How I Do My Daily Catholic Devotion

When I was in college, my classmates used to ask me, “Are you really Catholic? I’ve never seen an active Catholic before.” (By active, they meant active participation in the parish aside from attending the Mass every Sunday.) I smiled because this had been one of the misconceptions about Catholic Youth.
 

There’s no wrong in attending the Mass but…

When asked about their religion, most of the young ones will answer that they are Catholic. But, most of them are not practicing their faith. They attend the Eucharistic Celebration or Holy Mass every Sunday. That’s it. But, joining the events in the parish, consistent Bible reading, active evangelization, and parish-based activities are not in their mind. Some are not aware of it and some ignore it. But, aside from these activities, what is more important is building an authentic personal relationship with God even outside the church.
I currently belong to Evangelization as Biblical Apostolate, and Youth Ministry, as vice-coordinator. I also serve in the diocese through Social Communications. I have extended my service through writing books for the youth under St. Paul’s Publications. I help our parish with some fundraising events, too!
 

It does not end here.

But, you know what, my purpose in the parish does not end with activities. Through these, God teaches me to even serve more. All of us never get tired in serving, and that’s the work of the Holy Spirit. We are not that perfect, but we strive to be worthy of being called God’s servant. But we do not stop with these.
 
So, what’s my point? Through these activities, I’ve found time to do my own devotion. (A personal relationship, some say.)
 

Here’s my daily Catholic devotion.

I start with the sign of the cross and head straight to my study table. There, I pray and open the most special books in my life. Bible, Bible Diary, Didache Youth, and Straight from the Heart.

 
These books are so helpful for young Catholics. I am almost finished reading the New Testament in the Bible. I highlight the most striking verses or write them in my journal. (I did this when I was still a student. I had plenty of time before. L) But, aside from journaling, reading these devotionals are helpful. Here’s how I do it.

 
First, I open up my Bible Diary. For 2017, I am reading 365 Days with the Lord of St. Paul’s. For 2018, our Spiritual Directress has given me Bible Diary published by Claret. It’s available in National Bookstore. After checking the daily bible reading, psalm, and the gospel, I proceed in reading some notes from Didache Youth. This is published by Kerygma Books. It’s also available in NBS. Then, I read my morning prayers through Straight from the Heart. This is published by St. Paul’s. It usually takes me 5-10 minutes to do everything. I guess you can also find time for this morning routine.

It is never too late to start your devotion!

Catholic Faith always reminds us to build a personal relationship with the Lord. It encourages us to be closer to Him through untiringly serving in the parish, and not just by attending the Mass every Sunday. It’s never too late to serve in your parish. It’s the right time to inquire and to take part in these life-changing activities.
 
Do you have your own morning devotion? How do you do it? Share your thoughts. 🙂


Yours in Christ,
Kim
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Petmalung Fake News, Mga Lodi!

TAYTAY, RIZAL – Galak na galak ang mga estudyanteng hindi ginaganahang mag-aral dahil suspendido ang klase sa Lunes. Magkakaroon sila ng oras para mag-scroll down ng kanilang Facebook newsfeed. Makakapag-post sila sa “My Day” feature ng Facebook na katulad lang rin ng Instagram Stories.

Nang sumunod na araw, suspendido ulit ang klase dahil sa transport strike ng mga driver ng jeepney na malapit nang ma-phase out. Kagaya noong isang araw, masaya ang mga estudyanteng hindi pumasok sa paaralan. Wala silang ideya kung bakit nagkaroon ng strike ang mga jeepney drivers. Hindi sila pamilyar sa modernisasyon ng pampasaherong jeepney na parte. Ang mahalaga sa mga estudyanteng ito, suspendido ang klase. Wala silang baon, pero at least, may oras silang mag-post ng mga kadramahan nila sa buhay. Privileged sila para magsulat ng pribado nilang buhay.

