One word to describe how I felt on my birthday – GRATEFUL. I am grateful not just for the past year but all the years before. I’ve seen God’s faithfulness day in and day out, even when I don’t deserve it.

Ariel and I celebrated 9 years as husband and wife. How can time fly so fast?

This month, I will celebrate my 5th year in my current job. I remember getting THE call 5 years ago. It came at a time when I needed it most. God really has the answer even before we ask for it.

Last July, I joined the Photography Club at our church. I needed to be part of something in church. And it couldn’t be any better than this. I found myself new friends who share my faith. And because of my involvement in the Photography Club, Ariel finally took the plunge and got into photography as well. We now have a hobby that we both love. We participated in our first Basic Photography class, and also joined a class on Lighting. Fun!

Basic Photography with Ross Capili

Over the past five years, scrapbooking has been an important part of my life. It’s a hobby I am most passionate about. And though I cannot spend as much time scrapbooking as I want, I feel that what I have now is just the perfect balance to the other aspects of my life. Through this hobby, I ‘ve been blessed with lots of new friends from all over the world. And it provided me a much needed outlet, where I can express myself and use the creative talent God has given me.

A layout I made in scrapbooking class

I am also thankful that Ariel and I have been “generally” healthy. Well, we both need to lose some weight, but thank God no one’s gotten sick.

We’ve also been blessed to have seen some new places this year – our Palawan trip was just awesome! We also made new friends during that trip. It was a huge blessing to enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and have fun with new found friends, too.

At Majika resort with new friends

Just last week, I attended my first Bible Study at work. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. I am thankful that God placed me in a workplace where there are fellow Christians around me. We already started a prayer chain and agreed to meet twice a month. Again, this is God’s answer to prayer I have not yet spoken. He knows I need this.

There’s just so many things I am thankful for, and this post is not enough to write them all down. Nonetheless, with all my heart, I thank the Lord for everything – all the blessings, all the experiences that brought me to where I am now.

There are so many things I still want to do and experience. I pray that God will bless me with time and resources to fulfill those goals. On top of my list is my desire to serve God in whatever small way I can. I pray for guidance and direction as I seek where He wants to take me. I pray that my hobbies and interests can be used to glorify God and bless other people. Of course, as most of my friends and family know, I also want to be a mom. By God’s grace, I pray that it will happen soon, as I am not getting any younger. I also wish I can be healthier. For the next year, I will try harder to be physically active and to make healthier choices. I want to take my arts and crafts to a new level. Hopefully I can start earning from my hobby. I want to travel and see the world, too. I still have a long bucket list, but if I can just fulfill my top goal – to have the opportunity to serve God – that would be enough.

Finally, I leave you with these words:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Taken Sept 18, 2010 at Sonya’s Garden, Tagaytay

Written by Alby Laran

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