4.14.2013

Mt. Pinatubo trek


A story in pictures.

Of friendship. Of a 4x4 wheeling adventure. Of nature. Of nature rewritten by a volcano explosion two decades ago. Of a thousand random crags and stones. Of cemented lava. Of a serene lake engulfed inside a volcano. Of the scent of nature. Of the narrow trails and the midget creeks that crosses it. Of a thousand pictures of natural beauty. 

This is my penchant and delight for the beauty around me. Colors and hues, scents and aromas, beauty and splendor, love and expressions of love-- written in the minute details of everything God-made amidst the grandiosity of life.




There are so much mystery in life that we are embraced with. Like the disastrous volcano explosion that claimed and shattered lives last 1991. As I looked around the remnants of the past, I see springs of life in the form of the weeds, the creek and the stones that all in itself spells wonders. Just as it is the same in the very privacy of our own lives. We experience parallel mysteries, we often cannot understand but later on springs the same wonders of hope, faith and love.


Friendship is a bonus of life. Jesus is my ultimate best friend. He is a perfect Being. My all-in-all.

And all the other friendships are what gives spice to life. Like a slice of leche flan on top of your halo-halo, like bagoong on your mangga, like cream on your coffee, like honey on top of your pancakes. They make life taste better.  
This trek made me realize the abundance of friendship in my life. Goes to say, my life is spicy or spice-ful. Thank God!


God is almighty. God is perfect in wisdom. God is holy.  God is sovereign. God is beautiful.
This is what my eyes saw in the volcano crater. Often when I go and see the world apart from my own little world, I get changed. I get healed. 
I see here a picture of hope. Of prayer. Of life and simplicity of life. Of the universal blessings of joy, peace and love that penetrates to the ends of the Earth. Of God's omnipotence and omniscience. 

I will end with this quote by Albert Einstein. When you go out there and see what is up on the other corners of the world we live in, more or less, you go home with this thought. 





4.11.2013

Rooftop retreat

The long weekend off was a great time to sit back, relax and enjoy. My idea of that was to head home, way up North in the province. There is no place like home. So, I looked forward to my favorite place, where else but the roof deck of my childhood. For more than a decade, I loved climbing up to see the stars, savor the evening breeze during night time, take a walk around, dreamed dreams. 

This time, I deliberately woke up on early mornings ( I just can't get enough of the roof, haha, well actually not the roof itself but finding God in serenity and stillness).

It is when you sit back, and take the time to enjoy the beauty around you that refreshes life. In those mornings, I saw flocks of birds. There were about five kinds- the usual brown house birds, the black with white marks on its chest, some Maya birds, the gray Swallow birds and a dove. They were happily murmuring noises that sounded music to my ears. These were the early birds who I guess catch the worms? They fly from tree to tree, fellowship-ing with other birds. These birds, they don't work for a living but they thrive on God's provision, day in and out. How they spread their wings and fly with much joy. 

I also noticed the moon visible in the early morning sky. How exquisite the blue skies spread from nowhere to nowhere. How the sun gently and slowly rises to warm my face. All these beauty were limitless, it is there morning by morning waiting to be appreciated and to renew one's soul. 


With all the beauty and splendor around me, my heart burst with praise for the God of creation. It was rather too much of elegance to ignore the the blessings of heaven. This was one of the ways God transformed me-  renewed vigor and faith that in these display of His majesty, I was humbled and changed. Thank you God.

In that corner in the roof, I sat still and breathed deep to smell the fragrance of the Lord Jesus. I was bathed in love, peace, joy and wisdom so much so, that I was content. I was filled to the brim. I had no lack. Life was complete. In all sense and essence, Jesus is enough. 

In perspective, you get hold of the simplest essence of life. To be loved by the Lord and to love Him. How can most passing days turn sour with this one simple bit of truth? It is when one gets too drowned in the mess of the world, too involved in its emptiness, too concerened on far less significant things and too busy going back to the basics.

During this retreat, I asked earnestly to be changed.
I am flawed. I am weak. I am scarred. I am insecure. I am imperfect. I am a sinner.
God was quick to respond.
I am your refuge. I am your strength. I am your security. I forgive your sins. I see you as imperfectly beautiful.

It was just a shift in perspective, If I was to look at myself, I will continue to sulk in hopelessness but God's perspective is exactly the opposite. He sees value, potential, beauty, purpose and His work and masterpiece in me. I was assured of all of these.