Kinabukasan, si Maria ay dahan-dahang nagbabasa ng mga status ng kaibigan niya sa Facebook na hindi naman talaga niya kilala. Sa blue at puting window ng screen siya nakatingin. Katulad ng ibang teenager, natatawa siya sa mga trending video. Pinipindot niya ang share kung may bashers ang kilalang artistang si Xander Ford na dating si Marlou. Syempre, hindi niya maiwasang hindi magbigay ng komento dahil entitled siyang ibahagi ang kaniyang saloobin dahil may koneksyon siya sa Internet at kaya niyang magbayad nito buwan-buwan. Isang nakakatawang meme rin ang nakita niya tungkol sa mga may potential na Senior High School Students. Binahagi niya rin sa friends niya. Samantalang, isa pamilyar na larawan ang nakita niya sa mumunting window niya sa phone—ang anunsyong WALANG PASOK BUKAS. #WalangPasok dahil sa anunsyo ng Malacanang via isang credible news source online.

Hindi niya binasa ang caption ng larawan. Agad niyang ibinahagi ang larawan online at hindi na muling tinignan ang comments at reaction. Nagsulat siya sa caption ng na-share niyang photo. “Yes! Wala na namang pasok bukas mga lodi!” Syempre, maraming nag-like ng larawang binahagi niya. Ang mga ito ay estudyante rin na kagaya niya ay privilege mag-post nang walang tigil sa social media. Hindi pumasok si Maria kinabukasan. Hinanap si Maria ng kanyang guro noong araw na iyon.

Sa isang side ng internet world, kilalanin si Jose, isang binatang hindi sigurado sa relihiyon. Nag-share siya ng isa pang photo ng kilalang Katolikong Obispo sa Pilipinas. Hindi niya matanggap na ang kilalang Obispo ay magpapahayag ng masasakit na salita tungkol sa mga magigiting na sundalong lumalaban sa gawing Mindanao. May hinanakit siya sa simbahang Katoliko dahil marami sa canon ng simbahan ay hindi tugma sa napili niyang kasarian. Ibinahagi niya ang larawan sa Facebook at samu’t saring simpatiya ang natanggap niya sa comment section ng larawan mula sa mga kaibigan niya sa komunidad na kinabibilangan niya. Napuno siya ng simpatiya at awa para sa nasabing Obispo pero nanaig pa rin ang dismaya niya dahil sa mga salitang nasabi nito. Naging mas sigurado siya na hindi na siya muling babalik pa sa nasabing relihiyon.

Hanggang ngayon ay patuloy pa ring nagkakaroon ng imbestigasyon ang mga tahimik na nakakabasa ng mga larawang binahagi ni Jose at Maria. Pawang ang mga larawan ay nagsasalamin sa mga privileged na kabataang hindi na napaglaanan ng oras ang pagbabasa. Hanggan ngayon ay inaalam pa rin ang dahilan kung bakit may katulad pa rin nila ang nagiging instrumento ng pagpapakalat ng mga fake news. Mga lodi, maaaring isa kang Jose at Maria lalo pa’t kung hindi ka nagbabasa ng mga caption ng larawang binabahagi mo. Maaari kang maging sila kung hindi mo pa binabasa ang source ng balitang binabasa at pilit mong binibigyan ng reaksyon.

 

Fake News ba? May magagawa ka!

Una sa lahat, wala pang nakitang fake news na nailathala sa tradisyonal na media. Pangalawa, wala pa ring fake news na nakita noong bago pa lang ang social media platform na Facebook. Nagsimula ang paglaganap ng fake news gamit ang hindi credible na accounts sa social media platforms at pati na rin ang mga websites na mukhang legit dahil na rin sa mga users nito. Madaling ikalat ito lalo pa’t karamihan sa mga Pilipino ay hindi naman ganoon bihasa pagdating sa ganitong usapin. Maraming may privileged millennials ang may kakayahang bumasa subalit hindi marunong umunawa sa kanilang binabasa. May nakakabili ng smart phones subalit hindi ganoon ka-smart.

Nagkalat ang fake news dahil sa iba’t ibang mga pekeng websites at hindi credible sources. Maraming nabighani sa pagsisinungaling ng tao sa likod ng social media. Lahat kasi sila ay pinipili lang ang gustong basahin. Ito naman ang siyang ibinibigay ng ilan. Gumagawa sila ng balitang ikatutuwa ng iba. Ang mga balitang ito ay siya namang papatulan ng isang tulad ni Maria lalo pa’t ayaw niyang pumasok kinabukasan. Samantala, sa mga katulad ni Jose, maaaring ang fake news ay isang sign na gusto niyang marinig dahil wala siyang ibang madulugan ng problema.

