Today’s Quote for Thought

“Age, nationality, and language differences did not prevent people from working together on a common task as long as they had the picture box to guide them. Seeing the big picture is a must, an absolute necessity. Over and over again.”

-Ken Lottis, Will this Rock in Rio? (Finding God in an Urban Culture)

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An excerpt from my essay on Women, Education and Christianity

“The Proverbs 31 woman has a variety of skills and knowledge that showcases how much God values education among women. From textile designer to successful businesswoman, to cook and manager, she’s also a real estate agent and an agriculturalist. She’s an orator, a teacher, a humanitarian, a mother, and a wife. She brings honor to her family and love in her home. All that she would not be able to achieve without the proper education. For God to expect His daughters to aspire towards the Proverbs 31 woman, He expects girls to be well-trained and properly educated, not only to survive in the world of men, but to thrive and be respected.”

 

–February 8, 2014 

Just a thought I had that I figured I’d love to share 😀

Throwback Thursday: A Glimpse of Tacloban

Some days, when you’re swamped with books and journals to read and papers to write, you wonder what all this work is for. Doesn’t help either, when you feel like crap and other emotions such as anger and disappointment pop out of nowhere like woodwork. Giving up even seem like a decent enough options.

But there are stories, like those of Tacloban, that forces you to see that your life in reality, is fine. Last month, my ma went home to the Philippines to attend her 35th nursing reunion, the first one she’s attended since she graduated decades ago. Because our church and school have raised a generous sum for the Haiyan victims, she felt the need to visit the area where the funds will go to and meet the Philippine Navigators’ staff and volunteers coordinating the relief and rehabilitation.

I wasn’t there, but seeing these pictures, knowing that my own mother and uncle took them and experienced first hand what the town has become, I can’t help but ache for these people. I’m reminded that whatever I’m troubled with right now, it’s nowhere close to their pain. I know my problems will be over soon, but for these people, it’s been months since the devastation, but they are most likely never going get back all they lost. There are still months, maybe years until they can fully get back on their feet again, yet they are standing strong.  I’m not going to discount my troubles as trivial, but I am going stand strong. If these men, women, and children can survive and persevere despite the destruction, I can be inspired to move forward.

 

On the road towards Tacloban

On the road towards Tacloban

Signs of life starting again... Locals are slowly starting to grow crops...

Signs of life starting again… Locals are slowly starting to grow crops…

A little boy with his small container waiting in line for porridge

A little boy with his small container waiting in line for porridge

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Despite all these time, people are still lining up for free porridge offered by the project...

Despite all these time, people are still lining up for free porridge offered by the project…

Evidence of the disaster is still rampant

Evidence of the disaster is still rampant

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Even though she was there for less than 24 hours, my ma felt really blessed to be able to help in what little way she can

Even though she was there for less than 24 hours, my ma felt really blessed to be able to help in what little way she can

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The staff here is visiting a family's make-shift home...

The staff here is visiting a family’s make-shift home…

 

While my ma already posted these pictures on her FB, I figured I’ll re-post them here. I doubt I can do much for these survivors. All I can do however, is to pray for them and yes, spread the word. Media may have forgotten about them now for a better story, but there are still many who remember. So here’s to you! May you continue to remember the Haiyan victims and pray for their welfare and their journey.

Thank you

 

A Response to “23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23”

Yes, yes, I am no longer 23, but it’s strange how this one blog article can get so much reaction and attention at my brother’s college. How would I know that? I’m strangely FB friends with quite a lot of people there, and I’ve never even set foot in that part of the US before! Yes, I’m weirdly over-friendly, let’s move on!

But yes, when my lil bro re- posted, 23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23, I had quite a giggle at the different responses. I do find it retarded, but hey! The girl’s hilarious (albeit a bit simple-minded) but she has a good point!

Yes, before you post it, I’ve seen that “My First Blog: The Result of a Close-Minded 23 Year Old” response too. (Honestly, while I also agree with her, I felt more as if she was a tad bit to arrogant, judgmental and more close-minded than the first.)

I’ve nothing against marriage, I’d like to be married one day (though I’ll most likely die alone, but that’s a post for another time), but to a certain extent, this girl (the first blogger) made too much sense to fully disagree! I’m for marriage, but not at 23! Even if you’ve found your one true love by then, there’s still more to life out there that you should find out individually and grow. You’re 23! Were you the same person as you were when you were 20? My guess is, No! So chances are, you will change and grow (hopefully for the better), when you’re 25, 26, or 30! And really, don’t you want to be a more ‘mature’ and emotionally/financially ready when you pledge the rest of your lifetime to that someone who you will wake up next to for the next 75 years?

Before I get off topic, why am I writing this response? Well, I’d like to tweak the first one just a tad bit (or maybe a tad lot– the list is rather immature) and challenge my brother to do the good ideas on the first list. *NOTE* I’m copying and pasting her words in italics, you’ll be able to figure out which words are mine. So lil bro, this one’s for you:

1. Get a passport. Okay, so since you got your passport when you were like 2, why not add 5 new countries to that before your 23rd birthday…

2. Find your “thing.” It’ll be the first of many!

3. Make out with a stranger. Don’t you dare disrespect a girl like that! We did not raise you that way! Instead, do something nice for a stranger/lady (ex: carry her groceries to her car, pay for someone’s lay-away!)

