Meeting new friends always make a difference. It always feels like a plot twist to a story you’ve been expecting and completely changing it.

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Random Stuff #5

A lot of things happened today. It could’ve been depressing but rather, I was reminded of the one great thing in my life.

But before I talk about that, I just want to share that today, I started listening to Christmas songs again. It’s actually a bit late because usually, I look forward to that special day as early as August. I have kept two Christmas songs in my playlist which I listen to whenever I want though. I don’t care whether it’s in February or in summer season. Those were “Peace Has Come” by Hillsong and the acapella version of the classic “O Holy Night”. ✨🌟

Whenever I think about Christmas, I remember Hope. But I have learned that many people don’t know the significance of “Christmas”, especially, to us Christians. I honestly feel sad when others diminish its meaning by only concerning about having a love life on that special day because they believe that spending Christmas eve with your significant other will make you stay together forever… As if it’s some lucky charm for romantic relationships when it is not. However, we can’t blame or force them when they don’t believe in what we believe in. As the Lord commands us, we should show others love regardless of our difference.

For us, Christmas is a reminder of that divine gift of grace and salvation from God through Christ. 😭☝❤

Yesterday, while my friend and I were walking home, we talked about how our hearts always leap at the thought of it. It’s so peaceful we can only think about the great joy and deep desire to just sing and sing and sing thankfulness and praises to Christ our King. It is definitely my most favorite season. If the first Christmas never happened 2000 years ago, I don’t know what would become of mankind. Hence, I am grateful of the great joy, peace, hope, and love personified.

Anyway, something happened today which made me realize over again how broken I am before God. It felt worse than anything I’ve gone through in the past. I arrived at the FCM venue with a really heavy heart. A few minutes after that, I went straight to the restroom and decided to let the tears that I was trying to hold back fall. I hid so the children won’t see me weak as I need to be strong and happy in front of them. As you know, most children easily absorb the emotions of the people who they count on to. I can’t let my emotions ruin the happiness and excitement they had as they were waiting for our lesson to start.

I stopped crying when my friend encouraged me to, went out of the restroom, and walked to the registration area. One of the things which made me feel a little better was the unexpected good morning hug from one of our students. There were also those little ones who talk to me while I was watching over them. The innocence of children are priceless. I prayed and was able to compose myself and do my tasks as the song leader and storyteller. All I could think about was, I was doing that for the children and it helped me keep my focus away from my own concerns. When you are a teacher, you cannot be selfish. You always have to put your students’ needs above your own.

After our lesson, we had a caregroup meeting and for the second time, the approach was different from the usual. One of our topics has been about the sacrifices we’ve made as we continue to serve and how it affected us. I was able to share a part of my personality where I’d prefer to be alone. That if I weren’t serving in the ministry, I would’ve spent most of my free time for myself. Maybe, I would have developed a really good skill at drawing or painting or I would have already learned playing a musical instrument or I would have all the time to write poems, stories, etc., just as I have always dreamed about. I have sacrificed a lot of what I wanted to do for myself. I mentioned that I would’ve been far from receiving harsh criticism or unfair judgment from other people if I am alone in my own little world. I wouldn’t have to talk with a lot of people or even speak in front of them– even in front of complete strangers. No one would’ve noticed me and watched me live my life and I would’ve loved that more. I would’ve felt safer if I’m living within my comfort zone.

However, if I kept isolating myself just like the way I was quite used to before I became a believer, I would’ve missed a lot of opportunities and crazy yet beautiful memories in this life. Ministry required too much of me which I have never thought of giving, back then. It took a lot of time which I should’ve had for myself but I have given to others instead. It exhausted me and broke me. It caused me pain and tears. But it also brought me joy and fulfillment that I will never get the other way around. It showed me my purpose. Without that sacrifice, my life would’ve had a chance to be as successful as I have imagined it yet, it will all be meaningless because I only lived for myself.

It also has been interesting to hear what the others in our group are going through. There were tears. There were confessions of how we were afraid to open up about our fears and weaknesses… Because we are leaders and people look to us. We might fail or discourage them. We are all broken and are thinking that we are no longer capable of being used by God for greater purposes such as teaching the children, encouraging others, reaching out to the lost and needy, etc.

