They say life begins at forty. I turned 40 last September 18th. But my story doesn’t begin there. It began more than forty years ago. Psalm 139: 13-16 says:

13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit them together in my mother’s womb. 14 Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! It is amazing to think about. Your workmanship is marvelous—and how well I know it. 15 You were there while I was being formed in utter seclusion! 16 You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!

The Bible says that even before I was born, God already knew me. My life is carefully planned. I have a purpose. I am God’s special creation. That is why He has been faithful to me all these years. Even during times when I wasn’t feeling particularly close to him. I have seen His presence in my life. I have experienced His guidance. He has blessed me with opportunities to learn and grow. Even when there are times that He seemed to have closed doors for me, I saw that it was because He has better plans for me.

So, as I turn 40, I celebrate God’s faithfulness in my life. I thank Him for all the blessings. I thank Him for difficulties that help build my character. I thank Him for His patience, when my heart seems to wander away from His. I thank Him for surrounding me with people who pray for me, who encourage me, and who stick by me through the best of times, and the most difficult hours.

I took time off from work from September 17-21. On my the first day of my break, I spent the day pampering myself. But first, I had to do my Physical Therapy routine.


Then I went to Piandre for my head to toe beauty routine. After my usual beauty services at Piandre, I want to Make Up Forever for a makeover, and some makeup shopping. Then I tried Eyelash Extension for the very first time, at Stylash in Landmark. I felt fabulous!

On my actual birthday, I woke up early as usual, to go to my PT session. My therapist’s name is Nife and she’s wonderful. She also celebrated her birthday this month, last September 14th.

My PT session usually starts with a 5 minute ultrasound on my ankles. It is followed by a 20 minute cold compress with electric pulses. Do you love my toe polish? 

At noon, Ariel and I went to Heat for my birthday lunch. 

The waiters sang for me.

And they gave me a birthday cake.

In the evening, Ariel and I attended our Care Group meeting. They gave me a warm birthday celebration. This year, I consider it one of God’s big blessings to me to be finally part of a couple’s care group.

We played some games, too.

On Saturday, we celebrated my birthday with a lunch gathering at Oriental Plate. My friend Angela’s family owns the restaurant. She dropped by to give me her gift.

I am so happy that my cousin Aivi and her kids made it to my lunch party. I don’t see them often and I’m glad they made time for my special day.

My friend Karen and her family also came. Her hubby Ian and daughter Isabela joined us. Too bad her eldest daughter, Yana, wasn’t able to make it as she has ballet rehearsal that day.

Happy, too, that my BFFs are there – Candy and my cousin, Jo-Ann.

My reliable yayas, Annie and Loida, were also part of the celebration.

Ariel’s family came. This is my sister-in-law, Brenda.

These are Ariel’s nephew, Lowell, and his girlfriend, Rheanna.

My parents-in-law also came.

I was blessed to celebrate with our pastor and his wife – Raymund and Didith Ladao.

My Ninong Juanito didn’t make it, but my Ninang Nora (mom’s youngest sister) came. My nephew, Riley, joined the photo.

My mom and dad were there, too. I’m happy to celebrate with them.

I’m happy that Ate My, my cousin, and her hubby Nonie came.

These are my nephews – Nathan and Nirel, and niece, Gail. I’m glad that Nirel made it. He was supposed to have a class but it got cancelled.

My cousin Ate Ezel (Gail’s mom) made it, but sad that her hubby Gary wasn’t there.

My cousin and BFF Jo-Ann came with hubby Alfred, and daughter Jana.

My cousin Jojo came with his preggy wife (yey!), Richelle, and son, Riley.

Ariel’s younger brother, Max, is taking a vacation from his work in the UAE. I’m glad he was part of our celebration together with his family – wife Charity, and sons (l-r)Joaquin, Carlo and Joc.


Here’s another photo with the girls.

My cousin, Kuya Dennis, and his fiancee, Suzeth, came, too.

Cousin love – my brother, Emman, and his wife, Emelyn, (seated at the center) made it!

Cousins on my dad’s side of the family

I opened my gifts when we got home later in the afternoon.

The following day, Ariel and I checked in at Hyatt City of Dreams. First order of the day, buffet lunch!

In the evening, we went to the Club lounge for cocktails.

We checked out the next day. That ends my extended celebration! It was a great break, and I am grateful for the blessings – beautiful weather, relaxed schedule, time with family and friends. Can’t get any better than that!

Written by Alby Laran

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