Laganap na ang fake news. Malupit itong katotohanan dahil hindi naman lahat ng nagbabasa ay may kakayahang ilarawan ang totoo sa hindi. Ultimo bigas na sinasaing natin ay maaaring peke na rin. Ang tanging pinanggagalingan lang nito ay ang gumagamit rin mismo ng social media. Nilulunod nila ang sarili nila sa mga kasinungalingang pupuno ng mga bagay na gusto nilang makuha. Ang ilan naman ay siyang pumapatol dito.

Sa isang side ng internet world, may mga tao namang nakakaunawa ng mga binabasa nila. Isa ka sa kanila, at alam mong may magagawa ka para matigilan ang paglaganap ng mga fake news na ito.

 

Paano mo ba malalaman kung fake news o hindi?

Maikli na lang ang attention span ng mga social media users. Sa pag-i-scroll ng newsfeed sa Facebook, ang tanging hinihintuan nila ay ang mga larawan o video na may kaakit-akit na content o titulo. Katulad ni Maria, napahinto siya sa isang larawang may nakasulat na Walang Pasok. Agad niya itong ibinahagi. Si Jose naman, dahil sa kasalukuyan niyang issue sa buhay, napansin niya ang isang post tungkol sa Obispo. Agad niyang binahagi. Lahat ng ito ay nagaganap sa maikling oras at panahon lamang. Malaking factor talaga ang pamagat ng post.

Ngayon, paano mo malalaman kung ang isang post ay peke o hindi? Ang sagot ko ay 3S at 2R.

  1. SOURCE 1. Pagkabasa mo ng pamagat ng post, basahin mo ang pinagmulan ng balita. Alamin kung credible ang website na nagpalabas ng isang balita. Kung ito ay isang blog lamang, kailangan mong humanap ng iba pang source na susuporta sa ganoong balita. Huwag ka agad magbahagi ng larawan sa Facebook, lodi. Maaaaring makadagdag ka lang sa kalituhan ng mamamayan.
  2. SOURCE 2. May mga website o Facebook pages na mukhang credible. Minsan, ginagamit nila ang pangalan ng mga legit na media outlets bilang “reference” kuno ng kanilang balita. Kung ganito ang nangyari, maaari mong puntahan ang reference ng balita upang kumpirmahin kung totoo ba ang balita o hindi. Madali naman silang mahanap sa Facebook.
  3. Ugaliing magbasa. Basahin mo ang buong post. Gamit ang common sense, isa-isahin ang mga salita at pangungusap na mukhang ka-duda-duda. Basahing mabuti kung ang mga sumusunod na sansaysay ay makatotohanan o hindi. Minsan, ang kailagan lang para matigilan ang fake news ay isang mapang-unawa at mapang-intinding isip at puso.
  4. STOP SHARING. Utang na loob. ‘Wag mo nang i-share ang isang content sa social media kung hindi ka pa sigurado na totoo ito o hindi. Kung isa itong kasinungalingan, ‘wag mo nang ibahagi pa sa newsfeed po dahil lang gusto mong sabihing fake news ito. ‘Wag mo nang i-share dahil kung isi-share mo pa ito, nadadagdagan lang ang exposure nito sa Internet.
  5. REPORT CONTENT. Ang pinakamahalagang gawin sa lahat ay ang pagre-report nito sa social media administrator. Madali lang i-click ang “Report” sa isang larawan o photo. Madali lang itong gawin, wala pang isang minuto. Papipiliin ka lang kung anong klaseng violation baa ng nagawa ng particular na post na iyon.