Another vivid realization was this, God emphasized how He delights of my asking through prayers. Asking for great things. Asking for His perfect will. Asking for the best. He corrected my wrong belief and bearing of guilt with too much asking. In fact, God says, "I expect you to ask, I delight in your asking, I will not grow weary in your asking, I want you to ask." Wow. 
On a different note, He also altered my notion about this things- my heart's desires, my pursuit of happiness, joy- when I pray for these things, I bear another layer of guilt by being selfish and self-centered. What a lie. Truth has it that God is most glorified when  we are most satisfied in Him.

In Your presence there is fullness of joy, at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11

God desires to see me happy and content in Him in all things. I have been praying for a certain promise that God gave me for a few years now. I have lost hope, gained hope, lost faith, gained faith in the process of waiting. But now that I have a changed perspective, God pointed me to continue asking Him for the blessing. Even this tiny drawing and detail of His will in my life has a purpose. If God willed that purpose, then by all means He will make it come to pass- giving Him glory in the end and at the same time giving me the fullness of joy. 

I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Job 42:2




2.14.2013

Breaking the I's

I had a fabulous weekend with my brothers... I am still reeling of the fun, excitement, laughter and most especially the fellowship with them. Four days later, I am still also bearing the body pain of our crazy adventure, gulping Dolfenal to survive my work days ( Yes I had to be at work the next day!), and memories and thoughts lingering in my mind...........

Here goes my story.....  



 The boys and I decided to have an adventure for the weekend. Initial plan was to hike Pico de Loro as I had suggested. However, three were in favor of a half marathon run against one (that's me). Reason was they have lost touch with their trail shoes ages ago, wouldn't want to risk their running shoes ruined and would not either consider buying new ones instead.
It was Wednesday when the run was agreed upon, Friday when we were officially registered and Sunday when we did the twenty-one kilometer run. 


Can I just say whatta crazy decision it was?!!! 

For one, I ( and Mak) do not have training. The last time I was consistent at the gym was back three months ago in November. So even my strength and stamina was unreliable. Mak's consolation was his work in the engineering field end was strenuous (like climbing huge flight of stairs everyday) and basketball weekly.

Toti and Conoy were a month fresh from the Cebu marathon. Toti was a seasoned runner, and Conoy was a TH (trying hard) runner. They too have not trained. But they are gym  buffs and a month fresh from the Cebu marathon. 

10th February 2013, Ateneo University grounds.

Conoy prepared a yummy omelet for our breakfast. We ate a yogurt and a banana each. Drank some energy drink and pocketed some energy gels. 

It was 4.30ish in the morning. A crowd of runners gathered at the starting ground. I did not know what to expect. I could not imagine the length of a twenty-one kilometer stretch. All I know was, it sounded really far ahead. hahaha
.
.
.


Two hours and forty-five minutes of grace, hope, perseverance, faith and on-the-verge-of-tears-and-giving-up later, I approached, with a smile, the finish line. What a manifestation of the Lord's grace!! 



Some thoughts: 

This endeavor spelled three things. I will start with faith. Since there was nothing I can boast of, no strength or stamina from training, just pure spur-of-the-moment craziness and embracing the fading opportunity to do things and bond with my siblings. I did not know what to expect. I did not know what lies ahead, whether I will trip or stumble or get myself injured or as my brothers teased me, surrender to the medic team in the midst (phew), or just walk the entire stretch ( which will probably take total 4-5 hours plus to endure the stinging heat of the morning sun). So it was safe to say, that all I have was my frail self, lots of faith and ambition to finish the race. The first half of the race, my youngest bro, ran slowly alongside with me. We were pacing and relaxing. I appreciate him a lot, because he stayed to remind me I was running faster than needed ( which would drain my energy fast), I was swaying my arms too much ( which would also drain my energy and would rub against the coarse singlet top, which would cause scratches in my body) or to remind me to slow run instead of walk-resting so that my legs won't loose momentum. 

The trail was Marcos highway, a stretch of downhill, then uphill traversing a fly-over. 

.....On the first lap, we bumped across Toti who was almost done the first lap and Conoy following a few kilometers behind. They were yelling at us to run faster. Hahahaha. They did not know it was the best we could do. 

