Xenia in Pampanga 

Xenia is the name of the hotel I’m staying in at Clark, Pampanga. According to Wikipedia: Xenia is the ancient Greek concept of hospitality, the generosity and courtesy shown to those who are far from home and/or associates of the person bestowing guest-friendship.

Xenia is the exact same thing I’ve experienced here in Pampanga when our kind, beautiful inside-out (you can tell from her countenance) and hospitable Purser, Ma’am Ella Hizon treated us for lunch at Everybody’s Cafe, the home of authentic Kapampangan Cusine. We were too hungry that I wasn’t able to take photos of the food anymore. I had garlic shrimp and fish while my crewmates ate 🐸 frogs and crickets (eww lol).😋
After having lunch, Purser Ella welcomed us to their beautiful heritage home in the city of San Fernando. It’s sooo lovely and sooo neat.😭 I want a home like this too one day. 

Another Xenia experience I had was when I met the cutest hospitable dog, Penny! My gosh. I’m not kidding, she’s the first and only dog who is able to lick my face like this. I’m not really much into pets but Penny is an exception, she’s just as nice as her masters (Ma’am Ella and her family). I even got to have a photo shoot with her in their classic-classy-clean bathroom. 

Oh Penny!!! I love and miss you already!!!😿 If only I could take you home. 
These are some of the many nice things happening in my life lately. Mind you, that’s just a few hours of the many lovely days. God is so good. I pray that He continues to pour out His blessings of joy&serenity to the lives of His hospitable servants, like Ma’am Ella. Bible says in Hebrews 13:2 not  to neglect to show hospitality to strangers. I also pray that I would increase in love through hospitality. 

I’m ending this blog with these wise words of Peter: His divine power has given us everything required for life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. By these He has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desires. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with goodness, goodness with knowledge, knowledge with self-control, self-control with endurance, endurance with godliness, godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they will keep you from being useless or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.2Peter 1:3-8

Let’s persevere in acquiring these qualities. By God’s grace, may we live out this faith we have pleasing the Lord by being kind to one another. Have a blessed week ahead people of Jesus! Xx 

Do Not Underestimate Grace: TRUE LIFE 2016

Do not underestimate what the Lord can do? I did, shame on me. This is the ultimate lesson the Lord taught me the past 3days. Before the True Life Retreat, I was very hesitant to come. You know the ego of a ‘leader’? I had that feeling. I’d ask God, “do I really have to go through this and be a ‘participant’? Should I not be volunteering instead? I’ve done something similar with it before. What else is new to learn?”  What made it even more horrible is that I didn’t really promote it to the ladies I’m leading when my dgroup leader asked me to. In my head was this false belief and compartmentalization of the process of accepting Christ. I’d tell myself that I won’t put much effort on inviting my girls to this one because I’m originally not from CCF and their growth must be with my original church, which is Victory. I knooow. It’s stupid, lame, controlling, unfaithful to the church of Jesus Christ. In 1 Corinthians 1:10 Paul says: I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. Boom! Professional Sinner alert. I repented. 

The humbling didn’t end there. Nakakahiya talaga but I have to expose my sins. First time in my life (and hopefully the last too), I was standing doing praise and worship on the 1st day and the 1st session of the retreat, I almost fell from a still position because… I was falling asleep. Now I call myself a leader? I started worrying cause I began to recognize that I wasn’t acting okay, there was something wrong but I didn’t know exactly what to pray for. And then I took a nap, when I woke it felt different already. My heart changed on the 2nd session onwards. I had a teachable heart. The testimonies of the speakers would hit me hard, the scriptures I’ve read before felt so new to my ears and peirced my heart as the pastors utter it. I felt like an intense sinner all over again who needed saving. Seriously, I had to repent bigtime for my ugly heart. I cried it out to Him. He humbled my heart again.

Despite my disgusting pride, here’s what He did. My words are not enough to express it. Let the photos speak for itself. 