Kailangan mong maging mapanuri. Hindi masamang magbabad ka sa newsfeed mo sa Facebook, Instagram, o Twitter. Ang masama ay kung nagiging sanhi ka sa pagpapakalat ng hindi totoong balita. Ang tunay na millennial ay isang uri ng taong mapanuri at mapagmatiyag sa kapaligiran niya. Ang tunay na millennial ay may potential na ilarawan ang tama at iwaski ang mali. Hindi sapat ang pananahimik. Maaaring sawang-sawa ka na makakita sa newsfeed ng kabalintunaan, pero bilang isang mapanuring kabataan, may magagawa ka. Isa kang petmalung loding may kakayahang mabago ang kurso ng kasaysayan kung kikilos ka lang.

Natatandaan mo ba ang sikat na linya ng pelikula? “Minsan, kailangan mo lang maniwala.” Hindi sapat na naniniwala kang magiging mabuti ang lahat. Ang tunay na sasapat ay kapag isa ka sa mga kumilos para iwaksi ang fake news. Sa maliit mong hakbang, tiyak magdudulot ito ng samu’t saring tulong sa lipunan. ‘Wag kang manatiling katulad ni Maria at Jose na siyang nabanggit sa sanaysay na ito. Maging Lodi ka na matalino, mapanuri, at kumikilos.

 

***

Ang blog post na ito ay kalahok sa Saranggola Blog Awards 2017.  

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Budget Day Trip in Tagaytay City

Tagaytay is known for its cool and welcoming weather, Taal Lake, and Bulalo. It’s a popular destination for sudden road trips. For people who wish to be alone and to meditate, it is a place for them. But, do you know that you can fully experience Tagaytay on a budget? In less than a day, you can experience what this place has to offer by simply following this Budget Day Trip in Tagaytay itinerary.

We were riding a single motor when we did this trip. We left our home at 6:00am. But, if you are coming from EDSA, simply ride buses heading to Tagaytay. There’s one from Cubao or Crossing. I think it’s not more than two hundred pesos.

There are five major activities that you can do here within your budget.

1. View Taal Lake while dining in McDonald’s. This is the first place we’ve visited when we reached Tagaytay Proper. It is the usual fast food chain that we all know. But, what makes this branch cooler is its Taal Lake view. For as low as 29 pesos, you can see Taal Lake without spending too much. However, to avoid crowds, dine there before lunch, or after a meal. This surely gives you better view of the lake. In our case, we still enjoyed the food. However, it is really hard to wait for the order.

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2. Be artsy while sipping Frappe in Dreamland Cafe. It is less than a minute walk from McDonald’s. It’s across the road when you are from Mcdo. You can easily recognize Dreamland Cafe because of its aesthetics and unique designs. You’ll see lots of dream catchers and such artsy stuff. You will enjoy sipping a frappe while playing board games for free! You just need to present an ID before you borrow. I love how the lights and ventilation jive to give this place a cooler ambiance. I rate this cafe 10/10.

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3. Pray in Our Lady of Lourdes Church. Sometimes, all we need is silence. Offer prayers in their simple parish. Take pictures, too. It surely relaxes your tired souls and mind.

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4. Take Photos in Tagaytay’s Palace in the Sky. Its feels is so surreal. You’ll be captivated on how the view can take your breath away. Let the wind hug and embrace you. Also, try bringing special someone with you. I think it’s perfect place for sweet moments. 😀

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5. Sip Bulalo Soup along Tagaytay Road. 

Who would not like bulalo? Of course, this certainly completes the day. Bulalo usually ranges from 200-350, depending to where you’ll buy it. There are simple carinderias along the way. This is way cheaper than the high-end restaurants, too.

 

You can also visit Sky Ranch in Tagaytay before you have your hot bulalo soup. This can be easily found even if you are commuting. Jeepney is their primary mode of transportation. Just approach the barkers to know how to reach your destination.

Where to go in Tagaytay? Mcdonald’s for Taal Lake View, Dreamland Cafe, Our Lady of Lourdes Church, Sky Ranch, People’s Park in the Sky, and Bulaluhan.

How to go in Tagaytay? If you are coming from Crossing, Cubao, and Pasay, buses are just here going straight to Tagaytay. From there, just tell the bus driver where you need to go.

Enjoy your Tagaytay trip!

