time that passed me by; even some that I insensitively forgot to cherish. I never knew a simple year-end video would bring a huge impact as I welcome a new year. This is a perfect reminder to appreciate every single thing in the present— the good, the bad, the normal, the nonsense.

To cut the long introduction, here’s my own reflection in video format.

 

My special number

When I was 22 years old, I told myself “I’m going to be at my peak once I reach 27”. It became my motivation to reach my best; I wanted to be physically beautiful and successful at the same time. It was coming out of a broken heart and jealousy. 3 years after, I met Jesus Christ. Having found my identity in Him, the idea of being my best self at 27 became an afterthought and sometimes a running joke between me and my friends. I still wanted to be at my best but this time, it was coming out of a healed heart and basically, I just wanted to take better care of myself. I looked forward to the day I’m going to reach 27 just to see if I’ll turn into the woman I was imagining to be.

Now, here I am.

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Am I at my best? NO. 

Am I successful? Not yet. 

Am I physically fit? I’m trying. 

Is this where I am supposed to be? Definitely.

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

For years I held onto the idea of my ideal self but I know what truly matters now : being God’s best for His glory. I thank God for the pruning, for all the seasons of waiting, disappointments, the mountains, uprooting, convictions, and blessings. I’d like to believe that this is the peak that God wants for me. Having Him in my life is the best gift my 22-year old self can give my present self. I am excited to see what God has prepared for me in the years to come!

To end this, here’s a video of my friends surprising me.

Happy 27, self ❤

A letter from my old self to the future me

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*the actual letter

I took a day off from my work today to do some spring-cleaning in my room. While I was cleaning out my desk, I found an old box containing letters from my friends, photographs, concert tickets, etc and I saw a very interesting one— a *letter from my old self for my future boyfriend.

I honestly forgot that it exists. If I’m not mistaken, it was written four/five years ago. It was an image of how lost I was before I met Jesus Christ. Back then, I was eager to meet someone who will see me through my partying, drinking, smoking, etc etc. I was ready to commit and give my heart to a person. I wanted saving.

Well, I did meet someone. Someone saw through my flaws. I gave my heart, not to a person but to God.  Jesus saved me & I surrendered at His feet.

I read the letter twice. I laughed and then looked back on where God took me to be where I am right now. I never saw my worth back then. My habits were damaging; I was damaged. But God orchestrated everything just so I could meet people who would lead me to Him. God met me where I was: damaged, flawed, lost, and broken. He must have really loved me because through it all, He called me.

I threw the letter into the bin but not before taking one last photo ’cause I know this is going to be another great testimony of how Jesus redeems people. Jesus is the only one who can truly change and save lives. When He said, “I make all things new”, He was true to His word.

I may come across a few other things that will remind me of my old self but I will always look at it with a grateful heart. Some might say that you just have to forget the past but I won’t. I will always remember who I was; I’m just only turning my back on old ways. I thank God for redeeming me, for showing me how precious I am, and for loving me unconditionally.

So I guess I have to make a new letter now. 😉

The Sunday Currently 9

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Bridesmaid bouquet at my cousin’s wedding last Sunday.

My longtime friend, Rebecca, recently passed the Board Exam & she’s now a full-pledged architect. Bex has been studying/working for 10 years and we rarely get to see her because she’s either reviewing or working on an architectural plan in a far area. Last night, we got together and celebrated this milestone. It feels so great to see all her hard work paying off & I’m sure that this is just the beginning of a far greater success.

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Sobrang kulit lang at ang galing nitong kaibigan ko. I know soon this will be a reality.

Today I woke up in her room and was caught off guard by what I saw in the midst of the architectural chaos.

I even notice these post-its scattered across her bedroom.

She told me she wrote those to remind her of God especially when she’s discouraged. What an inspiration!!! It was such a humbling experience to witness my friend declaring God’s Word and surrounding herself with it. Through my friend, I was gently reminded of the God we are all serving and it fortified the hope I have in my heart. Bonus din because God surprised me and showed that my friend is growing her faith in Christ. I’m so happy God surrounded me with friends who love God. ❤

Now since I got that one important thought out, here are the other things I’m currently into.

Reading

the book of Ruth and planning to start Gillian Flynn’s book.

Listening

to Hillsong Worship playlist on Spotify.

Writing

This and a sample e-mail draft to the Embassy.

Using

Snail facial mask from Korea + the additional meds for my face.

Watching

American Crime Story and the OJ Simpson docu on CNN. I can get easily fixated on a random topic and this month is all about OJ!

Praying

for my best friend’s application.

Hoping

for a love-filled week.

Loving

this weekend with my friends and the preaching I just heard today. According to the pastor, love is unconditional, sacrificial, and eternal. It is completely impossible for us to achieve this kind of love and only Jesus can love unconditionally, sacrificially, and eternally. Our part is to continue to abide in Jesus, to walk in faith and let Jesus teach us how to love others.

Needing

to lose the pounds. This is it.

Looking forward to

Coldplay’s Superbowl performance tomorrow!!!!!!!!! I’m sure they’re gonna kill it

Feeling

inspired, grateful, and sleepy.

Join The Sunday Currently link-up by siddathornton!

Dare to Believe : Prayer & Fasting 2016

I go through fasting from time to time especially if I feel that my spiritual antenna is weakening; all because of my laziness, disobedience, and getting caught up with my worries. I fast because I want to be in tune with God’s voice and when I have to pray for a specific leading. Let me tell you, fasting really works! It is foolproof & not only because of the breakthroughs and answered prayers that came out of fasting (which happens) but more simply because God says so.

