“Plogging” – First Attempt

Last Saturday,  some of my friends and I went to Central Park in Burnaby for a “plogging” experience. We all love to jog or run or walk for exercise. And so this time, we added some twist to it by making it more purposeful.

I learned about plogging from a post in FB.  And according to Mr. Wikipedia,

Plogging” is a combination of jogging with picking up litter (Swedish: plocka upp). It started as an organised activity in Sweden around 2016 and spread to other countries in 2018, following increased concern about plastic pollution. As a workout, it provides variation in body movements by adding bending, squatting and stretching to the main action of running.

When I found out about this, I was like, why not do it? I’m glad I got some friends who were also supportive 🙂 We had fun! And, we were happy that Central Park was clean. We did not get a lot of garbage. Good job to the park users! Keep it up!

 

We just didn’t do plogging, we did some “serious” work out! 😀 Central Park has work out stations and there was also a group doing Tai Chi, so we tried everything!

If you are interested to join us for plogging, let me know. We will go to other cities and hopefully we can encourage all the joggers to be ploggers!

 

 

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Courage to Slow Down

When God answered my prayer to work for a different company, I was very happy and excited. I had been praying for it and this year I just felt that it was the right time. And indeed, God confirmed it. You can read more about that here.

My first few weeks in the new company were just refreshing. It started slow so I got a lot of time to learn and read about the company. As weeks continued to pass, I felt that the pace was still the same. It’s a pace that I was not used to. And it became a struggle for me. Most of us struggle with busyness in our day to day work. I did not know that slowing down would also become a struggle for me.

My heart started to complain. I started to grumble. In all honesty, there was no reason to grumble at all. During those weeks, my mind kept telling me to be grateful because I am very blessed and I am in a very good place. But you see, I entertained discontent in my heart. It was like that for weeks. I was already thinking of not extending my contract. I wanted a working environment that was the same as my previous company. I was struggling to adjust and embrace change.

I became stubborn for those weeks, playing deaf with God’s Word until He had to deal with me. He led me to Numbers 11.

“…but for a whole month—until it comes out of your nostrils and you loathe it—because you have rejected the Lord, who is among you, and have wailed before him, saying, ‘Why did we ever leave Egypt?'” – Numbers 11:20

“Now the people complained about their hardships in the hearing of the Lord, and when he heard them his anger was aroused.” Numbers 11:1

Those verses described me, grumbling and complaining. I was asking God if His answered prayer was really what He wanted for me. I asked God, “Do you really want me to stay?” Very discontent. Very ungrateful.

God’s word for me this year is COURAGE.  I was thinking it was courage for things that He wanted me to pursue this year, courage to pursue bigger things that will help me accomplish my own personal goals. However, God’s thoughts were different. I did not expect at all.

All my grumbling weren’t because of my work. It was my heart. God asked me, Do you have the courage to stay in the company where I put you even if it is an environment that you are not used to and that you will struggle to adjust?

“So if you are tempted to walk away, make sure to seek God, because you never know what he might do if you have the courage to stay. ” – Divine Direction by Craig Groeschel

And He did not end there. Slowing down was not just in terms of work but on everything. I was planning so many things that I just wanted to keep going. I wanted to accomplish a lot that I can’t just slow down. But God wanted me to slow down on everything, no exceptions. And that was the most difficult. I had so many things I wanted to do this year – starting to build my company, starting a business back home. But then God said, drop everything. Pause.

That was it! Courage…to slow down. It’s so hard. I felt like I’m going to run out of time if I pause. I felt like I will be losing my opportunity. But who am I to question God’s ways? I need to be courageous in pursuing a life that takes time to relax, to rest, to think, to reflect, to prepare, to plan.

By God’s grace, I obeyed.

How has it been so far? I’m so happy to say that it has been so liberating. I didn’t know that God can truly give me this season to just enjoy the flowers on the wayside. I am learning to appreciate boredom. I have more time now to reflect. I don’t feel the pressure of making things happen. I don’t think about things that are years and years ahead. I am learning to just think about the next few days. Importantly, I am enjoying this time of letting God use this season of my life for His work.

