Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Thoughts on Spring and Slow Sunday Afternoon

It's already my second spring in Ireland and yet, I am still in awe of it, still amazed by it. In fact, I am loving it more than ever. If love is sweeter the second time around, then that will probably explain best how I feel towards spring. It is undeniably my favourite season of all seasons. I am most alive when days are longer, the chill is milder, the chance of a blue sky is higher and blooms are literally sprouting everywhere. Not to mention that I can already wear sandals and flats. :)

Last weekend was a series of partying that we decided to slow down after church on Sunday and call it our own. The sun was out and bright, the perfect kind for park-hopping. It is the cheapest form of R&R one gets to enjoy in this side of the world where parks are abundant. By foot, we visited two parks, snapped some photos via our iPhones, chilled and took things slow. After enduring a painfully cold winter (figuratively and literally), the coming of spring time is a sweet symphony to our souls.

Sometimes we need days like this, to just lie down on green grass, to breathe in and marvel in the beauty of the season and to be fully in it, to close our eyes and whisper a silent prayer of thanksgiving to the Great God who has it all figured out including our future, to have a hushed soft talk on the verses where we feel God is speaking to us, and to dream and plan a little.  The effect on us is always refreshingly good. Always.

On another note, it's been three weeks since R started on his new job and so far, he's been very happy. Which makes me happy that he is happy. I'm still on a hunt for a job and still praying for direction.  A medical procedure is on the way but we have hope that it's nothing too serious. Our mothers celebrated another year in their lives on the 5th of April.  And lastly, there are some beautiful plans being cooked up for summer. 

I know in my heart that better days are ahead. That's what spring does to me, it keeps my hope up. Hope you feel the same way too. And in case you have forgotten, God loves you! Very very much. If you have some doubts on God's existence, hope this one will shed a light. Cheers!


All photos taken via iPhone4s/5s

Monday, February 17, 2014

A Heart That Loves is Always Young

Since its the love month and my birth month, kindly allow me to be a little extra cheesy in this post, photo speaking. Rolando and I didn't really get the chance to celebrate Valentines on the 14th. I hosted a Spa Party that night so he wasn't allowed to set foot at home until the party was over.

In keeping with our tradition to do a photo shoot on my birth month, I let the hearts strings decor from the party hanging over the weekends. I always tell him we should take as much photos together as we can while we are still young and childless (but hopefully not for long).  Once a child is introduced in the equation, I'm pretty sure we won't have a minute to spare for silly-corny-cheesy stuff like this. 

Well actually, we don't celebrate Valentines extravagantly. A simple dinner (kahit nga sa fast-food lang) or a bouquet of even the simplest flower will do. After all, everyday should be an opportunity to love each other so why only show it on V Day? Don't invest on Valentines day just for the sake of joining the Valentine fever---flowers, chocolates, gifts and all that. Invest on everyday little things, on those little acts of love and sacrifices that never get to be shared in the social media. Even more, when you are married, love is translated to a more tangible and practical ways such as making him a coffee, ironing his clothes or giving him a foot massage and vice versa. Depending on your husband's love language, invest on that as much as you can, as often as you can.

Married for almost 2 years now, I learned that to love is to love young, to love fresh, to love anew everyday as if it were the first day I realised I can't live without this person. To love young is to keep doing whatever silly or crazy or cheesy stuff that make us click and to just giddily commit that we will stay together, forever and ever. Teenager lang ang peg.

On a serious note, I learned that for us to really enjoy our marriage, we have to be intentional to follow God's will for marriage (i.e. husband to love his wife just as Christ loved the church and wife to submit to her husband as she does to the Lord). Love and submission are the operative words that you can only do with a humble heart that is ready to love anew every waking morning.

It is my heart's desire to love and to stay young in loving, ready to start everyday with a blank canvass, ready to paint our God-given love story with hearts, colours, cheese and lots and lots of photos. Go ahead, hover over the photos and bear with our corny and cheesy poses in our pambahay  topped with scarves. :)

DIY Valentine Decors

I am planning to post more of my DIYs here so I'm gonna start with the decors from the Valentine slash Spa slash Advance Birthday Celebration held at our home sweet home on the night of the 14th.