Hallelujah. He is King. I pray that He breaks my heart and everything filthy in it, that He breaks it for what breaks His. I thank Him for the overflow of wisdom, joy, laughter, tears He poured out to me (once again) on a higher level. Learning doesn’t end, humbling doesn’t end, for my idea of His love for humanity can never fully grasp how much He does. I thank Him for my friends, my brothers and sisters that were part of the retreat in 3 solid days of pruning and strengthening. I am in awe. Jesus, thank You. You give us more grace to stand against such evil desires, You opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble, James 4:6 

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments and untraceable His ways! 💜:)

Appreciating Women ;)

  1. Spontaneous bike ride with my coustrend (cousin-sister-friend) Jazmin, and best friends since high school Quennie and Patricia A.
  2. With Ate Monica, Kris and Kris’ discipleship group during Leaders’ Appreciation day in our church
  3. Sunday catch up over dessert and prayer time before worship service with Patricia E.
  4. Photo-sesh with Quennie at the wall of a pizza place hehe
  5. My NFF (new found friends) Issa and Micah, while working at a coffee shop
  6. With sweet and pretty Aya for a video shoot
  7. With Janelle, Miss Ann and Issa for a video shoot
  8. and 9. More photos with Quennie 🙂

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And a photo with my Monday Fellowship Group 🙂

It’s been weeks of spending lots  of quality time with WOMEN. You’d probably ask, “So? What’s the big deal?”. Well, to me, it is a huge matter. I’m used to being around women naman, I have a lot of girl friends, pero before was a bit different. There’d be times when I would find it soooo hard communicating myself with other women, and understanding them too, it was caused mostly by my insecurities. I would feel awkward opening up to them, I’d only pick a few I could share my life to not because they’re the only ones I trust but because it wasn’t easy for me to open myself up to others. I had the fear of getting judged. I was imprisoned by the ‘image mentality’ I invented in my head which is a total nonsense. I’d build walls, choose my friends, distant myself. There would be times though that I want to befriend and get close with just any woman but intimidation and hesitation would eat me up.

In high school, most of my friends/classmates I’d consider as my closest friends were men. I had a guy best friend, na tipong kausap ko palagi over the phone -aka- telebabad na umaabot ng midnight, and I became close with a few more na guys din. My thinking kasi before was with men walang competition, walang arte, I wouldn’t feel judged with whatever stories I’d share. Pero grabe what the Lord made me comprehend recently. I am now able to recognize that the idea of me being more close with guy friends (because I thought that’s just the way I am) was a lie. See, ang kasinungalingan and walang sense na mga bagay begin in the cranium talaga most of the time. So pray that we’ll be sharp and careful with what we impose to ourselves. In my case, I covered up the truth of me being fearful and insecure with the stupid idea na guys ang closest friends ko.

Now na naliberate na ako sa TRUTH that I can enjoy my friendship with women pala, I’m super dooper delighting in it! As in. Honestly, parang this year ko lang talaga naappreciate my friendship with women, ang saya pala. Walang hassle kasi you can hang anywhere public/private and hindi ka maiissue that you have a ‘thing’ or you’re ‘dating’ the other person, no need to guard my heart, I can share whatever I wanna share to them! And they would understand me way better than a man would. Sorry if ang cheesy ko ah, pero I really am just happy now that I’m getting even more close with my girl friends, with the right perspective this time. Parang ang dami ko din kasing possible friendship na nasayang dahil sa crooked beliefs ko before so I’m making it up to the friendships that could be formed and elevated.