Indeed, there is a time for everything. We all just need the courage to embrace that.

There is a time for everything,
    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 a time to be born and a time to die,
    a time to plant and a time to uproot,
   a time to kill and a time to heal,
    a time to tear down and a time to build,
  a time to weep and a time to laugh,
    a time to mourn and a time to dance,
     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
     a time to search and a time to give up,
    a time to keep and a time to throw away,
     a time to tear and a time to mend,
    a time to be silent and a time to speak,
     a time to love and a time to hate,
    a time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

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AO#2: Women at the Well

(Me, MJ, Marj, Ate Beth, Ate Don)

I was thinking what I should call these lovely women… I like Women at the Well. Each of them has their own story of how Jesus met them at their own “wells” of life. And if not for Jesus, I will also never get to know these women. He is the reason why we are where we are.

Today is a reminder of the Good Friday that happened more than 2,000 years ago. And because of that, I am able to celebrate this season of my life with these ladies.

I truly appreciate the love they show through enouragements, prayers, time, blessings and just being there to listen. They get busy at times but they always make time. And for that, I am truly grateful.

Love you ladies! 😘

———-o———–

As I commit to be more appreciative to people, I will use my blog as one of the platforms to do that. And why I’m doing this? (Click -> Here’s why )

AO#1: Papa & Mama

As I commit to be more appreciative to people, I will use my blog as one of the platforms to do that. And why I’m doing this? (Click -> Here’s why )

I start my Appreciate One (AO) per week with the people whom God has used to bring me into this world – MY PARENTS. Meet Rodolfo and Susana, aka Bonjing and Bebe 🙂

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You would agree with me that a page in a blogsite will never be enough to appreciate our parents. But don’t worry, this will not turn out to be a novel 🙂

My parents are not perfect. They are flawed just like all of us. But one thing that they really showed to us which I truly appreciate about them is they choose to accept each other’s weaknesses. That is very important to us, their children. And, I’m just grateful that in the midst of  “crazy” & “chaos”, my parents choose to love. Being single and still waiting for my own time of hopefully being married someday, I need that example. Papa & Mama – thank you for not just loving us your children but also showing to us what love should be through your commitment to each other.

It was when I started working and left home that I have understood the depth of the love of my parents for us, their children. I know my parents love me, I never doubted that. I just did not really realize how sacrifical and unconditional that love is until I started living on my own. There are days at work when I just felt like giving up. Or, I would complain of being tired. But then, when I look at my parents who until this day never stopped working so hard, I feel shameful and ungrateful. I’m just glad that Papa & Mama would always keep telling us when we were younger about how their life was during their time. It was never easy. I always tell myself  – “Just imagine if Papa & Mama would just give up because their tired and quit their job?” But because of their love for us, they kept going no matter how hard the days were. Papa & Mama – thank you for showing to us your love through your hardwork. Thank you for not giving up on those difficult times. Thank you for choosing to give what is best for us. I truly appreciate that you have all brought us up in a family where laziness is intolerable. Because of what you have shown us, I have learned to value hardwork as well.

One of the things I enjoy in our family is our meal times. Mama loves to cook for all of us even up to now. We all love to eat. I am glad that my parents showed to us the importance of having good meals on the table. Good meals mean that we are well provided. And the reason I enjoy and appreciate food everywhere I go is because of that. It reminds me of the good meals I had growing up. It reminds me of family. Papa & Mama – thank you for all the delicious food you always provide for us on the table. Thank you for showing to us your appreciation for food – all the grilled, the raw and the greens. I truly appreciate that you always made sure we don’t go to school on empty stomachs. And because of that, we all learned to cook & prepare our own meals. 

