I’ve been blessed with another short yet definitely sweet and super fun trip this April. It’s a blessing because my favorite sister Kris, I only have one :), and favorite brother-in-law Carlo gifted me with a flight ticket to Bangkok. 🙂 Thank you so much, you’re the best sister and brother to me! 😀 Thanks much too to Nikky for booking it for our group and taking good care of us all throughout, you’re the best! 🙂
This trip, my 12th country, Thailand, is very special in more ways than one. Aside from being our first time to travel together out of the country, it’s also my sister’s first out of the country trip and she’s 4 months pregnant with the very first grandchild of our growing little family. 🙂 It’s also the first time that we would get to travel with Kris’ and Carlo’s friends/churchmates, Nikky and Tet. 🙂
So many firsts! So many things to be thankful for! 🙂
This photo was taken in Bang Pa-In Palace (Summer Palace), our first stop on Day 1 – 18 April – Ayutthaya Day trip. The backdrop is called Phra Thinang (Royal Residence) Aisawan Thiphya-Art (The divine seat of personal freedom). Of all the places that we explored, the Summer Palace is actually my top favorite, we took lots of beautiful photos on this very beautiful place. ♥ I loved that this place has pavilions and gazebos laid out in a garden setting, Western style-buildings, there’s Victorian feel to it, everything is just so lovely. ♥
After taking lots of photos and shortcutting our tour around the Summer Palace because it was getting too hot already, we were ready for my much awaited Thai milk-tea, and Thai lunch!! 😛
Here’s our Day 1 Thai lunch, all soooo yummmm!!
After lunch, we were ready for another treat – Ayutthaya Historical Park-hopping all afternoon. 🙂
Thanks to my brother and sister for their GoPro, we’ve got lots of wide-angled photos and super funny videos. 🙂
Next stop, one of the highlights, was our up-close encounter with a biggie but uber cutie elephant 🙂
After our photo-op with cutie elphie, it’s time for my 2nd milk tea! 😛
That’s all for now for my first Thailand trip.
Posts on Day 2-4 will follow in the coming days, hopefully. 🙂
Recently, I’ve been watching youtube videos, especially while I’m doing treadmill. I’ve watched this video a couple of weeks ago and thought of answering some of the questions just for fun and to know myself a bit more.
most prized material possessions – I try not to be so attached to things, but to answer this – I think the few jewelry pieces which my dad gave me when I was a teenager which I still have and use 😉
I must admit, answers to some of these didn’t come quickly and easily, I have to pause and think about it hard at times, but I’m glad I was able to remember some favorites and share them here. For some items, I didn’t get to think of only one top favorite, so I ended up writing more than one. 🙂 Some favorites might change over the course of time but it’s okay. Because change is beautiful.
Lately there are lots of templates on Instagram where you will answer questions about yourself, it’s like an online version of the good old slambook! 🙂
I first saw it from my dear friend Gillian’s IG stories so I downloaded some of the templates from TheSundayChapter IG and answered them. Sharing some here:
Having been able to answer these templates quickly and enjoyably made me happy and realized that I know myself much better now compared when I was much younger. I guess that’s just how life works, as you go through life, as you experience lots of things, both good and not-so-good, you get a better understanding of who you are, what you prefer and why you prefer this one thing over the other, why you do what you do and you are happy about it (no need to explain yourself to anyone), you know your negotiables and non-negotiables which is really liberating. You don’t depend your choices and decisions on someone else because you know what works well for you and what’s not, and you are very cool with it (talking about acceptance :)).
Knowing oneself is a lifetime process, so we better enjoy and love as we discover new things about us day by day. As we age, we change our preferences, though there are things that we will hold dear until the end, we improve (hopefully), we learn to let go of things quite easily because we now know what matters most, and we know that it’s never about material things but about our God (our life with Him here and thereafter), our life’s purpose, and every single person we are blessed to have around us. These people help shape who we are, and vice versa, so let’s strive to have positive influences towards each other, let’s walk together towards goodness and righteousness, all for God’s glory.
Discovering oneself will not be always a walk in the park, sometimes you will have doubts, sometimes you will be judged and you might get off track and feel sad about it but you have to be reminded who you really are, in Christ. Your worth is dependent in Christ alone, He knows who you really are and He loves you just the same, unconditionally for all eternity.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
We’re on the 63rd day of 2018, 2 months passed by so quickly, right?
My first two months were great! Thank and praise God for all that He has done and for all the blessings He has poured upon my family and all my loved ones and friends.
The biggest blessing/answered prayer so far is my little sister’s pregnancy. 🙂 Our family is soooo happy and grateful for this blessing, such a great way to start the year!! She’s on her 3rd month and we are so looking forward to the new addition to our growing family.
