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JUST BE HELD

 

It is 8:20 PM, Thailand’s time. I have my fingers set on the keyboard of my computer with only the light from the monitor beaming on my face and the little amount of light coming from the phone of my roommate.

I need to extract something from my mind so I decided to turn this device on after washing dishes; whatever it is remains vague for me at this very moment.

I need to write, that is crystal clear.

It is 8:30; 10 minutes have gone so fast, I can feel one of my temples tingling with pain. I hear a cry. It is louder than the instrumental music I am listening to at this moment. I know it is a cry – something worth listening to, I know where it came from and it’s familiar.

It is 8:37; I decided to listen to it for a couple of minutes. Now I know what to write about.

Three hours back, I caught myself almost jumping around for an overwhelming joy. My Other Half just gave me a present! What’s more is that he gave me what I longed to have even before the transition of this year. He gave me journals! I was too happy that I almost forgot about my other journals waiting to run out of pages. The joy was very much comparable to a wave where it reaches the most exciting heights of it where divers or wakeboard enthusiasts would love to bring themselves into.

And then this type of wave comes, stealing the shining moment of joy — so heavy and so deep. The cry I heard is full of longing, full of aspirations and sated with the deepest yearning of that soul to be with her family. At some point, my very soul was moved; leading my soul to feel her pains and reminisce the times when I was the one crying myself over the same thing. The feeling was so vivid that it actually brought my soul almost to the ocean floor. The wave was so profound and deep-seated.

It is 8:57 PM; the stillness of the current wave is here. I would want to blame my brain for causing these ever changing and easily shifted emotions, which I’m feeling right now. It caused me bliss for a couple of hours and in an instant it took away the glee and brought me discomforts.

Amazingly, playing right in my ear is a song that says

“And when you’re tired of fighting

Chained by your control

There’s freedom in surrender

Lay it down and let it go

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away

You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held

Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place

I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held

Just be held, just be held”

(Portion of the lyrics of Just be held by Casting Crowns)

God is just so good to give us this hope. He’s faithful and true to His promises that He will be with us in every way and in all circumstances.

JUST BE HELD!

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Coffee Diaries: Kick off Week of 2017

How’s the first week of your 2017?
I would say I spent it well.
No overspending.
No oversleeping.
With overeating. Lol (It’s normal for the first week of the year; though I barely know why my weight is fixed in 46.7 kg every time I would step on the scaling platform.)
I dedicated most of those times to my family and friends here in Bangkok and virtually with my immediate family in the Philippines. We went out, shopped (most was window-shopping :P), cooked, ate homemade meals, watched episodic series, rendered service to the church, went bicycling in a known park and threw the mess of 2016 out of our rooms.
I really loved the latter. As a person who has obsessive-compulsive disorder (medically unconfirmed but actions proven lol), I would love to have a fresh environment as this year starts – neatly kept bed adorned with newly changed cover pillows and cottony soft blankets. I love to throw myself into it!
FRESH START! 
How to have it? Most of the messages I heard this week were about it. So here’s what I learned and hopefully I’ll put these into action this year.
First, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”. Some of us are still bondage of our pasts – broken relationships, failed dreams, unattained goals and unconfessed sins. Time may heal the wounds of the past but at some point it doesn’t work at its best because of the condition of the hearts. It only serves as a concealer for the scars of the past. However, God is just so good to inspire us with His promise that regardless of how bad we may have been, we can all come to Him and experience a reset of our lives.
Second, “Keep order in all aspects of your life”Who would ever want to sleep in a room where shoes, bags and used clothes are all over? Who would ever want to look at a laundry basket overflowing with used clothing which are not even properly folded and ruffled? Not my OC-self either. I think what we need is to evaluate ourselves – on how we spent our time, on how we arrange things, on how we decide on varying matters and on the “WHYs” of everything.
Third, and last, “Carry around a grateful heart”Being thankful isn’t just for the good times but also for the towering burdens and the deepest pools of vexations of life. Be thankful in everything, in all circumstances. Thank God for the people around you, for the food on your plate and for the year-old clothes in your closet.
I thank the Lord for this year, for my life and for your lives.
I wish you had the same great kick off. And, I only hope for a good finish, too!
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This Season

Yes, it is this time of the year when carollers with their jingle sticks sing yuletide songs in sequence from this house to that; when public vehicles and public establishments turn on their stereos and start their playlist airing from Rudolph the red-nose reindeer to We wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and to another; when flickering or steady or dancing lights are hanging on the windows, doors, roofs, walls, bushes, trees, light posts, waiting sheds, street walls, just anywhere in everywhere; name it and they have it!; when knitted coats, thick sweaters, wool jackets, long socks and heavy-duty mittens are on sale; when moms and dads would busy themselves panic buy goods and presents for their kids and friends; when… when I find myself on the lap of my dad as we wait for the “adobo” (a famous Filipino pork dish) cooked passionately by mom to partner with our plain white rice and we’ll pray. Then it’s 12 in the midnight, the clock tells us it’s CHRISTMAS DAY!

I’ve been away from my home country for 18 months as an expat and this gave me two Christmas seasons to be celebrated miles away from home – away from the common scenario I usually experienced during this same time of the year.