Since it's Valentines, the goal was basically to set the mood using hearts garlands, hugs sign (i.e. xoxo) and the word love as an accent (which I made using spare buttons and spare tiles). This was also a Spa party so I just used lots and lots of candles to decorate the  apartment while all the other spa supplies including the foot massage and back massage appliances were brought by the ladies. In my opinion, aside from creativity, resourcefulness is the key to achieving a low budget, or in my case, zero-cost decors. 

To achieve this, I just brought out all the supplies that I bought in the past from sale or a store closeout---heart-patterned gift wraps, pink yarn from the €1 euro knitting starter kit I bought ages ago, wood twines, ombre pink candles, dainty doilies and lots of construction papers (bought last year when I used to teach on Sunday school). I also used hubby's fishing rod for the floating heart backdrop. 

So as you can see, I just worked on whatever supplies I had and as you might have known now, I'm a sucker for SALE especially on craft supplies because they don't take up much space anyway and I know I will always need them in the future. In that sense, I think my instinct was right to spend a euro or two for them.

So here are the DIY decors and the little details: 

Here's our guest room turned into a Spa Room:

The DIY Love accent:

The floating hearts backdrop: (full instruction here; I basically just copied all the steps except that I couldn't find a heart punch in Dulin so all those hearts were painstakingly manually cut).

Materials used:

More of my crafting and DIY adventure in the future. :)

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 6: A day Trip to Connemara

This was a trip that wasn't planned and plotted at all in my calendar. By choice, my wanderlust hibernates during the winter season because I am perpetually at the mercy of cold weather. It always bothers me. Always. February is still winter cold and a bleak month in Ireland; staying home was rather a better idea than being out and about whilst I waited for career opportunities and engaged in creative stuff which I never run out of doing.

When a friend politely asked though if I could accompany their friend (who was touring in Ireland) to Connemara for a day trip, I did not refuse. Why not? I had all the time in the world! Besides which, it was a freebie!

Hence, on a very early morning of 7 February, I found myself dragging my feet and layering and gearing up for a day tour. It's been a while since I hopped on a bus tour bound to a County. I think the last one was in 2011 when I first went to Ireland and we had a series of tours to at least 5 counties. R and I never got to do it since. 

In a nutshell, here's what I took away from the trip:

The day trip consisted of five stops between two counties---Mayo and Galway. For further write up on the two stops I loved the most, please see next posts.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Week 5: While Waiting

And so I entered a new season of my life---a season of waiting. As life offered me necessary endings, I decided to take this season as an opportunity to trust Him who knows best. While waiting for so many things to happen that are not beyond my control and for which I can only do so much, I decided early on that I will embrace this season and be fully in it. That I will be productive. That I will do things in humility. That I will get to know new hobbies---scrapbooking a.k.a. Project Life, calligraphy and oh yes, knitting! That I will be better at the ones I have known---photography, writing and oh yes again, playing the guitar. That I'll be a better wife to my husband who's been working like a dog these days. And that, most importantly, I'll grow up in my faith walk.

As January came to a close, I let it go with no regrets and what ifs and what nots. Amidst all the let downs, life is still beautiful and God is still God. And though there are times inspiration is hard to come by, I will press on. Though it's not easy, and we are never promised an easy life anyway, I will wait---for His timing, for His yes, for His provisions, for His wonders to take me to heights I've never been and seen. I will wait---joyfully, faithfully and expectantly knowing that every detail of my life has been taken care of.
"But those who wait in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and grow we are, they will walk and not be faint." - Isaiah 40:31

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Week 3-4: Necessary Endings

Project Life 2014 | Week 3-4

How can I even begin writing about my two toughest weeks of 2014 by far? (Insert the longest and  deepest sigh here.) I might be your Ms. Smiley on those snaps but I was hurting and worrying when they were captured, truth be told.

Let me begin by saying that in the span of just two weeks, I lost two precious things---my job and my iPhone 5. The former I relied on for financial security; the latter I relied on for connectivity. Not to mention that the smart phone was a gift and therefore had a sentimental value.

Week 3 - The Lost Job

It's the first time ever in my nine-year career that I lost a job. I was briefly told that it wasn't about my performance but that the company could instead hire trainees, either for free or for only half of my salary. I knew this for a fact (as well as the cash flow difficulty) so I accepted the decision humbly knowing that it was God who willed this to happen. 