The most important that I am most grateful to my parents is for forcing us to go to church every Sunday when we were young. There is no escape. Our family today has differences on the church that we are a part of. However, I am still grateful that my parents introduced to me who God is. That became the starting point of my faith today. Papa & Mama – thank you that you brought us up in the knowledge of God and His Son Jesus. I truly appreciate that you have instilled to us the importance of having God in our life. Because of that, I have learned not to walk in my own ways but have been learning daily to abide and depend on God.  I may have not understood everything you asked us to do before, but now, everything made sense. 

As I say, there are so many things I am truly appreciative of my parents. However, these few I mentioned are the ones that truly had made an impact in the adult years of my life. I am always grateful that my parents never stopped being parents even if most of the time I don’t ask their help, seek their permission or consult them anymore. However, they are just there, keeps reminding me like a 5-year old of the do’s and dont’s in life. And, I have learned to appreciate that also. They have always been supportive in my decisions no matter what. My parents keep me grounded. And, I thank God for giving me parents who love us, never gave up on us and continue to stay with us.

 

 

 

 

A Conference to Remember

From a worshiper to a worshiper:

Just this weekend, I attended the Worship Central Conference. I wasn’t really planning to attend as I thought the conference was just for the worship music ministry of the different churches. However, some of my friends who planned to go needed a closer place (which is my place) to stay for overnight as they will be going home late. I was thinking, if I would be staying up late to wait for them, why don’t I just go with them. And, good thing I didn’t have a plan for the weekend. I checked the conference details and I realized the plenary sessions and workshops were actually applicable to any Christian believer. So, I went.

I attended with no expectation but just to meet God in that conference. And indeed, I got what I needed and more.

There were so many sessions and workshops that I needed time (which was the whole afternoon today!) to digest, chew and absorb everything that God has reminded, revealed, rebuked, taught and spoken to me.

The theme of the conference is: “STEP IN”.

Here are my reflections/take-aways/action points from the conference:

  • The story of the Samaritan woman (John 4) reminded me of how Jesus steps into our life, not to make us feel guilty of our offenses and sins but to have a personal relationship with Him. He exposes our sins to us but He does not leave us in that situation. He offers love, hope, redemption and forgiveness. And importantly, He wants us to be aware of our sins but He gives us the assurance that He still loves us. He does not want us to doubt of His love, ever. And that’s what the Samaritan woman experienced at the well. It changed her life and influenced other people.
  • The story of the lame person (Acts 3) since birth sitting at the Beautiful Gate asking for alms rebuked me of how I respond to the homeless people I see on the streets.  In all honesty and I’m not proud of, I always have the feeling of fear when I see homeless people on streets. I feel compassion and really wants to help in my own small ways however, fear precedes more. And this has been a struggle that I’ve been praying for a long time. And God just broke my heart. The words that really etched in my mind were – Fear Less, Love More. I have to stop seeing them as what the society sees them (homeless, addict, etc.). I have to start seeing them as people whom God also loves and whom God also sent Jesus for.  Just like me, they are people who need Jesus to set them free  and save them from their brokenness. And I really pray, that I will be able to find ways to reach out to them.
  • As I was reflecting on the story of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37), especially on these verses: “The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones.  Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. “… God opened my eyes to a very relevant truth. I am standing on a valley of dry bones. God did not just bring me here to Canada to start a new life. He “set me down in the midst of the valley”.  For almost four years, I still keep figuring out why God put a desire in my heart to come here and why He brought me here. There could be so many different reasons, but I believe His revelation this weekend is one of those reasons why I am here. I just don’t pray for this nation, I need to break my heart and weep in prayer for this country. God seeks people He can use to breathe into so that through them, He can give life to those dry bones. I must become the hands, feet and voice of God. Where? In my families, in my circle of friends, in my neighborhood, at my workplace, on the streets. 
  • Another comforting reminder also was the importance for us believers in understanding and in knowing the authority that we have in Jesus Christ. Even if I was at the conference, there were those moments that I would think about my Monday meeting at work. You see, I’ve been doing meetings with senior leadership for so many times. However, I would still feel nervous. And because I am just new to the company, all the more I feel more nervous. I don’t want to mess up and leave a bad impression. But those words from the conference, “AUTHORITY” in Christ put a peace in my heart. God brought me to that new workplace not to be defeated by my own self-focused worries. God brought me there because He knows that I can be a platform, for Him to do something in that workplace. He has given me the authority to speak blessings, to encourage, to be a light, to excel, to influence – not to FEAR, but to LOVE.
  • Greatly reminded of what the true heart of a worshiper should be. As the speaker Pete Greig said (in the context of worshiping in songs)…

