The Pork That Got Away

It was a pleasant late afternoon when we arrived at Sweltzer Creek Campground. It didn’t rain as we thought it would. We got the chance to setup all our tents and canopies without getting wet. That was a Yay! All of us were just looking forward to the weekend to get away from our day to day activities and enjoy the outdoor life even just for few days. And not to forget, we were able to have bonfire (no fire ban) and roasted marshmallows! That just completed our camping. Yay again!

First night, all good! It rained some time during the night. Still good. We woke up into a cloudy Saturday which we kinda expected. Still good. Rain or the weather did not bring us down. As we started our day, cooked breakfast, got all the meals for the day prepared, then, our major camping setback happened. Karla, one of my friends went to get  the pork meat that we were planning to grill for lunch. She had it out the night before to have it thawed and ready to be marinated. And then she could not find it. So I started looking for it as well. And I could not find it. Everyone who woke up first started looking for it. Inside the vehicles, inside the coolers, everywhere. We all could not find it. Then, for awhile ( a long while probably for some of us *wink*), our shoulders just dropped. I, personally, got a little bit pissed.

That was not just a few pounds of meat. That was an amount to feed 20 people. I was so looking forward for boodle fight over lunch with grilled liempo (marinated pork belly). All of us were. That was like the turkey of Thanksgiving.

We only came to one obvious conclusion that someone took it. Not a bear for sure as it did not leave any mess. Unless bears now can carry a bag and be selective of food. Only the meat was taken and nothing else. Funny when most of our food were just on the tables. Whoever took it must have the time to go around.

How it really happened, we really don’t know. It’s a good lesson for us next time we go camping. Don’t bring pork! Lol. I mean, always secure the food. Well, we just hope that pork served really the need of whoever took it. We’re still grateful we did not lack and even had a lot of extra food. There must be a reason why that was taken away from us. We really don’t know. We ended up mostly eating fish. Healthy! Haha!

Thinking about it, it made me appreciate more the important things that I have that are harder to let go. Even if we did not have the lunch that we imagined it to be. It was not the end of the world. We chose to enjoy the rest of the weekend with the most important that we have – great company of friends. We all had a great time together and we all were kept safe throughout the weekend. That’s the most important. This disappointing event will eventually turn out to be one of our “legendary” camping stories in the future. And we will just laugh about it.

We will always remember the story of the… PORK THAT GOT AWAY.

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So what do you think happened?

a. Someone took it

b. The bear took it

c. The pork became alive and ran away

d. We were all just imagining that we brought pork

e. The guys who had a drink the night before ate the pork and did not remember

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Utterly Grateful

Throughout this birthday week, God has reminded me of how blessed I am with relationship. In all honesty, I am never used with people who are not my family in going out of their way just to show me how much I mean to them. I am humbled and grateful. Learning from the past, I’ve learned to lower my expectation on people to avoid being hurt and disappointed. I have to learn and re-learn how to give without expecting anything.

Probably that’s the reason why I always feel overwhelmed on any gesture (nothing is little or big for me) of goodness and kindness from people. It’s a blessing you can’t contain.

“It’s the thought that counts.” That is so true for me. I may not be able to express it properly, but I truly appreciate the time, the prayer, the thought, the present, the encouragement,  the greetings, the conversation, and even just checking on me if I’m doing okay. Every time someone blesses me, I always think of ways on how I can pay it back. I just feel like I don’t deserve such blessing. Then, God would just remind me that I have to learn as well to accept and receive with humility. That I should also allow people to bless me as it is a privilege for them as well. Same that to bless others is also a privilege for me.

Thinking about all of these, I am also reminded of how GOD as a GIVER is. Everything He provides, He does not expect anything. Indeed, we can never out-give God. We think that we are giving back so much to Him – our time, our resources, our wealth. But the truth is, the amount of blessing He gives to us is immeasurable. All we need to do is to open our two hands and receive His blessing.

