Better 2016

 Taipei 101 before the NYE countdown tonight

It's a gloomy last day of the year. Cold wind blows through my hair, my hands inside the pockets of my coat as I wait at the pedestrian crossing. I heave a sigh of relief. I cross the big intersection and make my way to the office whilst reflecting and thanking the highest heavens for my life, for my 2015- despite its many hurdles and heartaches.

I've made it through another year. How I fared though is another story. I've tried my best to make up for my shortcomings the previous year, but there are times when my best is just not good enough. I fail at certain aspects of my life. I tremble, I fall and it is during this time that I yearn for Him to help me bounce back.

Life is not perfect, no matter how we make it look pretty on Instagram and Facebook posts. Behind those captions and beyond those filters, there are struggles we don't talk about. The problems we have in our own families, relationships, jobs, health conditions etc. give us a reason to grow more in our faith, to strive to be better every single day. And I think that is my yearly resolution- to be better.

I wish you all a brighter, better, blessed 2016!

"Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person – nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important. Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are." -PAULO COELHO

Christmas is a Feeling

"Christmas is a feeling, not a season," said one quote I saw on social media. I paused and pondered over it for a while. I tried to "feel" it, to breathe and open my senses if it is indeed Christmas. You see, there's this tiny hole inside my heart. It aches and sometimes steals away emotions, but last Sunday during Mass and at the Advent Recollection, this tiny hole closed a little and offered some peace. It's finally Christmas. I can feel it in the depths of my heart.

Every morning over the last few days, I give myself some quiet time. I read a devotional while sipping hot chocolate, reflecting and praying intently. I surrender all my worries and disappointments to Him, to let me heal little by little. And lately, just when I think about giving up, I can hear His voice in the silence, telling me to cling to him, talk to him always, to tell him of my many fears. It is Him who makes me feel Christmas, who makes me whole despite being broken.

I thank Him for these beautiful moments in the hurly-burly of Christmas. To have time to quiet down and just be thankful. I've been attending Simbang Gabi Mass and I'm committed to complete all 9 evenings, not to make a wish, but to offer thanksgiving. I look at the cross every night and whisper prayers of gladness, of praise. And I'm surrounded with people who do the same. St. Christopher's Church was packed on the first night and it was wonderful to see fellow Filipinos preparing themselves for the coming of Jesus.

At work, we had an early Christmas gathering since our boss will be on leave. We had a small post-conference party at the Le Meridien for dinner buffet on Monday, and the Christmas buffet in Hyatt on Wednesday. I tried my best not to pile my plate with so much good food, but this happened:

How can I resist so much good food?! I'm trying to discipline myself not to eat a lot mainly because it's winter and winter = fat. Since I cant attend yoga classes at night until December 24, I sign up for the 7AM classes every Tuesday and Thursday, and regular classes during weekends.

I hope (I'm sure) you can "feel" Christmas now that we're just a few days away! I wish you all a Blessed Christmas. Open your hearts and let Jesus in :)

Thankful Tuesdays 1

This is a link-up with Micha's Thankful Tuesdays series. Micha dedicates Tuesdays to thank the Lord for the many graces and blessings that He showers us through the week. Here's mine :)

1. My check-up last Friday went well despite all the panicking that I did. I was so nervous few days before my appointment with my doctor, but my pedia-cousin has been pushing me to go see a gynecologist after learning I've been on 3 courses of antibiotics and starting to experience its side effects. Dr. Bernice was very gentle and talked me through the whole process.

2. It is starting to feel like Christmas in this not-so-Christian island. The belen at our church looks so beautiful. The blue lights twinkle at night and sing a medley of Christmas songs. I cannot wait to see baby Jesus to complete the nativity scene. The photo was taken when I dropped by the church after my check up to express my gratitude. I also prayed for my brother who celebrated his birthday just recently. I miss you, ahia!

3. Hana, Tin and I scheduled a bonding sesh over sushi and sashimi last Saturday. I love making time for friends and spending a day with them, just talking about our lives, showbiz, and all other things. It was Tin's first time in Addiction Aquatic Development, and first time to eat sushi too! Next time we'll feed her sashimi. We joined our church group's trip to the National Palace Museum right after.

4. The Filipino group in church celebrated an early Christmas party last Sunday. We had a boodle meal and our churchmate Rex led the parlor games which consisted of Cheese Ring Loops Contest, Charades and Pass the Message. It was a joy to see all "ates" having a good time. They deserve moments like this after their long hours of daily work from employers.

5. I finally received my Daykeeper 2016. I cant wait to scribble my thoughts and plans on its pretty pages. Thank you, Doc David for hand-carrying it all the way to Taipei!