Nevertheless, the Good Creator just made my second Christmas here in Bangkok, Thailand extra special, but of course, I still long to be with my mom and dad in the Philippines only if I could teleport! How I wish! 😛

Celebrating this year’s Christmas with my friends here in BKK is also one of its kind! Why not? ^^

I think what matters most this season is the condition of everyone’s hearts as we share our joy of partaking the delicately garnished and deliciously prepared food, our genuine smiles and especially our lives as we exchange stories of our past, present and what we hope in the future. I wish that all of us would find that joy which we long to feel and the love we long to feel.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!  MERRY CHRISTMAS! 

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Isaiah 9:6 
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

 

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Coffee Diaries: A Servant’s Psalm

I will sing of Your mercies,

My Lord and My God.

I will sing of Your grace

each day and each night.

I will sing of Your faithfulness

forever and ever.

Heavens will praise Your wonders;

Earth will bow down on Your feet.

For Yours are heavens and the earth

and all its fullness.

To You, my shield belongs.

My armour, You marked

with greatness and power.

In victory, You set my feet.

I will sing “You are Mighty!”

O, Lord, I will

continually sing and always will

for You are Mighty.

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Coffee Diaries: Human Mind

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Whenever I travel, I would always find myself fascinated by works of men – the towering buildings, the exquisitely architectured houses, the statues meeting the zenith line, marbled streetpaths, the dramatic styles of lightposts, the glassware displays on the coffee tables and many others. I’m amazed how these things were just a mere spark of idea turned into tangible proofs of existence! That’s how amazing the human mind can be!

I thank the Creator who caused the human minds to function at its present capability. Indeed, He’s the Author of everything!

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One of Bangkok’s Best-kept Secrets: FANTASIA LAGOON

What should I do for a memorable kick off of my one month break away from the students and the four corners of my classroom? Today is the last day of my work and after this, it’s totally my free day for wanderlust.

Well, I did it perfectly awesome with my crazy friends who fitted perfectly in an escape from normal routine with perfect weather condition (not too hot nor too cold), perfect budget, perfect mood and perfect spot – FANTASIA LAGOON at The MALL – Bangkapi, Bangkok.

I love swimming, especially on fresh waters, I love it to the fullest! I would always have a second thought when friends would drag me to the bodies of water enclosed in a cement and floor tiles. However, swimming pools  and water parks will always have their fascinating charms to attract me.

Who could ever think to actually build a gigantic water park on the roof of a mall?  This Fantasia Lagoon is actually is! I’ve seen it from the outside for several times when we got into the gym just across it but getting into this water park is another story to tell.

We took a 5-minute walk to reach the place and short gaze on a shop where taking selfies cannot be ignored.

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Chloe, the cute baby of the gang, as she took her little strides. ^^

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The FANTASTIC adventure of the shvibzik and equally crazy cool friends! 

Large for such a low entry fee, this water park is divided into several zones which suit all ages – Fantasy Fountain for the youngest, Pirate Cove and the Slider Tower for the more daring, and  Magic Jungle, Mystery Island and Ocean 10 everything in between. Also,  we had fun drifting along the Lazy River. All of these are full of water activities, games and fun features for a splashing fun day.

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Filling up our tummies and bracing up ourselves for all the forms of thrills and fun as we unleash the childlike spirits within! 

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 When the sky is the limit! 

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I’m learning to be brave enough to wear swimsuit just like Chloe! (First timer here 😛 )

I found a perfect escape from the busy city life below. It’s Fantasia Lagoon! It will make you forget that you’re still in Bangkok – unless you’re brave enough to climb to the top of tallest slide and take in the breathtaking views of the city.

I can’t wait until the next wander-lusting! HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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©Most Photos credit to the owner: Kua Dhel ^^
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Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Have you ever experienced being belittled?

Have  you ever been overwhelmed by the imperfections you have?

At some point in my life, I’ve been in this situation.

I grew up building my own Eiffel Tower of Self Confidence. I was one of those who were teased by many people due to some noticeable physical imperfections (in human terms) that I carry from childhood to adulthood. As beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it’s really difficult to match with the varying levels of beauty the world has.

One common fable which really made a huge impact on me, the moment I heard it, is the story of the eaglet who was forced to believe that he was a duck (not demeaning the capabilities of ducks though).

Once, an eagle egg was accidentally mixed up with duck eggs. Even until it was hatched, the mother duck believed that it’s one of her babies. The eaglet grew up together with its made-to-believe siblings, the ducklings. Having the same features such as two legs, two wings, a beak and feathers, the eaglet was enclosed in a belief that he is an ordinary duck which cannot soar high above the clouds. One day, they went to a nearby pond for their usual day-to-day routine. While they were standing by the coast, flocks of full-grown eagles flew by spreading and flapping their strong wings with might. The little eaglet saw them and admire the sight in that instant. He felt a leap in his heart telling him that he could be like them. He told his siblings that he wanted to be like those eagles. However, they dumped his thoughts and discouraged him believing that they are only ducks. Ducks don’t fly in that same heights. Day by day, as they went to the pond to do their daily routine, same flocks of eagles would soar up high and the eaglet would only wish that he could be like them. Yet, it only remained as a desire because he was imprisoned by the thought of “I am only an ordinary duck.”