It’s not that I’m not going to keep any guy friends anymore, I just simply don’t want to have any guy best friend unless he will be my FUTURE HUSBAND. Medyo madami na din kasi akong naging atraso sa future husband ko (because of the weird friendships I built with men) kaya now is the perfect time for me to make bawi para naman worth it for him to wait for me, diba? The Preserved & Reserved for the One who Deserves Movement! Nux. Hahaha. I’m serious though. 😉

Going back, so this is one of the many new things Jesus has taught and granted my life. Ibang klase talaga mga realizations with the Lord. Common sense kung tutuusin pero dahil nga sinful nature tayo, grace lang talaga Nya ang makakapag-correct ng mga palpak/fail na bagay in this crazy planet. Haiii Lord, buti nalang mahal mo ako! I love you too! ❤

And thank you for the gift of friendship and womanhood! 😀

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. -Proverbs 15:22

Not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near. – Hebrews 10:25

 

A job I don’t complain about

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Yay! An answered prayer this week! I’ve been praying for gigs because I’ve missed modeling, and I’m thankful that He gave me one immediately. The day before I went to the taping of My Fair Lady, a show in TV5, I was very excited and I prayed for so much grace and energy because I knew I was only going to get a few hours of sleep, I slept at 1AM, woke up at 4AM for a 6AM calltime in Novaliches, the taping was packed up at about 2AM the next day. I practically worked for almost 24 hours but I couldn’t complain. I asked for it. Plus, I highly enjoyed doing it.

I played as a model for a fashion show competition of Jasmine Curtis.

FullSizeRender 4It was my first time to wear a wedding gown for a show, and it was really heavy! I hope my future marriage will give me the opposite feeling. Hehe.  FullSizeRender 5

The awkward bride’s smile. 😀

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At the dressing room with my co-models and Phoemela Beranda, playing as the show’s host.

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I’ll be very honest here, since my entire blog is themed as a “no pressure” blog, what I meant with no pressure is to “be still”, and with being still comes being comfortable, being yourself, knowing what you want, doing it, and trusting Him above all on areas in my life that may still be a blur. I kind of appreciate my writing now, despite the inconsistencies of my feelings, I still feel accurate and positive about this page because I know He’s the One mentoring and molding me as I write and release all these ideas and thoughts.

So here’s the highlight of my honesty. (That was a long introduction hahaha). It has always been my dream to be in the show business industry. And this time, I’m sure that I really want it. And I won’t be shy about it anymore. I don’t know if a big break will ever come but at this moment, I am okay doing tiny gigs like this one. I want to perform well at whatever will be on my plate. I want to observe and learn more things, of course not just on the aspect of entertainment but also on the spiritual side of it. I always-always-and-FOREVER believe that God is the orchestrator of everything, my shows and gigs are always on His’ call. It’s up to Him to give and take away.

Point is, I guess if He will give me my beauty queen dreams, I’d definitely be glad. If He wants me to be an actress, that’s fine too. Or maybe to be a movie director, a scriptwriter, a marketing manager, I won’t complain. I like any of it – – – for as long a s I have His’ peace and His’ joy, for His’ Name’s sake, I’ll do it!

Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Your heart must not be troubled or fearful. – John 14:27

Wow. Such a treasure statement! It’s like a password to success, a cracked code! He does not give what the world gives. He’s the only one capable of handing us peace, serenity, tranquility! So there’s no more rushing in running after our dreams, no more short cuts, or even complacency. We just keep our eyes on Him, trust His’ timing, follow His’ ways, and we will never complain about our lives. We won’t be troubled or fearful. We just do our part, and do it the best way we can to GIVE HIM GLORY.

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So yeah. This is a job I ultimately cannot and do not complain about: to enjoy His’ gloriousness in my life and see it in the lives of the ones I love and the people He makes me encounter each and every single day. To have this peace in my heart, be always grateful and thankful for the blessings He has for me. Even in the long periods of waiting, I will hear Him, I will see things beautifully, I will actively and passionately be pursuing Him and searching for Him in every task I get, because I can do all things through CHRIST who STRENGTHENS ME. You can too! We are all given the same privilege, go ahead take & enjoy yours! Take Christ! ❤