Now I am and was grateful for that job. But there were days I had no joy at all going to the marketplace. There were days when, the minute I sat on my desk, I was wishing the day was over even before the computer asked for my password.  There were days when the only motivation I could hold on to was Colossians 3:23. Coming from big companies in the past, I value integrity and quality at work more than anything else but perhaps I didn't share the same values with this company I worked for. At one point, I was even told that I wasn't assigned any "messy work" because I was used to "structured work", whatever that meant to them. So I knew it was just a matter of time, that I would leave this company soon. 

Apparently, God has other plans. He obviously wanted me out of there sooner than I expected. I was delighted to be out of that work but the moment it sunk in, I got worried about our finances and the job-hunting difficulty in the private accounting sector (i.e. not audit or accounting practice which is really not for me anymore in this stage of my life). My number one encourager in the person of my husband recounted the times I had no job but God sufficiently provided, that we managed to pay the bills somehow. Slowly by His grace, I felt like I was getting back on track.

Week 4 - The Lost iPhone5

However, days after, my iPhone 5 was pick-pocketed in the city. I hadn't fully recovered yet from losing one thing then here came another lost. It was ironic because this unfortunate incident happened the week I was fasting from social media. Naturally so, I posted a question to God; I asked why He stripped me off one thing after the other. Obviously one of these is to be more careful with my belongings because apparently, smart phone theft is the number one crime in Dublin these days.  That I have to learned the hard way.

Necessary Endings

Then I was reminded by this that necessary endings are necessary for pruning, for letting go and for accepting that some things, no matter how good they are, must come to an end. As the wise Solomon puts it:
"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens."
There's a beginning and an end. Our four seasons in a year in Ireland is the quintessential of this verse. The same goes with life. The same goes with possessions. The crucial thing is to know when something has ended so you can learn, let go and welcome the new season fully and wholly.

Rolando understands this concept better than I do. When I lost my job and my phone, Rolando got to me wherever I was and just locked me in his warm and tight embrace. No blaming. No scolding. Just pure unconditional love shown at the time it was needed the most. His words of encouragement to me were:
"Lai those are just material things. Eventually, they will get lost, they will be broken. So don't put your security in those things so that when they're gone, it won't hurt as much and you won't feel less of a person."
Necessary Beginnings

Necessary endings are also necessary for something to begin. Of the countless trials I hurdled in the past, God never took something away from me without replacing it with the best ones! He has never allowed something to end without leading me on to a new chapter, a new season. So even if it was painful to lose these precious things and to put an end to the comfort they provided, I know He is preparing something for me. I may not see it now, I may not see it in the coming days, I just simply need to trust His sovereign plan.

Lessons Learned

On why these things were stripped off me and had to end? Because most likely, these are not good for me or they are holding me back from my true calling. It can be that I may need to step out in faith and explore other avenues where my talents and gifts can be maximised. It can be (and this one is quite obvious) that I need to spend less time on a smart phone checking feeds/sites when I can be accomplishing something worthy of my time like honing a skill or doing a hobby.  It can be that He desires to make rooms for something better. And no, better may not mean a newer phone or a higher-paying job. Better means being able to cultivate gratitude in our hearts.  Better means growing up in this season of inconvenience and taking it as an opportunity to be moulded by God. Lastly, better may simply mean finding joy knowing and trusting that God means well and He knows best. The answers can come later. :)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Week 2: Home Sweet Home

Project Life 2014 | Week 2

The second week of 2014 was a frantic and tiring week both at work and at home.  During the day, we were busy bees at work and at home during the night, we were busy ants packing our stuff, tidying the house and entertaining future tenants. Yet, no amount of tiredness and weariness could keep our excitement from going down the hill. We were just too excited to move. And move, we finally we did!

A few memorable snapshots of our frantic week here before the house move:

Leaving the first home we lived in as husband and wife is a bittersweet thing. At one point during the week, I sighed an emotional sigh, a long one which worried my husband for a second until I told him I was just being emotional that we were leaving our tiny abode that witnessed our humble beginnings.    Our Home#1 was the silent spectator to the just-married dreams that we dreamt---those that came true and those that were broken, to the laughter of good times and to the tears of rocky roads, to the finally-we-have-savings days and to the super thrifty days. Needless to say, it was also the silent witness to all the burns, the cuts and the chapped skin I got from domesticating myself

The truth is we were not supposed to move (even if we were planning to) until that problem with the  noisy boiler occurred sometime in November when the winter season officially began. We would like to think that it was God's way of moving us out of that place since we've been praying and we've been on the lookout as well for an apartment away from the hustle and bustle of the city. So I reckon we moved earlier than we should.