But we are all reminded that being a Christian means being far from perfect. We are all torn, hurting, and weary… And that’s why we need Christ. The source of our healing and strength. We have Someone loving, just, and perfect to hold onto. The One who never leaves us no matter how tough our battles are. We have a faithful God who gave us grace that no one can ever take away. And we each have our own story of imperfection which has never been beyond His redemption that we can share to the rest of the world.

Baking in PJs: キャスの バナナパン

Tonight, I baked banana bread for the first time and it was a success! You should’ve seen my joy. Haha! At first, I worried that I failed because the crust seemed toasted. However, when I sliced it, I found that it was soft and moist inside. It also tastes good. No, I’m not being biased here. My mother and my niece also ate it and they liked it. 😁

So here are the few shots I took. Just to share my happy baking experience. Haha!

One of the fun yet annoying things about baking is the mixing part. It requires too much force and effort, and it is tiring. Sometimes, when I’m doing that step, I feel like my arms are going to fall off from my shoulders. 😂

This is the exciting part… Finally putting the mixture on the baking pan. I don’t know but I just like it.

I honestly get anxious everytime I bake because I have failed a few times in making brownies before I got it right. So, you know how I was feeling whenever I look through my oven and see my baking pan all heated up.

Anxiety level rises. This is when I knew a few moments after, my bread will be judged. The aroma though!

But regardless if I succeed or not, I always feel glad looking at my finished product. Haha! Call me weirdo. I don’t mind. 😂

Anyway, this is the best I’ve baked so far. I am really happy that my baking skills keep improving. But I still have a long way to go and I am even more excited. I wonder what I should bake next. 😌😊

Outreach in San Antonio

Perhaps, it was not a coincidence. We were supposed to have a lunch date with our friend who’s going to get married next month. However, our plan was postponed and was moved to another date because she had another appointment yesterday. So, my other friend and I were having our late lunch at her house instead, when a van stopped by and one of our church mates asked us to go with them to San Antonio, Quezon. Everything happened so fast. We just started eating when they came and the next thing we know, we were already on our way.

We travelled south and finally arrived after almost two hours. It was actually a peaceful place. There are lots of coconut and dalandan trees. 🌴 Near the gathering area was a pigpen with pigs, of course. 🐽 There were also other livestock such as ducks, native chicken, and horses. 🐔🐥🐴 They served kapeng barako and I was able to taste it again! Just had a few sips though because the doctor discouraged me to drink coffee as it triggers palpitation. I think kapeng barako is the best coffee ever! Other pricey coffees I tasted before are no match for this. ☕ I remember how my grandmother’s brothers in Quezon province used to serve us that coffee whenever we visit their houses in summer vacation when I was just a young girl. Nostalgic. 😊

Anyway, a few moments after we arrived, we were asked to handle the children. We taught them a song, Bum Bum Bum, which we always sing and dance at Sunday school and they were so happy. I was so glad that they also listened to the story which I shared to them while my friend, who I call “sis” (in short for sister), together with a little boy who we picked acted out the scenes. I could sense the excitement and joy that the children had. It was also nice to have that chance to teach them something meaningful and I hope they will take it to heart. ❤

We were able to meet a few teenage girls there as well. (I can’t believe I am 10 and some more years older than most of them! 😭 Although they thought I was of the same age. Love it! 😂) We shared a bit about our faith and what we both usually do. Most of them were really shy to ask us questions. Funny though that they couldn’t believe I am two years older than sis. 😂💁

We also shared a little about our mission training and exposure trip in Thailand and Cambodia. Actually, going to San Antonio kind of reminded us of that great experience we had last year. Yesterday was a blessing in disguise and we were hoping to go back next Saturday.

It was refreshing. It felt like I was able to unwind and clear my mind from all my cares and concerns. For a few hours I was able to set aside everything that pulls me down. Instead, I was given a chance to go to a new place and meet new people and have a few moments to do what I love to do which is teaching. Thank you Lord, for the gift of teaching and the joy it brings. 😊

I Don’t Have to Be Invincible

Some days I feel better, other days I feel completely broken. My emotions have been going up and down like a roller coaster ride along with my circumstances lately.

It all started on my last week at work. That time, I was having a separation anxiety. It was my choice to leave to pursue my dream but it wasn’t easy to know that after almost four years, my life was going to change in just a matter of few days. That place surrounded me with people who helped, encouraged, understood, and appreciated me. It was a place where I have friends who were like a family to me– not just colleagues– and it was sad to leave them but I must go on.