Season: Sick, Healed and Restored

So I thought It was just a regular fever, I was wrong. I had DENGUE FEVER. And for lack of a better word, well, dengue is a b*tch, excuse my impoliteness. It was a 1 week sick ride. My on and off fever started on Saturday, had my check up and confirmed it was dengue Wednesday morning, went to 3 different hospitals near my area only to find out they couldn’t admit me because the rooms are full and most of the cases of the patients’ sickness are the same as mine. I went to Medical City but after an hour of waiting for laboratory tests, they advised me to go home because my platelet count increased (cause of the Tawa-Tawa tea I drank according to my Yaya’s theory). But the morning later it gone worse, I got red spots allover my body, really bad head & stomach ache, and heavy eyes. These are some of the symptoms of dengue. Thursday afternoon, I finally got admitted to Lourdes Hospital in Manila, referred by my boss who also had her child admitted there because of the disease.

Let me tour you to how a single mosquito bite crazily inflicted and affected my life for a week:

So these were the spots I had. I also had some on my legs.
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In the emergency room, feeling sad.

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Thank God I’m not that afraid of multiple injections, they had to get my blood samples a lot of times to monitor my platelet count. They call it complete blood count aka CBC test.

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In the Xray room, had my chest examined.

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I thought ultrasound was just for pregnant women, they had to do this to me because my stomach ache wouldn’t go away. They found out that my gallbladder expanded which they assumed was effect of dengue, but they said normally it should’ve been the liver that’s affected.

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And so they injected this antibiotic into my dextrose.

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My thoughts were going wild on my 1st night in the hospital. I was getting paranoid and I couldn’t help but ask God why He was allowing that sickness to happen to me. My emotion was eating me up, thinking about the hospital bills, the things I’m missing out at work, my family, my diet plans that I would mess up and a whole lot of crazy worries which apparently weren’t from the Lord. One night as I do my devotion, I believe the Holy Ghost pointed me to this verse: “May the God of hope fill you with joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13. I don’t know, but for some reason I felt empowered when I read and meditated on this passage. Plus, He gave me practical reasons to hope. I have my prayer warriors, Kris, Ate Mitch, Alyanna, Tita Iris, Ate Monica, Issa, Miss Ann and more! My family in the USA and in Singapore are providing for my hospital bills, while my Tita Naning lend me an advance fee.

My beloved yaya, Ate Tas took care of me from day1 until I got discharged. She was my entertainer, my runner, my personal nurse, my prayer partner! I love her!

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Who said I wouldn’t be able to have a Halloween Costume Party this year? Surprise! Steffi and Tasha visited me in cutie Batman and Snake costume. They brought some donuts and prayed for me.

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Ate Mitch and Kuya Em also came to visit and passionately prayed for me. We even had a small Bible Study session, they shared to me today’s church preaching on having JOY by choosing to be led by the Spirit and pursuing righteousness. I also miraculously felt the Spirit’s healing when Ate Mitch touched my stomach, the heavy pain I had disappeared when she laid her hands on me, as in gone, no more, and I could breathe well now. I have never experienced Jesus Christ this way before. In this season, He is my Jehovah-Rapha, indeed! And what moved me with the prayer of Kuya Em, that’s been impressed to him by the Lord: that I do not have to do anything, neither to prove anything, that I can simply delight in His’ presence, that I just need to continue to seek Him first and all shall be added unto me. It was an amazing reminder, and it really liberated my heart and my mind from thinking too much. I am full of joy. I love this couple!

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Next, came my beautiful-clever-cheesy-cousin! And she also came with a surprise! It’s overwhelming. =’)

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Some of the blessings I received in my season of being healed from dengue and being healed in Spiritual and Emotional aspects weren’t captured by the camera. Like my Kuya JP and Kuya Loi’s efforts, my family who didn’t stop interceding for me, my Crazy/Beautiful and Fellowship Viber groups. And more and more things I wanna share, like my birthed desire in praying for the sick because I have experienced suffering from sickness myself. And I have graciously learned to rejoice and be glad in it.

Maybe this is what they call the unexplainable joy. I want to own and inflict this for the whole month of November, for the rest of the year and for the rest of my life.