My Instagram has some snaps of what our home inside looked like:

The seasons and the number thereof that we spent in our first home:

We will miss the local cafe that we used to frequent for breakfast, coffee and snacks. 

But we have to move on to something bigger and brighter.  And with that, I welcome you to our Home#2:

More of our new apartment in the next month or so, that I can guarantee. :)

Friday, January 31, 2014

Week 1: New Year Tradition

Project Life 2014 | Week 1/52

As a custom, if we can help it, we just stay at home on the first day of the year and we normally write our commitments to God as a couple and as individual. We established this tradition in 2013 and we like to keep it that way to set the tone for the current year. Home. Write. Call family. Relax.

However, for this year, a friend asked us if we could perhaps meet her friend that was going to work in Dublin in the same firm as hubby. So of course the answer was yes. It is always nice to meet a new friend, no matter what day it is.

So this is the Week 1 spread of Project Life album (mostly taken on 1 January 2014 when we met and greeted our new friend Treena). Not much as there were only four days on this week.

Other than the reasons I mentioned here, the reason I'm doing this is to push my creative borders outside my comfort zone. This is something I haven't done before so I'm pretty sure there will be lots of misses more than the hits and it's completely fine. I also want to improve on my colour combination skill, learn Photoshop (also something I haven't explored before) and improve on my writing and photography.

Week 1 unraveled. More to go.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One Little Word: Humility

This is yet another inspirational project that I stumbled upon online. The aim is for you to choose one little word that you would like to reflect on and focus on as you go about with your daily life in a given year. It is also in a way, related to any creative stuff you'd like to embark on. As for me, I have forced myself to do the Project Life memory keeping and to be a minimalist at that.

For my one little word for 2014, I had pondered and contemplated almost all month of January often asking God in prayer what that word should be. As I have been wanting to revive "writing/blogging" this year, I had initially chosen the word write. But God, in His own sweet timing and nudging, decided otherwise. To be honest, I am very much aware that I need to grow up in this area, I was just really too proud to admit it. See? You can pick up by now that my heart needs to grow in HUMILITY.

At this point, I would like to elaborate why I need to meditate on this area all year long. Oftentimes, it is my pride, my selfishness and my lack of trust in God that drive me in doing things, on why I do what I do. I have always been guilty of wanting to be in control, of having an entitlement mentality, of worrying and of being ungrateful. Much of these really stem from my lack of understanding of who I am in the light of who God is. Apart from Christ, I cannot do anything, I have nothing. Am I not just a steward of whatever talents and things I possess? Do I really need to acquire things just to feel secure and important?

It is my prayer that as I have chosen and written down this one little word, that I will be humbled in the truest sense of the word. That instead of demanding, I will gain a child-like faith (Matthew 18:3), depending on God and putting my security in Him alone. That in the process, I will learn to put the needs of others first before my own and in turn, build a more meaningful relationships around me.  That I will be content of what little materials things we have. That along the way, my gifts, however simple and lacking they are, will be used to inspire and to encourage others.

Humility doesn't necessarily mean I should stop nurturing big ambitions. It only means that my dreams and decisions should now revolve around the question of "are they pleasing to God and am I doing them for the right reasons and motives?"

As 1 Peter 5:3-4 put it:
"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interest of the others."
My journey to learning humility will of course not be confined to a year, that's for sure. It will be a life-long journey. My desire is to be really intentional about it this year, to think of myself less and to put others first and foremost. Easier said than done, you would say and I will agree. But God's grace is always sufficient for us to try and to be better in this life. Until we become that someone He wants us to be, we should never stop trying. :)

What I want my 2014 to look like: To be filled with humility, to write, and to delight in life. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Project Life: Unraveling this gift called Life

Here's my official green light at Project Life. For the past three weeks, we have been so caught up in our house move and location change that this project needed to take a backseat for a while.  As of this writing though, I am officially unemployed and I am unexpectedly back to wearing my "full-time housewife" hat. On why I am unemployed is a different story altogether which I am not yet ready to write.  But I will be, one these days I will be. Now that I have loads of time at my disposal, more of my heart will be poured out in words. That I can guarantee.