 

Kick-start your day with morning devotion

What comes into your mind when you hear the word devotion? For some, devotion seems so boring, time-consuming, and so religious. Some people find it tedious to include in their routine. They rather scan their social media accounts rather than to open an actual book and to meditate in silence.

I was one of those people who thought that devotion was a waste of time. But after engaging myself to reading daily gospels and reflections every morning, my life had changed. It brought me positive vibes and relaxing aura before I do tons of jobs.

I actually bought a devotional when I was in college. I was third year back then when I picked Didache 2012 for no reason at all. I just scanned its pages, read some reflections, and finally, got myself a copy. I wasn’t familiar how to read devotionals. I just read the entire reflections the whole day.

It was March 2015 when I was passing through St. Paul’s stores. I saw their 365 Days with the Lord. It’s on SALE! 100PHP! I bought it, placed it on my desk in school, and tried to read it before I do other things.

This routine continued. For two weeks, for a month, and finally for a year.

I can say that my life has changed because I am happier before I have my classes. I feel the positive aura before starting my day. The silence in our office and the words from my devotionals surely make me feel positive every single day.

I have learned how to deal with my issues and problems lightly. I have learned how to be more patient, understanding, and relaxed before I react. Kalma na ako, bes.

Reading the gospel, reflecting with devotional, and praying in silence allow me to feel God’s presence. 

It’s like embracing God’s words before I start my day. Devotion every morning is your breakfast for your soul and spiritual life. Without it, our life isn’t complete.

This coming 2018, Kerygma books offer devotionals to all walks of life. For youth, I suggest you read Didache Youth 2018. This will be available in MIBF 2017. You can pre-order for only 100 here. Also, I contributed some reflections here. Hehe! Maybe, buying this is also supporting your beloved friend, Kim. 🙂

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Have you tried reading the bible every day? If yes, how did it change you life? If not, what stops you from morning devotion?

 

Praying for you,

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How to move on?

This month went crazy. I waited long enough to see whether my entry in CSCBA would be shortlisted or not. Finally, in August 25, I got to know the results. Negative!

Upon seeing the posters of the results, I kinda felt bad about it. How couldn’t I? I really wanted to see the title of my book as one of the finalist. I believed that I never did this thing for myself, but for the youth whom I am serving.

Looking into the finalists under Youth category, I didn’t find the cover of my book. What I saw was three published books by different Catholic publishers. I got sad.

I think sadness is an underestimation of how I feel that time. It’s more of extreme rejection and frustration. I feel rejected. Then, I feel nothing.

While looking at the results, rain starts to fall. Drizzle going to storm. It isn’t a peaceful night for me. I have skipped classes due to this inclement weather. My feelings are left so unsure. Yet, I have to be cool about it. I’ve got to be relaxed!

I think this kind of rejection will never be the same with all the rejections that I experienced before. It’s no big deal at all. My heart never fluttered nor skipped a beat.

Maybe I only wanted to be sad and frustrated because the world says so. But, no matter how I desired to be sad, my happy hormones couldn’t be stopped.

I am still happy despite this rejection. Maybe, this is God’s reminder. He could be telling me that I can still write more books for Him and with Him.

Maybe this isn’t rejection at all. Maybe it is a part of his bigger collection of blessings in-stored for me. Things, I should be waiting patiently, and prayerfully. 

What’s keeping you sad and frustrated lately? Think about it. Maybe, it isn’t a rejection at  all. Maybe it is paving the path to a better you.

Let’s keep on praying!

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Our Pilgrimage in Bicol

I never planned of joining our Pilgrimage in Bicol due to financial limitations. Good thing, God provided what I lack.

Our trip was August 11-12, 2017. Can you imagine that even before our trip, an earthquake and heavy rained occurred first in Pasig and nearby provinces? We thanked God that time because no one was hurt. Luckily, I was able to reach home at 6:00pm and prepare my snacks until 8:00pm.

Our eight hour-travel lulled us to sleep. I never noticed that there was a second stopover. My heads kept on banging on the windows of the bus because I didn’t care how I looked like. I just wanted to sleep and get ready for tomorrow’s trip!