And do you know what is the greatest gift that He can give us? His Son Jesus. I owe my life to Jesus. He is the ONLY ONE who can never disappoint me. He is the ONLY ONE who can live up to my expectations. Jesus is the ONLY ONE who saved me from all the pits that I have fallen into without expecting anything in return. He is the source of my joy, my peace and my strength. He is a GIFT none can compare.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” Luke 19:10

If you want to know more about Jesus, feel free to message me 🙂

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A recap of my 32nd birthday

THANK YOU EVERYONE for all your kindness and goodness! You know who you are 🙂 I can’t believe my mom prepared so much food on my birthday even if I am away from them!! Family Love is the best! ❤ ❤ ❤ And yes, I got a hair cut and for the first time have highlights on my hair! *winkwink*

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Sometimes, you need SPONTANEOUS

My good friend, MJ and I were few of the last people who stayed longer at church last Sunday. We were just taking our time as we didn’t have plans after. And then, randomly, we decided to watch any movie we can catch when we arrive at the theater. However, traffic began to move slowly. And so, we decided to go to Aberdeen Mall instead to buy some brush pens at Daiso and grab dessert after. Everything was just so random and it felt good!

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This is one of the things I missed! To be able to hang out with friends without setting a date or planning ahead. I remembered the conversation I had with my other church friend, Andie, weeks ago about the things we missed back home (in Manila). Going out with friends were more spontaneous there as compared here.

Thinking about it, I realized, I, myself, have become that person who wants everything planned ahead. I, myself, have started to become unavailable to spontaneous invites. Not that I have to say “Yes” all the time. It’s just that I don’t want to reach that day when people would just stop asking because I have given an impression that I can’t make time anymore for anything unplanned.

The truth is, there are those days when there are unplanned circumstances that you just want to share it with someone immediately – in person. Nowadays, things are mostly shared through messaging or social media. What happened to, “Hey, can we meet? I need someone to talk to.” Or, “Are you home? Can I come over and hang out for a bit?”

I know there is always a right time for everything. It’s not all the time that people can just be available, even I can’t always be. It’s just that somehow, we have lost that spontaneity because of social media that we don’t see the need anymore to meet up and have a good conversation. We feel like everything is just out there and that’s good enough.

I’m not sure if this is just me, or few of us who miss life back home. Or, is it really a reality that most of us do not realize?

Growing Together

I’m so blessed to be a part of other people’s lives by seeing them grow in their walk with God. As we say we are Christian, we must then believe that we are also commanded to make disciples just like what Jesus did with the chosen twelve. And to be a disciple and to make disciple is a privilege in our Christian walk. It must not be a burden for us but a joy as we experience God’s transforming power in our lives.

And being part of a discipleship group is never boring. It’s a great time of knowing the Lord deeper, knowing one another deeper, encouraging and praying for each other. It’s a venue where you can be yourself without fear of being judged. You get to travel together, do fun things together. And the other best part – there is always food! Haha!

I’m glad to be a part of a discipleship group. If you are not part of any, I hope you would start stepping out of your comfort zone and start reaching out. As our senior pastor said, (reason for not joining a discipleship group) if you think you don’t need help, then, be the one to give help. And I totally agree! Today, someone might need your encouragement, your blessing, your prayer. Don’t miss out on such a privilege!

I MISS YOU

I’m just thankful to the person who created the Timehop application. It’s an application that will feed your Facebook photos and statuses from 5 years ago until last year. I just like it so much because it reminds me of good memories from home.

And yes, I’m really missing home. I miss my family. I miss my friends and Manila discipleship group. I miss my friends from my previous company. I miss my favorite hang out places – Kapitolyo, Korean convenience store at Ortigas, Megamall, Powerplant Mall, California Garden Square.

Since I got back from my last assignment in 2012, April 2012 to May 2014 I believe are the most unforgettable years of my stay in Manila. These are my pruning years and never thought my last years in Manila. But as I look back, I am just glad that I really made the most in spending and investing time with people. I can not go back anymore. But I can always look back not having what ifs.

And that’s the reason why I miss home so much. I left at a time when there was so much growing, so much relationship building, so much learning.

I’m excited of how much people have changed when I go home next year for vacation. It’s a sad reality that people move on with their lives without me being part of it. However, I know that when I go home, I still have that spot in their lives just as they have in mine. That’s what’s comforting.