Just as I committed to write more this year and to do creative stuff that will stretch me, I forced myself to finally do the Project Life which I learned about in 2012. It is a simple scrapbook/album/memory keeping project that aims to stir us ladies to cultivate a good life and record it. Before 2013 ended, my heart's cry to give it a try was so intense I could hardly stop from Pinterest-ing it and reading about this and that.

In 2013, I found life passing by so swiftly. It felt like I was racing with life itself. I felt that if I actually paused I'd be left behind. Needless to say I was also very disorganised in the past year---my photos remain unedited and unpublished, most blogposts remain in the draft folder, most thoughts and reflections remain just that, thoughts and reflections.

Through Project Life, I aim to hit three birds in one stone: to unravel life slowly, to journal reflections especially during the hard times and to get my photos edited and organised.

I also aim to give the mundane ordinary days an exposure they deserve. I truly believe that is in between these ordinary days that life hides its greatest treasures even though they don't get to be shared in FB and IG. It is that stroll in the park holding hands with the hubby and talking about our dreams that are yet to come true, it's in the few words in the bible that provide a silver lining to a very difficult day, it's the friendly conversation I had with an old lady in a bus, it's those simple yet wise advise given by mama, just to name a few.

Let's unravel life, shall we?

At home doing the project. I am in love with the white furniture and wide window glasses at home!

My Project Life 2014 - simply unraveling the gift called life. :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2014 Calendar

The first year I created a personal calendar was in 2012 featuring my 2011 trip to Ireland. I didn't create any in 2013 but personally committed and vowed to do this again for 2014. I've captured tons of photographs in the last year that one way I can think of putting them to good use is to plot them on a calendar. Then print it, frame it and make it a house decor or an accent. 

I wish I can tell you personally how fulfilled I felt before, during and after I made this calendar! Have you ever experienced being so engaged and actually enjoying what you're doing that you are oblivious of time passing by? I experienced exactly that.

I didn't realised I pulled an all-nighter browsing through gazillion photos and tweaking countless combinations! In the wee hours of the morning, I was gently told by hubby that it was already the morning of 31st! It was only then that I finally decided on my instagram photos of feet and shadows throughout our four seasons in Ireland in 2013. Gosh, I can spend forever doing creative stuff like this! 

Now the next thing to do is to have this printed and framed. That will be my next project once we have settled in to our new place in 2014.
click the photo for a better view

In case you were wondering how I did this, I purchased an online layout by Paislee Press for less than €4 then just added the photos. As simple as that. A photoshop is a must though so I asked hubby to download one for me as a Christmas gift, which he did, bless him. :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Hi Ya 2014!

This was us celebrating the first five minutes of 2014. This was us minutes after jumping to our hearts content and shouting at the top of our lungs: Happpppy Neewww Yearrrr!!! This was us moments after we said our little prayer of thanksgiving for the year that was.

We are so excited for this year. First of all, we are moving two weeks from now! Let me say that in all caps: WE ARE MOVING! I have also decided to go back to the basics and commit time doing things that I love, one of them is writing. I completely neglected this blog and the fact that it frustrated me to no end meant that its in the very core of my being to write and to express. There's a still soft small voice in me that says: write. So I will do more of this in 2014: write.

I've always thought that New Year is an answered prayer in itself. We all want a clean slate, a chance to try again. Aren't you glad we have a fresh set of 365 days to do things we've been putting aside for years? to explore places we've never been? to capture the beauty that is called life? to love deeply? to be kinder? to build meaningful relationships and to fix an injured one? I certainly am.

Cheers everyone, hope you are off to a good start!

Credits: The center photo is a freebie journal card from Paislee Press, one of my favourite sites in the whole world wide web! :)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Books I Read: 2013

“Why do I read? I just can't help myself. 
I read to learn and to grow, to laugh  and to be motivated.
I read to understand things I've never been exposed to.

Reading for me, is spending time with a friend.
A book is a friend. You can never have too many.” 
― Gary PaulsenShelf Life: Stories by the Book


That is precisely the reason why I love to read. I read to learn new things, new words, new places, new experiences. Reading for me is like Harry Potter entering platform 9 3/4 and gaining access to Hogwarts Express that is eventually leading to Hogwarts Castle where new adventure awaits.