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Alter of Basilica of Our Lady of Penafrancia

Naga City, I must say, is a province that relaxes one’s soul. It’s soothing and natural ambiance welcomes the pilgrims alongside with the windy type of weather that day. It seems like INA is hugging us, welcoming us in her city, Naga.

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Front view of Basilica of Our Lady of Penafrancia

We reached Naga City around 8:00am. We visited the Basilica of Our Lady of Penafrancia. The church was so huge. It caters the original image of INA. I prayed solemnly and whispered my intentions without distractions because only few people were there when we arrived. I touched the image, too. Also, I bought a souvenir near the church.

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I love the architectural design of this church. Shrine of Our Lady of Penafrancia

After Basilica, we went to a shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Penafrancia as well. It is like 30 minute ride away from the basilica. It was big. We appreciated the intricate designs found inside the church. Its ceiling was filled with paintings and replicas of the important events in the Bibles. I just loved everything about it.

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After visiting the Shrine, we went to their Cathedral. I adored their black-theme cathedral. It spoke something about the life and experience of the faithful here–STRONG. They seemed so strong in their faith because their number was fast-growing. They even had a wide open area for outdoor activities. What I liked most was it’s free from capitalization. It’s distant from the market which made it more solemn. We had our lunch here.

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This is the best photo ever.
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Am I still in the Philippines? This Porta Maria is perfect.

Our last church was St. James the Apostle in Camarines Sur. This was two hour away from where we’d been to. Also, its beauty was simple and authentic. You’d definitely feel the loving presence of God. Your eyes would be focused on Him.

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This cathedral look so calm. Also, the sky. 🙂

We only visited four churches. For me, that’s enough. On our way their, I totally learned a lot. This experiences were totally inspiring. It boosted my confidence and faith once more.

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My takeaway? Sometimes, all it takes is a different view.

Now, I sincerely ask for your prayers as well. May you also pray with me in my intentions for this pilgrimage. In everything I do, I strongly offer everything to God.

I am planning to visit other churches near Manila. Do you have any suggestions?

 

Praying with you,

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How God funded my Bicol Trip!

Our parish conducts annual pilgrimage in the most notable church sites in the Philippines. We’ve been to Bataan, Batangas, Tarlac, Cavite, and as far as Vigan and Pangasinan. As our destination seems so distant, the pilgrimage fee becomes more expensive as well. This year’s pilgrimage is in Bicol, Our Lady of Penafrancia.

My grandmother and I made it to the point that we join this yearly event. However, I was not able to save for our fees. August was the month when I have to shell out bucks for my  tuition fee. I had to pay my birth certificate processing and passport too (which I will be getting this month! hurray!) I had been struggling with my finances since I dropped my extra writing sidelines, I recently paid my quarterly insurance, and lots of ~adulting~ responsibilities.

Basically, it’s so challenging, yet I survived. Thank you, Lord. 

Anyway, I don’t have any plans of joining this trip anymore. But, there’s this urge in me which pushes me to join. I suddenly remember that I always, always, have intention of my participation in these trips. I always want to pray. I have come up with a strong idea of joining the trip.

But, I have another problem… I honestly don’t have spare money.

With that, I mean, money that’s not coming from my super savings funded in my SF.

Before I leave my house last Tuesday morning, I ask God, “Lord, pahinging 2,000 please.” I keep on saying this. I just want to whisper it several times. I don’t even have any idea where is this coming from. But, I just want to pray.

In my spare time, (spare time for me, is the time when I finished all my commitments in school. Hehe!) I finished my articles and got it ready for submission.

Even before I submitted my article, my boss already paid me in advance. I had doubts about her contract, but still, it pushed through. It actually paved path for my Bicol trip!

Lord, I only asked for 2,000, but you gave me 2,300 within the day. How can I be not thankful for that? It is really true that we should be specific in our prayers.

When I stopped relying on myself, God makes the impossible, possible.

Lately, I’ve been relying on myself too much. I’ve forgotten what my real intentions are. I have neglected my responsibilities as a good and faithful Christian.

As of this writing, I am so excited for our Bicol trip. May the Lord keep us safe.

Do you have any intentions which I could include in my prayers? You may send me a message!

 

Praying with you,

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