Our life here on earth is only meaningful when we invest our life not on things that moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. We truly never know where the next years would take us, but surely, when we invest our life on people, regardless of where we are, that’s what make living more purposeful.

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with my family – this was 11 months ago, we stopped by an overlooking site at Negros Oriental

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“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” Matthew 6:19

A Weekend to Remember

I have so many take homes over the weekend and so many things to be grateful for.

Last Friday night, together with my friends Linda and Shannon, we went to see the 47th Singing Christmas Tree Show at Broadway Church. There were Christmas carols, drama and acrobats. It was really cool – they were doing ice skating on stage. Linda and I got so curious that we went to touch the floor of the stage after the show to see if there was real ice. Well, it wasn’t. (hehe) The story was very simple but it conveyed a very important message, reminding everyone that we can do all the Christmas traditions we got so used of since we were kids but those can never replace the true meaning of Christmas. The gift-giving, parties, decorations, big preparations are worthless if we will never understand what Christmas is all about. Here’s a cute video about First Christmas.

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Saturday night was a Christmas get-together with my Filipino friends from work whom I consider family here in Canada. The group has gotten so bigger with almost everyone having their own families and kids (except for me and a few…nyaha!) Parties are more fun now with all the little kids running around and entertaining everyone. My only take home from this night that will last is a grateful heart. God designed us to be relational and He provides those people whom He wants us to build relationships with. He knows that we can never do things on our own and that’s why He gives us friends.

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Today, Sunday was another blessed day. I had to get up early in the morning to prepare my own share for the breakfast potluck at First Baptist Church (and skipped CCF service today). Gloria, also a Filipino was the one who invited me for their ministry breakfast potluck. Some of the people at the breakfast were also those I volunteer with at Tuesday’s Soup Kitchen at their church, including Gloria. It was just nice of her to extend the invitation to me even if I don’t go to their church. It’s just amazing how God could bring people together on certain events even if we are part of different congregations. Being connected to one Source who is Jesus can indeed unite people. And, I believe that’s why Christmas brings everyone together.

After the potluck, Gems (who was also with me at the potluck) and I attended the worship service and watched the movie, “The Exodus” after.  Here are my take homes from both:

  • No matter how good we think we are or we do, if we never received Jesus in our life, we will never have the right to be a child of God. We will be merely one of God’s creations, but never part of His Kingdom. 

 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:9-13)

  • We can only do so little with our own strength. But with our little faith, it can move mountains. The movie “Exodus”, even if a lot of scenes were not based on Biblical truth, it still emphasized the importance of faith not just in any god but to the one true God. Moses, just like most of us didn’t know the Lord growing up. But God used him for a greater purpose that’s why God spared his life when he was still a baby. His personal encounter with God was what made him go to deeper faith in trusting God as he led the Israelites out from Egypt.

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

I am forever grateful to God for His amazing love that He will never stop offering to us through Jesus Christ. As John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, hat he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

And now, my take away questions for you:

How’s your relationship with God?

Have you received Jesus in your life?

Why do you celebrate Christmas?

What do you hope to be better this coming new year?

Making the Most

So many amazing things happened for the past two weeks.  Hopefully, I could really sit down and write about it.

For now, I just want to share the awesome vacation I had with my best friend and her family in Alberta. Before I went back to working again, I decided to spend my last week at my friend’s. I will never be able to spend a long week with them so I have to make the most when I can. I took the long bus trips going to and from Calgary via Greyhound. It wasn’t that bad considering that I was really able to save a lot in my fare.

It was my first time visiting their new home in Cochrane and I must say I really liked the town. I also got the chance to see Canmore which is very beautiful. You can clearly see the Rocky Mountain from there. They have this cute little town as well.

 

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But the most favorite part of my vacation was to be able to spend time with my friend and her family. Her two kids are my godchildren. It was an awesome week with them – playing, doing story telling, strolling, etc. Amazing time!

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I just can’t wait to see them again as they come over to Vancouver by end of this month. Just grateful to see an old friend in this side of the world. 🙂