..... At 12K, Mak said, we run a bit faster. But had a different plan. I wanted to walk for in all honesty, I was too tired to go on. So I let him run ahead and I walked a few meters. That left a huge gap between us now. Then I realized the truth of his tip- my legs rested, lost momentum and it was a heavy effort to gain back momentum. So, I slowly run again. After finishing the first lap, I thought that was it. WRONG. There was a second lap. 

Phew, now I was alone. 





to be continued.......=)


Mak, I, Toti, Conoy




Sweet Victory
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7




"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength."  Philippians 4:13



"For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind."
2 Timothy 1:7 

2.02.2013

Call me Victorious


I flunked the test; God gave me a generous score.


I have always said and believed that it is alright to have problems as long as God is with you. When I said that, I meant it of course from the heart. And God was out to test that statement.

I had a difficult week. If I may rate it from a scale of 1-10, I put it at 9.5. I see that God was testing my endurance and faith. 

Everything
       went 
            wrong. 

To start with, my emotions were a mess. The really bad thing about that is that my perspective becomes blurry and I harbor panicky thoughts that would worsen the already bad emotions. When my emotions go wrong, I start believing a lot of enemy lies and would forget God's promises. The world suddenly caves in with my inner battle of emotions  and all I want to do is to escape the world. 
Secondly, my heart issues. Anxiety, worry, panic, insecurity all neatly lined up to mock me.
Thirdly, my circumstances were going out of control. Even the very routine flow of things at my work were cooperating well with the mess. One by one they pop into some sort of a problem, they pile up tall and quick and they all clamor to be urgent and needed to be addressed asap. In addition to that, my efforts fail. The feeling when, you know you did your careful best but lo and behold, human error happens when you least want it to happen. Fourthly, I get a call from home that would break my heart on the spot. I was heavily stressed and burdened. 
It was Tuesday when I walked out of my desk and went to the fire exit. I sat on the staircase and was looking for God. I knew He was there, because my heart was at peace amid all the mess. I was sobbing silently, desperately and angrily. In these times, it was hard to discern what wonderful reasons God could have in mind for allowing such messes all at once. I was staring at the word EXIT for a long time. I have said my desperate plea of grace for the moment. But these mess spanned from Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Not a single day was spared. 

Come friday, I guess I have uttered my most meant 'Thank-God-it's-friday!' ever! hahaha. But til the last hour, I was laughing in distress, because the test endured to test me.

Looking into this week, I saw enlightenment as the Lord led me to this.

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

Then the word of the Lord came to me. He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the Lord.  Jeremiah 18:1-5

In the midst of tests like these, God wants to reveal my weak points. 

Faith. Faith to cover me the entire span of the test. I remember it was Tuesday night when I was at the peak of depression, I hurled angry, detestable thoughts at God and betrayed Him there. I, a lover and follower of Christ, sadly succumbed to failure in this test. =(

Pride. He was out to deal with my pride. He is the potter, I am the clay. It was quite hard to submit to the Potter. Because I was looking at the face of the difficult circumstance of the moment, add to that that in my human doing and limitation could not grasp the sense of it all, I could hardly see or appreciate the fact that in my midst, God was out to shape the clay as He deem best ( for whatever purpose He wills and for whatever reason He has, both for my own good and for His namesake)

He also assured me of this (come Thursday):

 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4


Tests. A good way of God shaking the comfort out of your zone. In difficult times, you know He is there to hold Your hand and be with you. At times, He solves the problem, at times He just endures it with you. And as I sit here tonight, I smile because for sure, I will forget the details of the difficulty, but I know in my heart that God prevailed in those difficult moments. And because of that, I was victorious.... even in my failure on this test, I was victorious. 
Because of this truth. 

God won the battle for me! :)


ps. As I ponder about the EXIT sign at the stairwell, God gave me this divine thought. "Tsina, I want you to EXIT from all anxieties, worries, panic, pressures, insecurities, doubts, despair, and troubles. I am God. Rest well in Me."   __________________________________________________________________



Tsina: Who then encourages the encourager??
Lord Jesus: Ahem, who else, but I.