“So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes”

Daniel 9:3, NIV

This time though, I fasted together with thousands of people. Victory’s fasting period happens twice a year : at the beginning of the year (5-day fast) & during the middle (3-day fast). I usually join the mid-year fasting because circumstances have blocked me from joining the “first” fasting. Fortunately this year, I was able to complete my 5-day fast. Thank you, Jesus!

Surprisingly, this fasting never gave me a hard time in comparison to my previous fasts. I looked back at my faith goals last year and realized that all of my prayers have been answered! Some that I’ve already forgotten that I’ve prayed for but were crucial.

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Excuse my handwriting

I am glad for these breakthroughs but more than anything, I am thankful for the pruning and the building of my character. When I decided to know Jesus more last year, all the burden have been lifted off of my shoulder and I began to see a greater purpose which is bigger than my own understanding.

This year on the other hand, I am praying bold prayers. This 5-day fast gave me so much encouragement and audacious faith to stand on the promises of God. I am believing for greater things! My visa? Yes in Christ Jesus! Household salvation? AMEN AND AMEN! Chains be broken in Jesus’ name. This generation, the next, the future generation and even up to the last will bow down to name of Jesus Christ!

Yesterday, the Lord even gave me the impression that I already have His promises in my hand—all I have to do is to obey in faith and spread His gospel. I even dreamed that God was telling me that He holds my future and I only have to be concerned with what’s happening now. Tomorrow is HIS. 

Today I am ending my fasting period but not my journey in seeking Jesus more. I will continue to walk in His ways and put Him first & above all. By His grace, I know magagawa ko yun. 

To end, let me share you two verses which gave me a lot of hope as I fasted.

“Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

2 Chronicles 20:12

18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 2Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

Romans 4:18-21, NIV

 

Be still my heart

The best and most-fitting word I can use to sum up my 2015 would be this golden, four-letter verb : WAIT.  My patience has been tested for the past couple of years (I should have really gotten used to it by now) but 2015 was hands down, the hardest.

I had a clear plan of what my 2015 was going to look like. I already visualized it and hoped it would come to fruition but unfortunately, it didn’t materialize. The changes threw me off and redirected me to a harder, longer route. Basically, it’s like this :

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Honestly, I am already aware that this is how often God works but it’s totally different when you are IN the situation.

The stress of fixing my papers, submitting my application, the interviews, my classes, and the phone calls surprisingly didn’t get to me; I was motivated to get everything done. What set me off was when the only option I have, the only roadblock that separates me from my family was to wait. It will be easier if I am given a specific waiting period but in my case, I am left with nothing. I really couldn’t do anything but to be still.

The circumstances weren’t favorable, too. Refugee crisis, terrorist attacks, visas on temporary hold, etc.  I tried my luck on temporary work but the most convenient I could find still gave me no motion. All opportunities pointed to one place : HERE. It’s as if I am told to stay in a corner and wait for my name to be called until God knows when.

Even though a chunk of my year was spent on waiting, there were exciting highlights too. I went to Prague, watched BSB live, became an English teacher, and found a new home church! Not to mention the character-building experiences God brought my way. My dependence on Jesus grew, my trust fortified, my generosity renewed, and my acts of service developed. My family also became more open to Jesus and I get to witness transformation–I would have missed out on this if my plans prevailed. It also opened doors of opportunities for me to share the gospel. See, I may have been told to be still but it doesn’t mean I have to be passive.

I do not know where I’m headed this 2016 but I’m certain God will be there and His promises will be fulfilled—I can feel it. I look forward to finishing this race I started this 2015 and I know, all the waiting will be worth it.

Happy New Year! Frohes Neues Jahr! ❤

Timehop IRL

Exactly a year ago, I was composing my resignation letter and was preparing for a new season in my life. I had it all planned out : I’d resign, move out of my apartment, pack my luggage, fly to Germany, study then settle in Hamburg.

Fast forward to now, I’m working from home and waiting for my papers to be processed. This isn’t exactly what I had in mind : I’ve got no permanent job, no apartment, I’m settled in my grandmother’s home, I’m not studying, and I’m cities (plus traffic) away from my friends.

Exactly a year ago from today, I was making the most out of my remaining time at the office. Me and my office mates were just in our usual magulo selves; gathered in a corner, eating, laughing continuously, stopping to catch our breath, then back to laughing. I also remember how each one of us are entering into a new season individually. We were anxious of what the future holds but nevertheless, excited.

Fast forward to present time, we all met again. We were the same people even if a couple of things has changed. Every one has their own story to share. I listened but I was simultaneously picturing us back in that old, lunch table at the office. It’s as if a year never happened. It’s as if we never actually separated career paths. It also made me realize that I would never have that kind of relationship elsewhere. It’s bittersweet, actually.

Then, I was this person excited for her future. I was leaving my office family and going to my own. Now, I was back to my office family for a short time and I’m not actually close to being with my own.

Then, I was excited to start again. Now, I’m finding a hard time to start over and kinda wished I was back where I was before.

Now… Then.. Tomorrow. Nothing really matters. Only God can tell me where I’m going to next. What I can only do is to look back, be grateful. and never regret ’cause those things happened just the way God planned it.

It’s actually nice to know that the past has its way of reminding you that time does fly by & the future I am anxious about isn’t really that scary in reality.

A year ago from today, I will look back at this post. So..

Hi, future self. You’re just doing just fine. You are where God is supposed to take you.

Solar Family ❤