On the same week, I lost a friend. One who left me with a big mess which affected my plans. What struck me more wasn’t losing that person but the trouble I was left to face after helping them. While I treated him more like a brother and I knew what he was going through and his plans for his life, there were many times that his words have hurt and offended me, trampled on my worth, and affected me negatively so, I thought it’s better to just accept that he chose to cut our connection. We all know that I haven’t done him anything wrong anyway. However, I have to suffer until the trouble he caused me is resolved. Yet, I’m still trying to live my life as though nothing happened and continue what needs to be done despite that.

And then just recently, something happened in our family. I can’t stand our situation and I don’t understand why I had to be involved or affected by it. Sometimes, I just wish I didn’t hear nor see anything. But then, family is family… And all families have their own struggles and imperfections as well.

I’ve had so many sleepless nights, tears in my eyes and fear. Fear to lose people in my life, or for more circumstances to come. I don’t know why things happened one after the other again. Everything just feels too much. And though nothing feels right at the moment, I’m still holding on to that hope. Each morning, I pray to God to heal my anxious mind and my heavy heart. I’m hoping that things will get better soon.

Anyway, last night, I get to hear this new song entitled, “Invincible” and every word seems like what I needed to hear right now. At the chorus it says:

Take a breath
Look at how you’re trying to think it to death
If you’re in the crossfire, don’t forget
That you don’t have to be invincible
Take a step
Even if you fall, it ain’t over yet
If you’re in the crossfire, don’t forget
That you don’t have to be invincible

And here’s the full song in case you want to listen to it, too:

Many times, I’ve been tempted to give in… To harden my heart so I wouldn’t feel anything. To shut my door so no one would come in only to find them walking away one day. To play the tough person who is no longer concerned about anything or anyone so I wouldn’t have to be affected by them anymore… But I know it’s just not right and it’s not who I am.

Despite how tough what I’m going through is, I don’t have to act as though I am tougher. I don’t have to pretend that I couldn’t be broken by anything… I could be, but it doesn’t mean that I am incapable. Circumstances are inevitable and it’s up to us whether we’ll face it and accept that we can get vulnerable or we’ll hide from it by pretending we are invincible.

I am reminded of the faithful God who is in control of everything. Despite my weaknesses, He will always stand at my side to give me the strength that I need to face just about anything. I know, he cares for me and will never leave me nor forsake me.

Thinking On Whatever…

It’s been almost three weeks since I left my job. While I am thankful that I finally have the chance to catch up on my sleep after almost four years of stress and sleepless nights (Haha), I have figured out that it’s also quite a challenge to do nothing much everyday.

And while I’m okay with being alone most of the time, having no one to talk to kinda makes me feel unwell. I mean, being an introvert doesn’t mean it’s totally fine having no one to have a conversation with at all. But I understand that people have more important things to prioritize.

Anyway, I really felt so bored earlier just like the days that passed, so, I just grabbed my coloring book and a box of colour pencils and worked on my chosen page.

This has been one of my favorite verses in the Bible. This really helps me, especially, when I have lots of things in mind. There are times when I am prone to overthink and get anxious about certain stuff which leaves me drained and exhausted. I’ve also been through a lot lately and I wish I hadn’t forgotten this. Sometimes, when you’re at the peak of your emotions, you tend to impulsively make decisions and the quality of your thoughts usually reflect the actions you make.

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:8 ESV)

I must admit it. The negative experiences I had recently clouded my mind with unhealthy thoughts. Had I took this instruction to heart, I would’ve probably been saved from sorts of things that caused me discouragements. I regret it. However, isn’t it through failure that a person matures, learns to stand up and start over again if he/ she must?

Perhaps, that’s the reason why I chose to meditate on this. I need to be more intentional in keeping this in mind and applying this to myself. Each new day, there is a possibility that negative things will come my way and more than just trying to “think positive”, pondering upon whatever is true, noble/ honorable, right/ just, pure, lovely, admirable/ commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy along with a simple prayer would help change the way I view my circumstances and provide a better response to them no matter how tough they may seem.

My New Buddy

Hi there! I’d like you to meet Kimmy, my new buddy. We’re working together in sharing meaningful stories to children. We first met in November 2016, however, it didn’t have a name yet. We just got reunited last week and we’ll be teaming up again tomorrow. 😁✌