We are also counting the days to our first out of the country trip for the year, it will be my first time to travel with my sister and brother-in-law to Bangkok. It’s my sister’s first out of the country trip so we are all very excited. 🙂
With regards to my #Goals for 2018, I think I am doing okay, I have 10 more months to fulfill most of it. 🙂
Read and study the Old Testament. – I’m on Genesis 16. I am slow but it is okay. Reading and studying the Word of God is not a contest, it’s about consistency, commitment, and building a personal relationship with the Author. 🙂
Finish one-to-one discipleship with muy bella, Mel. Then participate at the Victory weekend and be water-baptized as a Christian. – I hope to be water-baptized this year, I am not rushing this, I will happily and peacefully follow God’s timeline.
Join VictoryFort’s feeding program regularly. – I will join VictoryFort’s activities after my baptism. 🙂
Buy an oven and learn how to bake cookies, cupcakes and cakes. – My target for this is next quarter. I hope to buy an oven by April and start baking thereafter. 🙂
Save up Pxxx,xxx by end of the year. – I think this is attainable. 🙂
Read atleast one book per month. – I’ve finished reading these 3 books but I started reading them in late 2017.
I bought 4 new books at the Big Bad Wolf Book Fair, here they are:
Learn French using the Duolingo app. – This one I am not consistent. I should start again very soon!!
For the first two months of the year, I had a couple of disappointments which caused me momentary heartbreak but it’s all okay now. I think I was able to manage my emotion well, and hold my peace thus no relationship was compromised. I have forgiven and learned to let it go. I know it is never right to judge anyone, but because of what happened, I had a better understanding and appreciation of why God has commanded us not to judge our brethren.
“Judge not, that you be not judged.2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:1-2
I have been judged, and it hurt so much. People, even family or friends, will not always understand why we do what we do, so it is best to not judge. Each has his/her own reasons for doing things, in most cases, only God is our witness and He’s the only one who understands, accepts, forgives and loves us, no matter what.
Anyway, I am so grateful that God is always ready to listen to us, to hear our prayers, our cries, and He is with us to comfort, to give us peace and the assurance that everything will be okay because He is our Father, He is in control and He has the best plans for each of us.
Anyway, on a lighter note, I am very happy with my increasing commitment to working out/exercise. When I say “workout/exercise,” it means joining Thursday Bootcamp, planking and abs workout at home (checkout JessicaSmithtv), playing squash and doing treadmill at the company gym. I’ve recently discovered what will entertain me while I run, that is watching YouTube videos, I am specifically hooked with Erwan Heusaff’s videos, because it’s 99% travel and food! 🙂
On weekends, I try to jog/walk with my momsy, and then we would have coffee (and French toast and baked sweet potato, oooopppssss!!!) afterwards if the time permits it. I think I am officially a coffee princess, in other words – coffee addict, which is not actually bad, for as long as I am not drinking too much. 🙂
We are only done with the first two months of the year, but I have been blessed with so much already. So many favors and blessings from God through my loving family, well-meaning friends and colleagues at work, good health and strength, travels to look forward to, a happy, healthy, godly baby for our family in a few months.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. – Romans 12:2
The future is bright, it is so promising and filled with God-ordained circumstances. I am very hopeful and expectant of all things good, lovely and beautiful because my hope rests in the Lord.
We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. 21 In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. 22 May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you. – Psalms 33:20-22
Yes! I’m that kind of person, I write goals, things to do, faith declaration every start of the year, because I believe in the power of spoken and written words. Words are powerful, writing them down reminds me of what I have prayed for, planned for the year, and how the Lord has answered them.
For 2018, I have written down 7 goals, I surrendered them to God. I hope I’ll be able to do them all, but as always, I am open to God’s interventions. If He has other things which He wants me to do, I am very much willing to do them. At the end of it all, I just want God’s best for my life. And I hope to glorify and magnify Him in my life.
So please let me share my goals for the year. I hope to update you by next year and let you know how the Lord has blessed them.
Read and study the Old Testament.
I’ve read and finished the New Testament several times, but not yet the Old Testament (OT). I have read some chapters of the OT, this year I want to read it from Genesis to Malachi. I might not be able to finish it this year, but my goal is to read and study it daily, hopefully. Knowing God through HIS word is very important, if not the most important, that’s why I really want to have a regular quiet time. The word of God guides, equips, leads, enlightens, comforts, gives us peace and wisdom, amongst other things.
2. Finish one-to-one discipleship with muy bella, Mel. Then participate at the Victory weekend and be water-baptized as a Christian.
I have not done volunteer work for awhile so I really look forward to do it again this year. 🙂
4. Buy an oven and learn how to bake cookies, cupcakes and cakes.
I’ve always wanted to do this but didn’t have the time (and the oven) to do it. This year, I hope to finally get to bake. I have bought this book last year (hello! coffee-lover in me), so I am excited to finally use it this year. 😉
5. Save up Pxxx,xxx by end of the year. 🙂
Follow the 10-20-70 rule. 10% for tithes, 20% for savings/investments, 70% for expenses.