“And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace. Your suffering is over.” Mark 5:34 It shall be done according to my faith. I am healed and restored in the name of Jesus. 🙂 

So Sick ='(

IMG_8250I have come to accept and embrace that I really am an overly emotional being, and I no longer want to treat it as a weakness. The more I try to suppress it, the more it gets worse. So just be it, right? I’ll use it for my writing instead. Perhaps some lives may be touched as I keep on being true to my emotions.

IMG_8336IMG_8335Yesterday, I woke up with a really really bad head ache, and my temperature was so high. I had high fever. I told my family right away cause I wanted an immediate healing. I asked for their prayers, and they gave me the sweetest replies. I was crying while I was reading it all. I don’t know. I must miss them soooo much. I hope to see them soon. I pray that God will finally grant me a visa to the U.S.A. next year. A friend of mine just got her Canadian Visa approved and we’ve prayed for it for more than a year. If it could happen to my friend, I guess it’s not so bad to pray for a US Visa for myself too. Missing my family should be a valid reason, right? More than 10years of not seeing my parents (and some of my siblings) must be long enough for me to wait and finally have my prayers granted. So yeah, I’m boldly praying for a US Visa next year. Lord, will you please answer my prayer? Pretty please?

FullSizeRender 4The last time I was sick, I expected to be taken care of but I just got frustrated. Since then, I decided that I’ll try as much as I could to be the one to take care of myself, so I prayed hard yesterday, took some meds and be well rested to get well swiftly, and not rely on anyone for help. Here goes her prideful and bitter heart again haha. But God loves me so much, He gave me someone who truly cares for me. He gave me Ate Tas, she bought me medicines, massaged me, wiped my body with warm water w/ alcohol, got me fruits and milk to eat, she was my nurse the whole day, today. And I am sooo thankful for her life. I feel guilty for failing at being nice to her at times, and I hope I get to value her as much as she values and takes care of me. ='( I love you Ate Tas. You may never be able to read this but thank you so much for being my superhero at my most vulnerable state.

Growing up without my parents, I’ve been independent and blessed for not being prone to sickness. But when I get sick, it’s bad, and it feels really sad huhu. Funny and ironic cause the state of my health now is similar with what I’ve read lately in my savored book, Captivating: that it’s okay to be vulnerable, to be weak. So I’m trying to enjoy this weak feeling even if I don’t like it. My flesh and my heart may fail, but Jesus is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. And again, because of that, I rejoice in my weakness!

IMG_8284Another thing that kept me happy and sad today is my addiction to JaDine love team. Since I couldn’t go out and attend a church service, I stayed in my room the entire day and spent a few hours watching their videos on YouTube. I really like the chemistry of James Reid and Nadine Lustre. I find their acting so natural, plus they both could dance and sing. I even memorized some of their songs already, watched their 1st movie (Diary Ng Panget) on YouTube, watched 2 of their other movies (Talk Back And You’re Dead and Para Sa Hopeless Romantic) in the cinema. I also like that they don’t lie to the public about their relationship status, that they really are just friends in real life. Honesty is everything! It’s freedom! Must be the reason why they’re so effective with their acting. What made me sad then? It’s the feels I got when I watched one of their music videos: Say You’ll Never Go. Hahahaha. Again, I am not going to be sorry for being emotional. My blog, my prerogative.

But just to be very honest, of course I do not like feeling sad (duh) but I believe going through all roller coaster emotions are part of the process of my molding as a Christian. I will surely look back at these writing one day and see a completely different person. For now, this is who I am, this is how I feel. For now, I may be weak, I am free to be weak. But in time, it’s gonna be a different me reading these posts. He’s changing me from glory to glory. He’s continuously sanctifying me. And the sadness, it will pass. And again, because of Him, I rejoice in my weakness!

=’)

Caption It

The photos below were taken last month for LAE Swimwear (@laeswimwear) Summer 2015 Collection. Make up and styling done by: Lei Ponce, photographed by: Bella Morcen of The Creative People (@thecreativepeople_ph).