On that note, I'd like to share to you the seven books I read in 2013. I am frustrated with the stat. Hubby read about 20, I hate him! Haha!  

My top three favourite in this batch are: The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty (paging Lianne, I'm now a fan! Count R too!) followed by And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini (seriously this guy is a genius!) and then The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.

I loved The Husband's Secret because of how unpredictable the story is. It kept me guessing and getting the story wrong every page, every chapter. It's narrated in many perspective in a seamless way that I actually touched based with each character's humanity. It's funny and witty. It's sad and melancholic. It basically touches on life using a different kind of style I have never previously read before. It's also the second book I read that was based in Australia so I was curious to read about how its people view life, love, family and everything in between. I was also in love how the book ended. It left me a valuable lesson in life: to be compassionate about others, because we don't really know what they are going through or have gone through. There's always more to people than what we see in the outside. And this one thing is perpetually true: Do not withhold the truth. A simple one, yet hard to live by. The maxim "the truth shall set you free" is never been truer than true in this book. I'm not really a good book reviewer and this is not meant to be a book review. This is just me telling you how the book impacted me and how much I enjoyed reading it. 

For next year, I plan to read at least 30. That is a very ambitious goal I knooow but once we move to our new apartment, I will have more travelling time from home to work and vice versa. That travel time will be allotted to reading. I am planning on cutting off my social media time. I spent waaaay too much time in FB and Instagram that I failed to do what I really enjoy to do and what will help me grow more. Reading for me is growing and expanding my horizons. So cheers to turning pages and growing in 2014! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Our DIY Christmas Cards

One of the traditions that surprised me living in Ireland is that card-giving is still very much alive in this part of the world. Most people here still do send their Christmas greetings and wishes through a tangible piece of paper called cards. This is despite the fact that the whole wide world is getting "more and more paperless" these days.

If I remember it right, I rarely received any back in the Philippines and I'm not counting the tiny gift tags as proper Christmas cards. Don't get me wrong. I like gifts with tags, even without tags. :) It's just that for me, a simple card can mean so much. It's not always a "greener" year for most of us and there are seasons where all we can afford to give and bless others are cards. During these times, words personally written and thought of are more than enough to touch one's heart, to let others know that they are remembered, that they are loved. It is really the thought that counts people. 

To give you an example: Last year, we were recipients to a number of Christmas cards even though we didn't give any. It was our first Christmas here and receiving cards meant that we were part of something, that we belonged, that we were thought of.  It was a simple gesture that truly warmed our hearts on our first cold (temperature wise) Christmas ever.

So for this year, R and I bowed to send back some Christmas lovin' through a DIY Christmas card. I was inspired by buttons as a creative theme for this year so off to Pinterest I went and found these plethora of inspiration! (Pinterest never fails me).  We spent two nights creating these and we were glad we did:

Have a joyful season everyone! Hope you will remember that it's not always the material things that capture a heart. :)


Materials we used: white plain textured cards, buttons and craft glue (all from Arts & Hobby shop), used gift wraps, used ribbons and twines, and a calligraphy pen (or a simple pen will do). 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Tales of Spring

Blooms. This is what I will always remember what Spring is all about. :)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spring and Soft Light

These two things have changed my life lately: spring and soft light. 

Spring. I have fallen truly, madly and deeply with spring blossoms or cherry blossoms.  If you happened to be friends with me on Instagram, you'd know that I have flooded my IG with sightings of pink blossoms day after day since April.

Soft Light.  I am loving the soft light brought about by the warmer and longer evenings of spring time. It's just so perfect for taking portraits as the back light has this dreamy effect on the subject. And on that note, I have been inspired lately to take photography more seriously, like enroll in a photography class.

This time of the year has surely awaken my senses. I feel more upbeat and more alive and I am inspired to write again and give some TLC to this neglected blog.

Monday, April 1, 2013

For A While, it Felt Like a White Christmas

Only it was March. Only everyone was anticipating for Spring. Christmas was over "three" months ago and it wasn't white. The idea of white and snowy one remained just that: an idea, a mere wish for the hopefuls like me, a dream that would be carried over to the next season when snow-wishing would began anew.

You have to understand that we have yet to experience snow in our lifetime. So that dream of ours to play in a white field of snow, be so cold that our cheeks will flush red and throw each other a snow ball has yet to come true.