I don’t want to lose the chance to spread my wings and learn how to fly; to do what it takes ’til I touch the sky.. (these lines sound familiar) unlike that eaglet.

So I climbed out of the walls of “You’re not that beautiful” and ended up on the top of my tower of “I m confidently beautiful with my very humble nose, with my not-so-long legs and with a heart for the LORD.”

However, we don’t need to burden ourselves with the thought of beautifying ourselves to please others’ picky eyes; remember, the Great Creator made us beautifully and wonderfully in His sight.

 

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Psalm 139:14  I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full                                 well.
Song of Songs 4:7     You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

 

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We set foot on a Paradise: Koh Larn

Sit back, relax and allow the ocean waves to wash around you, like music.

For a long while, I’ve been yearning for the salty mist of air and the morning sea breeze breathing on my very skin leaving some unrecognisable particles of sodium chloride (NaCl), shall I say, salt; I long to fill up my ears with the sound of the ocean waves as they run towards and kissed the shore; I long to see the wide blue sky accentuated by changing shapes of picturesque white clouds.

November 12, 2016, a love story reached its first year. It was a couple of months ago when my Other Half planned a trip to a paradise I have never set my feet on – Koh Larn, Pattaya, Thailand – to celebrate our first year anniversary.

It was a fully packed adventure for a day. We only wished we could stay longer.

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While on the ship to Koh Larn, in the middle of the ocean, together with people from different ages and nationalities but with one destination
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Thanks to this man who brought us to the paradise safe and sound.

Breathtaking motorcycle ride… We conquered the island while on wheels!

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The Map!

That scorching heat of the sun, the crystal clear water, the white sand sprinkled with broken shells and weathered stones — Everything beyond words.  

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An aged wooden swing hanged from a tree – I found it romantic. 

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“Lying on the sand, watching seabirds fly…”

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I think this dog smelled the same dog-spirit inside me. 🙂

Matchy-matchy swimming shorts ^^

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Well, the hardest part of this is when the sky told us it’s time to go. On board once more… I’ll see you soon, Koh Larn. Stay untarnished please.

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How wonderful are Your creations, God! I fell in love once more with him and the nature.  

~J i r a h 

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God’s Will: The Best Recipe for Life

I’m living a life full of desires, dreams, goals and plans. Maybe, everyone does too! Everything is marked by my own willing, perceptions and biases. For so many instances, I decided on things and situations based on the extreme of the limits of my understanding with which I experienced things beyond my comprehension.  Preeminently, in all of those decision making, there went a deep Voice who would always remind me of something worth considering. In one of the life-changing decisions I made, that was when I went out of my comfort zone, I was almost drowned in a pool of questions but I was saved by the Voice with a simple answer – “Everything in My Will”.

And from then on, I allowed the Voice to have its way instead of  mine. I lost nothing; instead, I gained!

I’m sharing this journal entry – a life lesson I learnt to live by and hoping that one day the readers of these would be able to dig the diamond out of this.

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Have you ever been asked by God of what you want to do? You might answer “No.” For God doesn’t change His plans to suit our own purposes or plans. Instead, He asks us to adjust our lives to align with His Will.

However, oftentimes we ask God to do the things we want and never ask God whether it is His Will or not. And most of the time, we only demand for something based on our own limited perception of things and situations. But, we should know that it is only God who knows the best for us.

Even when His plan might seem difficult or impossible, there will never be way better than His will. When we trust Him with a cooperative heart, there is no limit to what God can do through our life.

  • What we need to do in order to fully experience His workings:
    • Seek Him in His Word. His presence will saturate our heart, making it sensitive and teachable. The more we get to know who He is in His Word, the more we can understand His ways and will. It is in His word that we’re able to know His good and perfect plans for us.
    • Obediently and promptly respond to whatever God tells us to do. Being a human, we always look for security and benefits in all that we opt to do. We always look for a win-win situation where losing has no place. However, God calls as to obey Him “AT ONCE” without second thought. This, too, measures our level of faith to the One who commanded.
    • Walk in the Spirit moment by moment.By this, I mean, we seek to communicate with the Holy Spirit. Walk in His leadings.
    • Invite the Lord to examine our desires and intentions and change whatever does not fit His purpose or advance His plan for our life.

Following God’s Will often means changing of lifestyle. You may be an ordinary writer but God bring you into an extraordinary platform.

  • Break free from the strongholds in our life.
    • Have faith on the One who would not spare His only Son
    • We must have the willingness to let go of every stronghold which sidetracked us in understanding and living God’s Will. What are these strongholds? It could be our attitude, our relationships, our negative thinking and our judgments.

There are two requirements in following God’s Will – a Broken Spirit and Cooperative Heart. Both are essentially ready to abide and to obey. God can easily work in this area.

Many times, we find it too difficult to follow God’s Will in our lives because following His Will is not to say that the path is easy. But, He assured us that His grace is sufficient.


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Walking in His Will