I’ll come up with a caption for every photo and share my thoughts on them.
IMG_4148“Prisoner”, sometimes I feel like I know the direction I want to take. I know that the narrow path is the right path. But I’d choose to be a prisoner inside my comfort zone, fearful of failure, intimidated by the world, discouraged for me to move in an unpredictable and uncontrollable ways. I have so much fears crippling in my heart, like what if I lose my faith, what if God doesn’t answer my prayers, what if I back slide? The fears imprison me. I’ve been like this since I was a child. In my elementary days I would always have a class recitation moment where in the teacher would ask a question and I’d feel like I know the answer but I wouldn’t raise my hand because I’m scared it might not be the right answer, so I’d settle to being silent and not be corrected, then one of my classmates would be called by the teacher and utter the answer that’s in my head, and it’s right, and I would regret not taking the risk of answering. I don’t want to be a prisoner to my fears anymore. I want to be strong and courageous, not afraid or terrified of anything. I want to always believe that the Lord goes with me, and whether I fail to be right or not, He will never leave nor forsake me.
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“Doubts” are products of lack of trust, and trust is something that we work on for our doubts to go away and for us to have joy inside out. I think the best way to eliminate doubts is through faith, because faith is believing that the things you may not see at the moment may occur one day. It’s being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see. James 1:5-8 says: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. Ouch! This is very evident to me, when I doubt I become double-minded, unstable and indecisive of what I should do. I don’t want to be doubtful. I want to believe in faith that all the Lord’s promises will come to pass. 
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“Over thinking” I’m guilty of this for I have the usual tendency to over analyze things. I can’t seem to grasp fully that I shall not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, I shall present my requests to God, that He will not put me to shame, that my labor for Him isn’t in vain. In whatever event I may encounter, I shall allow the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, to guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus. Transcend=go beyond the range or limits=exceed=beat=outshine -> this is the kind of peace I want.
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I want to turn from evil and do good, to seek “peace” and pursue it. I know I can make as much plans as I want for my life, and there’s nothing wrong with planning. What makes it wrong is when I over dwell on the planning and forget the sole purpose of all my plans. Many are the plans I have in my heart, but it will always be His’ purpose that will prevail. Attaining my goals will only be possible if I keep His’ peace that is beyond anything I’m conscious of, anything that I will ever be able to understand. And even if I get to the point where in I have already attained “some” of the promises I dreamed of having, even if I get to a level of intense maturity, I will never be bright enough, I will never be victorious enough for I must constantly be reminded that my life exists not for the matter of achieving my goals and having all my plans fulfilled. I do exist for the purpose of the One who puts me into existence, to stay at peace and satisfied in Him. In this world, I will never get to the place where I want to be for my human flesh will always be hungry for more, but God offered me a better option, it’s not wanting, but being. Pursuing peace is being peace, pursuing success is choosing to be successful right now, pursuing love is being love itself today, everyday.
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And with all these I speak “freedom”. I may or may not attain what I envision my life to be, I may be good enough, or may never be enough. I may be fearful, doubtful and anxious. My flesh and my heart may fail, but it doesn’t really matter, for I can freely live in the truth that He is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. The Lord will always be after my heart’s condition. He is the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end of anything that ever existed, that exists and that are yet to come to existence in this planet. That truth alone shall lead me to freedom, to not fear, not doubt and not worry. For He’s got me, He loves me packaged with all my flaws and imperfections. Always have, always will.
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His’ love for me is like the lyrics of the song White Flag by Dido:
I know you think that I shouldn’t still love you,
Or tell you that.
But if I didn’t say it, well I’d still have felt it where’s the sense in that?
I promise I’m not trying to make your life harder
Or return to where we wereI will go down with this ship
And I won’t put my hands up and surrender
There will be no white flag above my door
I’m in love and always will be
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His’ love for me never fails, never gives up and never runs out.