Christmas came. New Year came. Not one bit of snow fell. Then the Valentines. Then my Birthday. Then came along March. As the calendar moves towards the second quarter, our snow dream was replaced with these new exciting possibilities: cherry blossoms, warmer weather and longer days, in that order.

But I think life's great surprises do happen sporadically in a year. In my countless experiences, I have known that God loves to surprise us, in ways and moments that would catch us off guard, in a good sort of way.

It was a holy week, a Wednesday. For unknown reason, I woke up earlier than usual, checked the weather (something that I learned to do out of necessity) and got the best surprise of the year ever: snow had built up in our tiny front yard! It was snowing so peacefully that for a while, it felt like Christmas, that for a while and for posterity, I wanted to call our loved ones in the Philippines to wish them a merry one! I just stood there at our glass door transfixed by the falling pieces that flickered midway in the air. I stood still and wondered what God was thinking sending snow in March, the beginning of springtime.

I could only think that this is His world. It's His call when to command a snow even if muggles like us wouldn't thought it's possible. You see, impossibility is His specialty. That's the lesson I would take away on that surprisingly snowy morning. Another dream in the bucketlist has been ticked. :)

The usual feet, this time on the snow. And below is a snapshot of my quiet time, one of the best mornings spent reading His Word. :)

The scenes while I rode the bus to my workplace. The snow didn't last in the part of the city where we lived. I heard it lasted for days in some part of Ireland. At least, it didn't last very long for us to take that as a burden rather than an amusement. :)

Oooh, so till next snow-dreaming season!

A Week of Reflection

It was another holy week gone by in this fleeting life of mine, my first one since residing in a city where my faith walk has had its own share of ups and downs and bends and stretches.

For the past three years, holy week has taken a different level and meaning in my faith journey. This year, I committed to just slow down and reflect on God's goodness and greatness. I know this is something that I "should" practice everyday, but I'm still a work in progress needing a lot of molding and even pounding most of the time.

With my Instagram photos, let me walk you through my first holy week in Dublin and the reflections that came along with them: 

Monday Blues - On Monday morning, we walked our usual path and we were surprised to witness that ray of sun penetrating the thick grey clouds that enveloped and depressed the city for almost two weeks now. Finally, a little bit of sun would do this city good.

A stroll in the park Tuesday - I finally paid a lunchbreak visit to that park near the office and was charmed by those sweet daffodils in shades of yellow and white.  While I sat and ate and endured the freezing weather, I wondered what work it was that would make me happy, like truly happy. I lifted the question to God and that little pain I always felt when discussing about my career. At the end of the day, I felt grateful. I should be grateful. A lot of Irish folks had no job and couldn't find one in their own land.

Snowy Wednesday - I woke up earlier than usual, checked the weather and surprise, surprise: snow had built up in our tiny front yard! Oh, I had the best quiet time ever in front of the falling snow. For a while, it felt like Christmas and I just tucked my chin on my palms, wondering what God was thinking sending snow in March, a springtime.

Blue Skies of Thursday - What made my Thursday: I love you from my father, a boss who declared tomorrow a holiday, a blue skies, fluffy clouds and a pinkish sunset to gaze on while I walked from office to home.

Home Alone on Friday - So I learned that Black Friday is not a usual holiday in Ireland and it depends on your employer whether to call it an off or not. I was blessed to say I did spend the whole day at home in my pajamas while poor hubby had to work for one more day. I truly, madly, deeply miss my bum days.

Sharing on Saturday - We watched some clips from the Passion of Christ and we posted this question to our bible group: "What does the Passion meant to me?" My simple sharing consisted of this: "I just know that I need a Savior because I sin everyday." It still boggles my mind how Jesus endured it all, but one thing's for sure, because He loves me so much and it is one of my deepest desires to make something good out of this one precious life that He paid for in the cross.

Oh-Happy-Day Sunday - Nope, it's not about the Easter Eggs nor the Bunny. I know that for a fact, thank you very much. Behind those Easter Eggs was the celebration all around the world. To end this, I would just echo the words sang by the kids at our church with a hope that you too will know why we this week was holy and why today, of all the days, should be a one happy day. :)

"Oh happy day, Oh happy day
When Jesus washed my sins away...
Oh happy day..."

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