6. Read atleast one book per month. 🙂
Here are the books that I would like to finish reading by end of this year. Some of which I have already started but stopped somewhere… If I have more time, I have more books on queue, which are kept on my other shelf. ;P
I really like to learn to speak French. I’ve been planning to enrol at the Alliance Française de ManillebutI don’t have the budget for it yet. The tuition is quite high so for now, I will have to self-study using the Duolingo app.
So there, I have shared with you my goals for the year. Hope you get inspired to set your own goals too! 🙂
Let’s cheer on and support each other up. We can do all these, by God’s grace and our discipline and determination. 😀
By the way, the list looks simple and easy, but it will surely require a lot of time, hardwork and discipline (and God’s grace), so on the last day of 2017, I decided to minimize the use of Instagram (a time-waster for me). I will check my account on weekends only, or if I have something to post. But on weekdays, I will focus my time on accomplishing my goals. 🙂
As I write this, 2 January, 2018, it’s all good. I had a good start, thank and praise God! 🙂
I was able to do some reflection, bible reading, I wrote my faith declaration for the year, prayer requests for family and friends, some goals which I offer and surrender all to God, the hope of glory. 🙂
On the last day of 2017, I attended the church service at VictoryFort. Before I attended it, I prayed to God to speak to me and guide me through the pastor’s message. Pastor Joey’s central message is about HOPE. You may listen to his message thru this link. I love the message and it was exactly what I needed from the Lord. I’m grateful to be reminded how great, how loving, how powerful, how generous, how mighty our Father God is, His unchangeable character and time-tested word [are] enough for us to depend on Him and hope in Him, it’s enough to be comforted and to have peace as we go about our days in 2018 and all the glorious days of our lives. Sharing with you some of the bible verses which Pastor Joey shared to remind us how important it is to focus and keep our hope in the Lord because HE is our Father, our Savior, our Provider, our Healer, Comforter, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Prince of Peace, our Alpha and Omega, He knows the beginning and the end of our lives so trusting Him and hoping in Him is the best thing that we can do to live a victorious life today and everyday. 🙂
Hebrews 6:17-19 ESV
17 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath,18 so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.19 We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain,
Romans 5:3-5 ESV
3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
Colossians 1:27 ESV
27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
In the same way that the message of hope has given me all the comfort, peace, encouragement and excitement to face the coming year with a joyful, grateful and expectant heart for everything that the Lord has planned to bless my family, friends and me for the year, I hope you have been filled with the same strong hope from God’s unchangeable character and time-tested word.
Cheers to a blessed, happy, healthy, hopeful, lovely, and peaceful 2018! 🙂
I’ve found my first Europe travel buddy because of Colosseum. Why Colosseum? Caye’s main reason for wanting to go to Europe is because she dreams of seeing the Colosseum in its glorious glory. 🙂 So when I first shared to her my dream trip, we’ve got an instant travel buddy in each other. 🙂 We saved the best for last, we put Rome at the end of our trip. Kim also wanted to attend the Pope’s celebration of mass at the Vatican so we had to schedule our trip which would fall on a Wednesday, the day the Pope himself celebrates mass to the public.
In Rome, I have used the panoramic shot the most because everything is wide and humongous!! Just like the Vatican and the Trevi Fountain amongst others.
We ate lots of pasta, pizza and consumed so much coffee too, which we all enjoyed!
Coffee all day, everyday! 🙂
On the last day, I needed to have gelato! I wasn’t able to eat gelato everyday because I’m too full from all the pasta, pizza and all the yummy meals we had, my tummy had no more space for dessert! ;P
This was us, in front of our AirBnB, on our last day. We loved our accommodation in Rome so much. It was big, clean and beautiful. The location was great too! 🙂
Rome being the last leg of the trip, I thought, it was okay not to expect too much, anyway we already had the loveliest (more than) 2 weeks of travel, and I was kinda tired already that time, also trying to condition myself that I would leave my dream place in a few days… But lo and behold! God really spoils His children! Rome was sooo lovely!! Just like the rest of the places we’ve been to. I wanted to stay a bit longer, if only I could… It was easy to explore, and everything is sooo beautiful, I love it’s warm colours, it’s cool and sunny weather, the coffee, the gelato, everything… I will surely go back, someday, Godwilling. 🙂 I can’t thank and praise God enough for blessing us with the most wonderful vacation in our beautiful dream place. HE is truly an awesome God and Father, always giving the best gifts to His children. 😀
Hope you enjoyed my photoblog! 😉
Until my next adventure, more to come in 2018! 🙂
Wishing you all the best of everything in the coming year! God’s best, always! 😉