“Worship is not being excited about the music or making music. Worship is being excited in meeting Jesus through the music.”

And my longer version that I need to keep reminding myself daily…

“Worship is to be excited not on the things that God has prepared us to do

…not on the music or making music

…not on the outcome of circumstances

…not on the answers of our prayers

…not on the provisions & victories

…not on the ministry work or task

…not on the people we encounter.

It is to be excited on the presence of God

…on meeting God

…on knowing God

…on experiencing God in every detail, in every moment of our life.

Worship is being excited on Jesus!”

We must be like Peter, always ready to plunge!

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea. (John 21:7)

The most amazing thing in that conference is to see, feel and experience the presence of God in a very tangible way. And I pray that all of us who attended there – singing songs of revival and surrender, nodding  and saying Amen’s to the messages, have responded not just within the halls of that building but have responded beyond those walls to our God who is seeking worshipers that He can send to valleys of dry bones. May we Step In.

When we step into the presence of God, we just don't chill out.

 

A Prayed Adventure

On the latter months of last year, my daily devotion was about on the life of David. It was during those months that God has impressed to me that my 2018 will be a year that I need to be more courageous. As you know David, he was the young shepherd who fought the giant, Goliath. But, that was just even the beginning of his great adventure. Eventually, he became the king of Israel which required him more courage.

As I was reading David’s life, there is one of the many important things he did that really reminded me of how much I was missing it in my life.

1 Samuel 23 – Therefore David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go and attack these Philistines?”   But David’s men said to him, “Look, we are afraid here in Judah. How much more then if we go to Keilah against the armies of the Philistines?” Then David inquired of the Lord once again.

Then David said, “O Lord God of Israel, Your servant has certainly heard that Saul seeks to come to Keilah to destroy the city for my sake. 11 Will the men of Keilah deliver me into his hand? Will Saul come down, as Your servant has heard? O Lord God of Israel, I pray, tell Your servant.”

1 Samuel 30 – So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?”

2 Samuel 2 –  It happened after this that David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up to any of the cities of Judah?”

2 Samuel 5 – 19 So David inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?”

23 Therefore David inquired of the Lord, and He said, “You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. 

Before David went to battles, he always inquired of God. He showed full dependence on God that before making any move, he wanted to make sure that it was what God was leading him to do.

And as I was reading that, I was rebuked of how I had been making decisions and plans in my life without really inquiring God first.  One of those was my desire to explore work from other companies. It had always been in my plan and every time I start making applications, God would always give me a reason to stay. Clearly, God did not want me that time to leave.

But late last year, I just felt that I really need to start sending my applications again. And because I was reminded of how David inquired God first, I did the same. My way of praying has changed from requesting to inquiring.

To remind myself, I keep an open journal on my bedside table so that I will immediately write down my inquiry before God. Below are the 2 items I listed last October that God has answered early this year which I will also be sharing here how He answered it.

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I worked for/at Best Buy for more than 10 years, including my years when I was still in Accenture. And the reason for me leaving was because I want to know what else is out there aside from the world of retail. I want to grow and learn more from other industries. As I shared in my previous blog, it was bittersweet leaving because of the people.

So how did my new adventure happened? Before I left for vacation last December, I went for an interview for a BA role in a bank. That wasn’t a contract role though. But because it is different from retail, I just decided to give it a try. I was excited about it and was hoping that I will make it. Unfortunately, I got the news that I did not get the job. So,  when I was in the Philippines for my vacation, I just kept praying about a new job. God knows what is best for me, so I trusted Him.

