I realized that starting this post early in the week makes it easier for me to remember the things I am thankful for versus writing my gratitute list by the end of the week. Also, if the end of the week happens to be a tough time, it’s even more difficult to think of answered prayers in the past days. So, here I go, back to starting my gratitude post early in the week. If there is one thing in my list of 2011 goals that I want to succeed in, it’s my commitment to blog about my gratitude to God. Without Him, I am nothing, and I have nothing.

Saturday night, I attended my niece’s graduation party. Not as a guest, but as a “professional” photographer. I’ll use the term “professional” loosely as my work is hardly that caliber. But I did get paid, so I consider it my first gig as a “pro” photographer, again, using “pro” loosely here. While I have no immediate plans of really going pro at this point, I am thankful for this opportunity to get my feet wet. I am not particularly crazy about events photography. In fact, if I have anything certain about my future in photography, it would be that I don’t want to go into events. No other reason than me not liking social occasions. Yup, I consider myself a bit anti-social. If I dislike attending parties and other events with more than 15 people, how do you expect me to enjoy shooting in that situation? Anyway, last Saturday was an interesting experience. It wasn’t a huge party which worked well for me. It was a graduation party with about 14 kids in one room, and fewer parents in another room. The kids had fun dancing in their function room while the parents had a blast belting out songs from their era in the other room. I actually enjoyed the party! It was hard taking photos though. It was way too dark for the kind of photography thay I actually like. I had to use my flash most of the time, but I did get a few shots using only the available light in the room. Overall, it was a great experience and I am thankful for the opportunity.

Sunday afternoon, we went to see my travel agent friend so she could look at our documents prior to our French Embassy appointment. She also provided our travel insurance, flight booking certificate and hotel vouchers. I am SO GRATEFUL for Amy’s help. She didn’t even charge us for the extra services beyond the cost of the documents we needed for our visa application. We have been out of touch for years and at a time I needed the help of a travel agent, unexpectedly, we reconnected. I just got an email update from her on some of the travel packages her agency is offering and that got us talking again. Isn’t GOD awesome? He provided before I had to ask!

Monday was THE DAY. We went to our French Embassy appointment. I was a bit wary because of the horror stories I’ve heard but all those horror stories helped me prepare for this day. I made sure our documents are complete – I have two sets of documents in originals and photocopies, both arranged in the prescribed order. While waiting, I noticed that one consul )or whatever it is you call that attendant in the counter) was a little bit grouchy so I prayed that we will be directed to another counter.  Thank God for answered prayers! Then we were told that we can’t leave on the 16th as planned because the results of our application will be released on the 18th, as they require ten working days to process our application. While we were a bit disappointed, we know that God is in control and He has exciting plans for us. Hello! He answered our prayers and we got our UK Visal, and He provided a travel agent to help us for free! Things can only get better!

I am also grateful for the 2-day workshop that I attended. It’s about Digital Media and was very interesting and engaging. I am grateful to be employed in a company that provides opportunities for learning and professional growth. 

We attended the Tuesday service at our Church. There was a film showing by CBN Asia (700 Club) and it was great! We were blessed by the testimonies featured in the documentary movie. It was our first time to go on a Tuesday night and I am thankful we came. I was blessed with the fellowship, the worship, the message. I will go next Tueday and hopefully, more Tuesdays after that.

On Wednesday night, I met up with some of my friends from my Unisearch days (Gabs, Grace and Gen) for dinner. As usual, we had a blast. We shared a lot of stories, laughed so hard, ate a lot and just had a great time. I thank God for friends and for opportunities to get together and catch up on each other’s lives. What a blessing!

I am on my 3rd week going to the gym and meeting up with my personal trainer. It had been fun, so far. It’s quite difficult for me physically because I had never been really active and I’m so out of shape. Thankfully, my trainer knows when to push me and when to stop. I’m actually enjoying it! Good decision to enroll in a gym and even better decision to get a PT. I’m very thankful for the resources that allow me to invest in my physical health. Hopefully, I’ll start seeing results soon.

Tonight we drove along the newly opened highway from Coastal Road to Kawit. It was fast! We probably saved at least 20 minutes of driving time by taking this road. I am grateful to see some tax money in action and actually benefit from it.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Written by Alby Laran

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