“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
    whose confidence is in him.They will be like a tree planted by the water
    that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
    its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
    and never fails to bear fruit.” Jer.17:7-8

"Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed;
    save me and I will be saved,
    for you are the one I praise. "Jer.17:14




God's assurance of who HE is, in the face of doubt and difficulty:

Omnipotence is not a name given to the sum of all power, but an attribute of a personal God we Christians believe to be the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and of all who believe on Him to life eternal. The worshiping man finds this knowledge a source of wonderful strength for his inner life. His faith rises to take the great leap upward into the fellowship of Him who can do whatever He wills to do, for whom nothing is hard or difficult because He possesses power absolute.” 
- A.W. Tozer



Coincidence means God is working undercover.
-Dr. Chuck Misler
_____________________________________________________________________


When you work, you work.

When you pray, God works.

_____________________________________________________________________

TRUST in the LORD with all your heart! 

“Even when my understanding ends and I feel overwhelmed, He whispers in my ear and reminds me; “ I've got it all under control.”
— Graham Farquhar 

"I make light and I make darkness. I bring good and I make trouble. I am the Lord Who does all these things."
(Isaiah 45:7 NLV)
“Remember He is the artist and you are only the picture. You can’t see it. So quietly submit to be painted. }C.S. Lewis

"Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you." (Job 22:21)
"But God did listen!
He paid attention to my prayer."(Psalm 66:19 NLT)


Repeated assurance of the Lord re my unending heart issues.

 "For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?" (Isaiah 43:19 NLT)


 All pictures from Spiritually Single =)
__________________________________________________________________



Came to my rescue- Hillsong



                                       "I called, You answered............... and You came to my rescue..
                                       And I want to be where you are......"

1.27.2013

Emotional pendulum

Too wasted to write anything tonight. However, I do not want to pass up. My resolve this year is to be able to scribble in my journal even if my emotions are not right. Maybe if I browse my previous written journals, it would lean towards always the happy mood entries. So now, I force to journal or blog regardless of my swinging-pendulum-like emotions.
As a matter of fact, the past two days should have had dictated my emotions on a high. I was hearing a lot from my God and I was knowing a lot of things about Him. I am more than blessed. These times I do look forward about, because I know God speaks to me exactly what He wants to say to me and what I need to hear.
But, what's the matter? I hope against hope this is just my restlessness for the past days, tiredness or a girl thing called PMS. :(

What transpired this evening was a roller-coaster ride, a divine appointment, some near-heaven experience, an authentic Korean dinner and a new-life to a friend.

5.45pm- Bo's Coffee
I am at the peak of my failing mood. Rejection, insecurity and my heart issues were out to attack me. I bared my heart and drama to my friend. I appreciate her a lot because as she is not the 'encourager' type, she listened silently on the other end. Sometimes, all we need is to vent out. I asked her to induce me to cry so I can be relieved somehow. And she did. Hehehe.

06.55pm Bax, P and Mason arrived. Some crazy exchanges, a slice of cheesecake and a decision to make as to where to have dinner.

7.15- Strolling to the mall Parking as we have decided to go Korean somewhere else.
 Minutes after Mason drove off the basement parking, crowds of people started frantically running out of the mall exits. We were at a loss as to what was happening.

8pm- We were wondering what was going on at the mall.
8.10pm- We were told there was a robbery and there was an on-going shoot-out.
8.20pm- I silently prayed for the safety of all the people inside the mall while eating dinner. We could have been locked up inside the mall if we were a minute late.

8.30pm- Back to crazy teasing and laughing with the good ol' friends.
8.45pm- We shared Jesus to Mason.
8.50pm- lots of hugs and a really comforting group hug.
9.00pm- Back to happy disposition. Then sad, then happy again.

I recognized God's hand of grace, protecting us from harm. Being able to use that picture into sharing Jesus to a friend, how I was in need of hugs and was very grateful for friends who returned back the hugs, how yummy the beef stew is, how true friendships are precious, how God protected the people inside that mall from any casualties and further harm.

God is awesome.
_____________________________________________________________________________

Tonight, God told me to TRUST and OBEY even if the very thing He asks of me to do does not make sense. I am trying to figure out with the best of my ability what am I supposed to do and why do I have to carry this burden. Is this battle necessary and required of my walk? Have you allowed this agony Lord or is it of my own silly doing? Which of my character traits need to be refined here? What golden nugget of wisdom will I learn from this? Can I just pass up, Lord? Or can we just fast-track this, Lord? I have surrendered this time and again, moment by moment, but why does it just stick around like what the heck?? I am so in trouble Lord. You know this is my weakest link. Kakapagod na! Will you be gracious to me to let me be free of all of these? Dear Lord, help me. I cannot do this alone. I want to escape. I want to run away as far as I can and never come back, pwede ba yun Lord. Please deliver me from my rebellious trail of thoughts.... I do not want to miss out on the best Lord, but I am weak. I need you, please please please.. :'(

_____________________________________________________________________________

Tonight, I look forward to heaven. My emotional pendulum is still swinging from end to end. The only relief I can think tonight is that someday, all hurt or pain will just cease.. because in heaven, there are no more such things.