Second week of January  this year was prayer & fasting week. I was very much looking forward to it because I was excited of what God will reveal to me for 2018. I have so many plans for the year but I was just excited on what He will speak to me for the year. And over and over, He would remind me to be “courageous”.

During the middle of the fasting week, I got an unexpected FB message. My former colleague who I really admire as a person sent me a message and asked me if I was interested for a contract BA job. Without second thoughts, I said Yes! Of course!

So, she gave my contact to the hiring manager. Then, everything just happened so fast. I went for an interview, negotiated my contract and I got the job! It was effortless just like when I got the job from Accenture, just like when I got the job from Best Buy. And I knew that it was from the Lord. Because it was well-arranged and the timing was perfect. My former colleague never knew I was looking for a job, a contract job to be specific. But God knew and He can certainly use people in ways you never expect. And as always, if you think God does not care about details, He does. They gave me my asking rate. Just like when I got the job from Accenture and Best Buy. And what’s the other bonus? My new office is so close to my apartment that it only takes me 5 minutes to commute. And on the summer, I can even just walk!

Everything went smooth but it  took me courage to pursue it. It is getting out of my comfort zone and getting into a dimension that I myself acknowledges it is really one of my weakest – the world of finance. 🙂 It is also taking the risk of doing a contract job, not knowing if I will still have a job in the next six months or so. But, God knows my needs. He knows what I can and cannot do. He is my strength and my provider. I am courageous not because of my experience or what I know but because I have a God who is beside me, before me and behind me. I have a God who is all-powerful. He made this happen. He will see me through it. Because He is an awesome God!

Just this week was my first week at the new company. And each day I went to work, I was just in awe and still am of how God just did it. He did it, so amazingly. And I am just truly grateful.

I hope that I have somehow encouraged you. God is a good Father. He does not withhold anything good to His children. And we can only experience Him fully if we entrust our life to His Son Jesus Christ. Because it is through Christ that we are able to receive the promise of abundant life.

God bless you! To God be the glory! Let the future begin!

do what is rightnot what is easy

BREAK-UP

I’m just a bit emotional. I felt like someone broke up with me. Though, I really haven’t experienced one. Haha! But anyway, I just feel like it.

Last 2013, was my first time to resign from the first company that I worked for more than 8 years. But when I left, it was a different kind of emotion. I felt free. Here’s a throwback. 😀

Just this Friday, I said my farewell to the second company I have worked for almost 4 years. And the reason I’m writing now is because I just needed an outlet of how I feel and let it be. I really don’t like dramas but you know what, this is my blog site. I just  want to be dramatic right now. LOL.

Anyway, leaving was my personal choice. It was time to move forward and explore other industries for my own growth. I had to choose growth over comfort. However, leaving this time was not easy.

In my years at the company, I had moved from one team to another. Worked with different people on different projects. Had multiple bosses. Change was super constant. But the last seven months were different. I became part of a team wherein we could all grow together. And to become a part of something that evolves and improves, it’s not just about work. It’s really about building relationship. It was just getting better. And that’s why it was sad to leave. And probably, it’s just me. It’s something I didn’t want to lose.

I just feel like a portion of my life right now got ripped. #drama … lol… But, that’s how I feel. It’s going to take a while. I’ll definitely miss our daily stand-ups and sometimes, excessive clapping. 😀 I will miss grooming  & retro sessions where everyone just really gets “passionate”.  😀  I will miss the crunch time moments when it’s close to end of sprint and everyone just jumps in to help. Just so many things going on everyday that I will surely miss. But most of all, I will miss the team and being part of the team. I will miss working with people who turned out to be friends.

Okay enough with this drama…haha… but those are all sincere words… I’m not going too far so I know I will still see them.

Next week, I will be walking down the hall, seeing unfamiliar faces. And I might still be sad. It’s going to be weird for a while, I guess. We’ll see…

National Leave the Office Early Day!