4. Adopt a pet. A pet rock is more ideal! Or a plastic cockroach is fine too! 😉

5. Start a band. Or just master an instrument, whichever one is the most feasible…

6. Make a cake. Make a second cake. Have your cake and eat it too. And have another cheesecake party!!!

7. Get a tattoo. It’s more permanent than a marriage. True! And when it gets all wrinkly, it’s a great metaphorical reminder of how nothing stays youthful and beautiful forever! 🙂

8. Explore a new religion. Grow deeper in your relationship with God

9. Start a small business.

10.Cut your hair. Or let it grow. Or shave your head!

11. Date two people at once and see how long it takes to blow up in your face. I will Rapunzel you if you do! I don’t own a skillet, but we have tons of frying pans for me to choose from! Instead, take your girlfriends (female friends) out for dinner and pay for that!

12. Build something with your hands.

13. Accomplish a Pinterest project. Do you even have a pinterest? Get one! It’s amazing!

14. Join the Peace Corps. You’re not American, so you can’t. But volunteer full-time with a mission group or NGO for a whole month in a foreign country that you’ve never been to!

15. Disappoint your parents. Don’t even try! Us kids already do so without even trying. So instead, why not do something extra special for them!

16. Watch GIRLS, over and over again… I’m sure she meant the show, but if it makes you happy, watch all  the pretty girls you like! Respectfully, of course!

17. Eat a jar of Nutella in one sittingand die of diabetes!? Either bake something with a whole jar of Nutella or share a whole jar of Nutella with a best friend!

18. Make strangers feel uncomfortable in public places. Or just hang out with me and I can help you check this one off.

19. Sign up for CrossFit. Or just go to the gym like you always do

20. Hangout naked in front of a window. No, just no… Swimming with whale sharks on the other hand, sounds like a brilliant idea!

21. Write your feelings down in a blog. Look! You can cross this off now!

22. Be selfish. You’re already selfish! Do something selfless a dozen times over from now until your 23rd birthday! That would be much more challenging!

23. Come with me to the Philippines for Chinese New Year. And eat Balut!!!

So lil bro, let me know if you accept this challenge! It’s a few weeks before you turn 21, you have 2 years! This honestly is a list of things that are do-able (Don’t go swimming with whale sharks without me though! I need to check that off my list too!) and fun! Hopefully, they can help you grow as an individual and really, as MY number 8 says, grow deeper in your relation ship with God!

Lots of love!

 

Art in Perspective

So last night, my family went to this new gallery, Art in Paradise, in the middle of Chiang Mai. It is an illusion art museum that creates various 3D effects in the pictures you take. I won’t elaborate any further. I’ll just let the pictures explain themselves.

So yes, if you are in Chiang Mai and looking for somewhere to spend a fun, quiet evening at, Art in Paradise is the place to go!

🙂

PS: While half of the pictures are mine, photo courtesy of the other half goes to both Andrea and Josiah Maraat! Especially to the prettier pictures (aka: the ones with me in it! heheheh 😉 )

Greeting the Year of the Horse with a Roasted Pig

Hi there!

It’s been a long while since I last posted, but I’m sure as you all have surmised, I’ve all the excuses on the book down. I was busy, uninspired, had writer’s block, and had not had anything worth sharing (at least nothing nice).

Honestly, this past Christmas season kinda sucked as my little brother did not make it home for the holidays! 😦  (Yes, sorry for the constant rants and repetition, but I will continue to fume about it because I still have not gotten over it!)  *Grrrrr passport-making people!!! Yes, I meant you!* So I decided to drown my sorrows in retail therapy and went a bit cray-cray on the Christmas shopping!  (Rest assured, I am not broke nor am I in debt, but my bank account did feel a significant dent :P) But they’re right, you know. Retail therapy really does wonders! And watching the faces of my little munchkins opening their presents helped me get over my holiday slump and gave me tons of reason to smile over the holidays.

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Asides from their happy faces, I had to constantly remind myself that while Christmas is a time for family and presents, the core of it is Jesus and I had to celebrate that fact in its purest form as the frills of a complete family gathering didn’t work out this year. It wasn’t easy, but as you can see, God uses the unexpected to help us shift our focus on Him and reminds us of the goodness His blessings always bring. So while we’re one short, my family was able to push through the most tearful Christmas yet and celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior with our closest friends who have become a part of our family here in Thailand.

So while we ended 2013 on a sad note and started the year of the Horse on that said note, the family decided, in true Filipino fashion, to just overcome this hurdle with what we do best: eat!

I’m not into zodiac stuff, but I just had to put the roasted pig on the heading, because well, that’s how I started 2014, with a home-made roasted pig, or as we Filipinos call it “Lechon”.

I christened her, Ms. Piggy International 2014 :)

I christened her, Ms. Piggy International 2014 🙂

To celebrate the new year, my parents decided it was time for us to go back to basics and touch base to our Filipino roots. That meant a total swine-stuffing shindig at our backyard. Which pretty much went like this:

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Sadly, I did not participate in any part of the ‘pork-poaching’ process. Instead, I assigned myself to the documentation assignment and cake duty, which many have seen, my new original creation:

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We had a great spread to commemorate the beginning of 2014.

FIESTA!!! Or as we Bisayans say, Pista!!!!

FIESTA!!! Or as we Bisayans say, Pista!!!!

 

Personally, 2013 could probably be best described as the year of the emotional hullabaloo, which had quite a lot of scenes that involved me crying quite buckets-full of tears. From visas problems, to girl issues, to overworking, and turning 25, it was a bumpy ride. But as God continued to show me His un-ending faithfulness and grace, I’m still fairly optimistic for 2014.

I truly hope and pray that 2014 will be a year with tons of fun and adventure and that you might be able to witness the crazy curve balls life and God would throw my way!

Happy 2014!

Lots of love,

Grace