1.21.2013

Freshness Award

This made my day! Here goes an award I received from my fab and fun circle at work. FRESHNESS Award, hahaha. So, it goes to say my friends see me as these--always freshly-powdered,  glossed lips and donning a ready-smile. Wow. What can I say? It pays to smile!! hahaha. I do recall my director's feedback referring to me as 'the lady  who always smiles' =)

Well, well.. flashback. How did I get to meet these crazy bunch at work? Hahaha.

It was one fine lunch break, my first few weeks at the bank. I knew only a few. I had no one to take lunch with. And then I saw this vibrant group in a long table and invited myself in. Hahaha. When I used to work overseas, I learned how to survive, hence, I learned how to have a 'kapal-mukha' in the right time and place.  Ta-daaaaah. I just earned myself, funny,crazy, down-to-earth kind people with different personalities and backgrounds who seemed to have no issues with newbies. They welcomed me with sunny smiles and now we hold this celebrations now and then, whether de-stressing, chilling or just plain having fun. 

At times, my friendliness gets me into unwanted mess or troubles ( and how I just hate or regret it), at times it has led me to interesting people and a bonus friendship that tandems with it. 

Oh well, thank God! Now I know a smile goes a long way. 

1.16.2013

Life bits

                                       
The brothers and I went out to dinner last night at Sentro 1771 Greenbelt. These rare times are treasured. We never know when we could do it again, the four of us complete. Two of them are going overseas in a few months, and perhaps the last one will go after a year or so. It is a sad thought. We are all growing old and living different lives. I will be left alone in this country, phew. 
While dining, we were talking about the latest international marathon endeavor, two of them had in Cebu a week ago. We were laughing so hard about their bloopers during the run. We have the same craziness when it comes to trying out different things, we are not brothers for nothing hahaha. Cool thing is, we are going to do another run, the four of us soon. Before the first bro flies out. 

We also got to this dog topic and boy, we could not stop laughing at this funny optical illusion dog costume, imagining what if you bump into such a creature walking on the street. Hehehe. 

____________________________________________________________________________

What a liberating act of the thumb. After a year, I finally had the courage to delete Ito's sms messages on my mobile phone. Why I kept it there for so long remains trivial to me. I had tried to read a couple or so and the sting stung ( echoes of the past), phew. It made no sense why I even kept it. I struggled deleting it. Open, close, open, close for a gazillion times. I knew he never would come back, but at the back of the mind, if there is a percent chance, I would have liked to cherish those messages for us to laugh about one day. But he is never coming back. Why am I so sure? Because God said so. :(

_____________________________________________________________________________

This blog is getting so stiff with my mundane affairs. Let's color it with some tentative goals in my mind. I want to go for:

a half marathon
backpacking out of country or anywhere out of this metro( deprived in 2012)
Batanes escapade?
a sea dive
dare to bike to and from work ( made my brothers crazy with the idea hahaha)
hit the gym ( miss the gym. taking on to be a club officer robbed me of my leisurely gym time, wth did I just get into ) 
boxing
cooking
learn the art of loving the people you hate with a passion
Israel visit in 2014
donate more blood ( I guess??)
climb Mt. Pico de Loro
share Jesus more this year
adrenaline-rush activity. bungee?? skydive?? 


Three Men behind bars


On the road this morning, in the midst of a crowded bus and the metro morning traffic, I saw a gray-colored vehicle ahead which looked exactly like a transportation for criminals. Inside were three men wearing yellow. It was driven by a military man, on the passenger seat was another, and two others were seated behind, in between the perpendicular metal-barred van. It took me a few minutes to register and process my thoughts. And then the Lord, let me in for a divine thought. One of the yellow- clothed man turned around his seat and as he gazed out the barred window, our eyes locked for a moment. Then, I began to feel my tears well up. I felt compassion burst out of my heart. Were they life-sentenced? Will they meet death at the prison for gang war? Were they at the brink of the end of hope? Were they really guilty?  What's in store for them? :(

Four things were true. These men were lost. They were sinners. They committed a crime against (God) and the law. They are loved by God. 

