I’m so excited. I am officially on vacation! While I am far from done with Christmas shopping, I am not stressed at all. In fact, I am so looking forward to celebrating with family and friends. Can’t wait to start getting busy in the kitchen.

Meanwhile, it’s time to thank the Lord for this week.

First on my list, I thank the Lord for our photo exhibit in Church last Sunday. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the Photography Club team. It’s also a privilege to use our talents and our interest for God’s ministry. I am happy that I got to do my part and completed my work on time. There were challenges and lessons learned. I blogged about it here.

I am also happy to see the Peter Pan performance of the Ballet Philippines school. My friend’s daughter performed and we bought tickets to see her. It was a fun experience.

After watching the ballet performance, Ariel and I had dinner at Gaudi. I am grateful for our time together. In the past weeks, we hardly shared a meal at home because Ariel had been working late. I thank God for opportunities like this to go out, chat and have a good time. And I thank God, too, for the resources He has blessed us with so we can afford to go out and enjoy quiet dinners.

On Tuesday, I got a message from my dear cousin Jo-Ann that my niece and goddaughter Jana had been confined in the hospital. I went to visit in the evening and was happy to see Jana up and about, with her dextrose in tow, and being her chatty self. She is just adorable and it’s painful to see her suffer through the hospitalization. Thank God for healing and providing proper healthcare so she can recover.

The Business Intelligence  team had a wonderful lunch at La Cocina De Tita Moning on Wednesday. It is one of my favorite restaurants and on this particular meal, I got to taste a few new dishes. New because I haven’t tried them yet. They are all so good! Specially with red wine. And we had a wonderful time chatting with the team. We also got to take home a bottle each of the famed queso de bola spread. Can’t wait to make some toast at home!

I was also reminded that having celebrated my 5th year in Coke last September, I am entitled to two additional leave days. So I asked HR about it and yes, I got my two extra days! That means I have more time to spend at home or do whatever it is that I want to do this holiday season. I’m officially on vacation by COB today!!! Thank you Lord for unexpected blessings!

My mom and dad also celebrated their 36th wedding anniversary on December 15th. Thank you Lord for my parents and their strong marriage, and partnership in the ministry. May You give them more happy years together and may they touch more lives as they continue to serve You.

Finally, this week’s highlight (which beats the two vacation days by a mile!), is the realization of this dream – scroll to the lower portion of the post that says “On the photography front”. I did it! I enrolled, though not as a full student but as an auditing student (much cheaper!) and I only miss out on the one on one consult plus photo assignment critique. I still get to participate in the class forum and ask my questions. I felt so giddy with excitement after enrolling. And even if this isn’t til end January, it felt like I’ve already ticked off  a major item in my bucket list. It is really a dream (about to) come true! Thank you Lord that Karen Russell opened more slots for auditing students. What a wonderful Christmas gift! And thank you Lord for Ariel whose credit card I used for this transaction.

Written by Alby Laran

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