What do I and them have in common? 

All four things, except that crimes (sins) I (commit now and then) is against God and not the law. 

So the most I could do was intercede for them in prayer, plead and beg the Lord for mercy and grace that no matter what happens, these three men get to hear the Way, the Truth and the Life. I asked God for hope and faith to be planted in their hearts, strength, comfort, encouragement, love, provision, rest and that one day God-willing, I will see them in heaven too. I felt really brokenhearted. :'(

Earlier, I woke up with a grumbling heart. I was asking God for a bail-out for the ridiculous assignments He had given me at the onset of the year. He answered through Isaiah 61:1. 

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners." 

I get it. Kingdom agenda. It-is-not-about-me..It-is-about-You-Lord.  How many people are walking on this Earth in need of encouragement, a smile, a word of assurance, of hope, of faith or even a glimpse of God's goodness and blessings? You have given me the gift of a compassionate heart and an encouraging tongue, may you widen my horizon to see and appreciate that it is a privilege to win and lead souls to you REGARDLESS of what I go through in the process. Lord, it is discouraging you know. Many, many times, I get into trouble because of my zeal to talk to random people and strangers to share You and your goodness.You throw difficult, conceited, unlova-ble people my way Lord, but is not it the very same 'me' five years ago?  Difficult, coneceited, unlova-ble me. I was a product of somebody who took the time, effort and concern to pray on my behalf and encourage me. Imagine where I would be if that prayer is not answered. I ask Lord that You keep my eyes fixed on You and not on these people. Remind me that I am doing it for You, ultimately. Give me the grace to smile even if I am not at all appreciated. Give me the encouragement I need to go on on my tasks for You. Because at the end of the day, I desire to do Your will and glorify You alone.

Thank you Lord for letting  me see this picture. It is full of wisdom and rebuke. It underscored my purpose in life. :)

1.06.2013

Home is where the Heart is

Ending year 2012 with Chef Conoy's yummy New year eve specialties, lots of LOVE, family wackiness and a free thirty-awesome-minute grand display of fireworks ( by the rich neighboorhood) at the roof deck. Thank you Lord! :)                  

Family Portrait

Brotherhood

Wack

My Boys

1.02.2013

Christmas eve ( like no other)

Four days prior to Christmas, I was carrying a heavy heart for one reason- my family was there (some 500 kms away) and I was here. I had exhausted all possibilities to go home except buying a plane ticket ( for one, the flight schedule was limited; secondly, ticket prices were skyrocketing; and thirdly, almost all the previous flights home I booked before were cancelled, true enough I heard, the flight on the day was cancelled- phew, that would have really worsened my day).

That all turned around when the Lord impressed in my heart, "That's alright, Miss beautiful. You and I are going to spend Christmas together. Just you and I."  Called up my mom, and got her and both my aunts' blessing to go. God orchestrated the where, how, what and why. If you know what I mean, hotel prices would also be equally skyrocketing on holidays especially Christmas, but God made a way- He got me an inexpensive, cozy, special nook in the metro. (Places become special when you know the Lord is in your midst)    


24th December 2012 

...There rested in my heart, joy, peace and love.  God's reservoir of grace has overwhelmed me and I could say that I was at the center of His will at the exact moment in time and place.

I sat in the chocolate-colored cushioned floor mat and took a really good look at the Lord's goodness, I closed my eyes, breathed in His divine fragrance and felt His warm embrace. Heaven. 

Tears filled my eyes. I have been blessed undeserving-ly. Each day of the year. Regardless of my fluctuating moods, inconsistent emotions, my unintended and intended failures and disobedience, God has blessed me.   

There in my nook, I sang praises and worship to the Almighty one. I felt that all through out the year, my prayers were usually 'asking for blessings' and the Lord put up with all that self-centered 'asking. Now, I just felt it right to sing my heart out with gusto and heartfelt thanksgiving. 

There in my nook, I sat still and let go. How awesome an experience to be having the luxury of time, baring my soul to my Maker. How I can be myself, my true self without any reservations, because I am loved and accepted as I am and not for anything else.

There in my nook, I waited upon God. You see, there is such a blessing wherein God opens your eyes to divine perspective, your ears to divine wisdom and your heart to divine discernment. He lets you see and understand things differently. Things that in their physical point of view are just ordinary but with the touch of Glory, everything translates extraordinarily. 

There in my nook, I counted all the things God has done for me. It was impossible to remember all but even that God has the ability to refresh my memory. I have noticed that in my walk with the Lord, He blesses me just because. Everything is pure grace. A lot of times, God blessed me when I least expected it. When I was sinful but repentant, when I was straying far but holding on, when I was rebellious but fearful of Him, when I was prayer-less but wary of it. I have learned that it does not depend on how many prayers I have said or even how many times I have served God. Prayers and service are just fruits of love for God, it delights Him but what He is really after is the intimacy and relationship with Him.   

There in my nook, I enumerated His attributes and wrote them down. The Lord is my All-in-all. Words will never be enough to describe my God, even the most beautiful word in the dictionary is an understatement. Good thing the Holy Spirit indwells to translate what I cannot put into words. I was in awe of His greatness. It was a privilege to be in a relationship with the Lord, the Holy God. 

There in my nook, I prayed for myself. I took a good long look at myself and was honestly disheartened. I aimed to be better, but I failed somewhere in between, somewhere along the way. And again the Lord spoke to me, "my mercies are new morning by morning" and that lifted my hopes high. I was reminded that I will be a work in progress until the ripe time ( when I would be with Christ for eternity). I will never be perfect or sinless in this lifetime, only God is. But the promise of a better 'me' will be continuous with the grace of the Lord both for my good and for His glory.  

There in my nook, I prayed for others. This too is always a grand privilege. You pray for others, see how God moves in their lives, witness a miracle take place and be blessed before your very eyes. It is one thing to believe in the Lord, it is another, to actually experience the Lord. Only when you are able to feel His hand move you will be able to say that the Lord is a living God. 

There in my nook, I prayed for my God's best. That he is molded into the person God wants him to be, that he falls in love daily with Christ above all, that God may put the 'love' in his heart to love me ( in my opinion, the best kind of love for a husband to a wife and vice versa is a love derived from the Lord; human love is frail, God's love is sturdy), that our missions in life be in sync'd and unified, that we may both glorify God individually and unitedly, that he is blessed with the same joypeace and love that I am basking in, that God orchestrates our love story.

There in my nook, I cried my heart out. It was just bursting with His love and presence.

There in my nook, I took a piggy-back ride with the Lord. It was one of a kind experience of a ride, where God healed me, encouraged me, comforted me, assured me and above all completed me. Can I just call the presence of God, heaven on earth? It is, indeed. 

There in my nook, I celebrated the birth of Christ. The Lord, who was the only begotten Son of God, who had to be born in a manger, took form of a man and came to rescue the lost (like me). The Savior who took the trouble of dying on the cross to pay for the penalty of my sins so that I could be saved and redeemed. The same Lord who resurrected so that I may have the fullness of life. 

There in my nook, I was blessed
                                              beyond 
                                                 what 
                                                    I
                                                   could
                                                    imagine..


When God orchestrates, He does it best. It was one romantic Christmas- maybe the best I would ever have in my lifetime........ 



Have a peak at my eve pictures. (Special thanks to Meetch for lending me her Apple Ipad, otherwise, these could have been mere pictures in my memory. )

Happy birthday, Jesus! :)
my idea of a sumptuous Noche Buena 

Some love notes, on the upper right are my jotted attributes of the Lord, below was my Christmas present to the Lord, my heart :)

Upper L-R gifts from friends and colleagues, and the green thing on the left was my DIY paper Christmas tree , gift and note to God's Best wahaha (a gesture of faith, Lord fight for my cause hahaha), below was what I got myself -that I had eyed for so long, a shirt with the Philippine map hehehe, loved it!

Some snapshots of me. so so smitten with Jesus Christ. Evident?

Must haves: Journal, Crayola ( a present from one of my best friends), God's megaphone-the Bible and a good book

All prepped up for the King

Breakfast devotion, a pause from my classic rolled oats, instead dark loackers, spiced almonds, cappucino and God's word for breakfast hahaha

Gospel tract at my nook, so cool!

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Your Presence is Heaven to Me




 
Header Image by Colorpiano Illustration