Half-Year

Also known as: A mid-year check point

Hello, July.

Look at that, we’re done with the first half of the year.

Image from we heart it

It didn’t hit me that it’s really already July until yesterday, when I (quietly) celebrated my fifth year at my current job. Other than being slightly bewildered that I have been with my current company for five years, I only truly felt that the year was half over and then…panic!

For all my claims of not being spontaneous and liking goals and control, there’s a part of me that seems like like winging it for certain things, particularly in some of my goals. Or maybe, winging it isn’t the right term. Perhaps going with the flow? Cruise mode?

Something like that.

But you know, growing up means you’re going to have to be accountable to yourself and setting check points and such if you want to accomplish certain goals. It’s not just cruising around, even if I feel totally lazy and going with the flow is way easier than you know, checking on yourself. Cruising along at my age is…well, kind of immature, don’t you think?

Okay then, let’s do this.

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Would you tell me how could it be any better than this?

Also known as: I am loved by a generous God who delights in fulfilling my dreams :)
Missed the other Europe entries? Here they are: WYD1, WYD2, WYD3, WYD4, Madrid, Geneva, Paris, Vienna

This time three months ago, I just got home after an amazing two weeks in a place I only dreamed of going to. It’s been three months, but sometimes it felt like a dream, and sometimes it hits me out of the blue that I still can’t believe it happened. To me.

Every time I pray in the morning, I look back at my journal entries for this year and I smile every time I see my prayers for Europe in my handwriting. Please bring us to WYD. Please let us go to Madrid. Please give us our visa. Please help us fix our papers. Please give us airfare. Please, please, please bring us to Europe. Blessed John Paul II, pray for us. So many prayers, so many masses, so many sacrifices. And God was generous enough to hear it and give it to us. To me.

I still don’t know what I did to deserve all of it.

Back when I was still fixing my documents for my visa, I was planning to submit this essay to answer this question in the information sheet: Why do you want to attend WYD 2011? They said we can attach extra pages if needed, so I thought of writing a longer explanation, even if I never really got to submit it. I was reading through it earlier while thinking of this entry and I thought I would share the last paragraph:

I’d like to believe that this time, I’m better prepared to go to WYD. Maybe the “no” I thought God told me before wasn’t really a “no” but really a “wait”. I learned during my job hunt a few years ago that God sometimes makes us wait before He gives us what we ask for because He wants us to experience His blessings in a fuller sense, as well as prepare us in all aspects so we would be able to receive the blessing well. This time, I think I am more financially able to support myself for WYD, I am more prepared in terms of requirements, I have more focus and I have a bigger reason to attend this event. It may not be as big or as noble as others, but I’d like to believe that God delights in His people when they go out of their comfort zones and try reaching higher than they ever reached before, and this is me doing just that. Maybe this time, God will finally give me a “Yes.”

What a humongous YES that was, don’t you think? :) It’s been three months, and I’m surprised I’m still having a hard time writing about this because I should have digested it all now. I should have. But I still get overwhelmed with just how good God is. How awesome and how generous He is. And how blessed I am to be loved by such a good and generous God.

There’s really no doubt about it — my Europe trip could not be possible if it weren’t for God’s generosity. And when you know and believe and have seen that fact, how can you even say no to Him?

It’s been three months since Europe, and I still say thank You to Him. I also thank Him for new friends, new brothers and sisters and for all the experiences I had on that amazing two weeks. I know that maybe five, ten years from now (or even next year), there will probably be some other experience that will top this one (especially since I know God delights in surprising His children!), but I will never ever forget these amazing two weeks in August when I was drenched in God’s awesome grace and generosity. I dared to dream and He just didn’t dare to give — He gave SO much that I cannot help but be blown away. If He can grant a dream like this, can you imagine what else He is willing to give?

So as I end my Europe series, allow me to quote Lifehouse and say sing: Would you tell me how could it be any better than this? :)

I am loved by a God who delights in making dreams come true.

And He loves you, too. :)

Firmes en la fe (WYD Chronicles, Part 4 of 4)

Also known as: The overnight vigil that challenged our faith
* Here’s part 1, part 2 and part 3 if you want to keep up with the entire story :)

As of this post, it’s been a month since I was in Spain and I was a part of World Youth Day 2011. I won’t even wonder how fast time flies.

So, the World Youth Day activities culminate with an overnight vigil at some big place with all the delegates. This ends with a mass with the Holy Father the following day, with his address and the announcement of where the next WYD will be. I’ve been looking forward to the vigil because of the things I heard from those who came from Sydney: they say it’s going to be a night of prayer, with adoration chapels and confession all around. I wasn’t really expecting it to be easy, but I guess I wasn’t expecting it to be hard, either.

Funny how God challenges these expectations and then blows them all away.

Literally.

So for the first time since the WYD activities started, we got to sleep in that morning since there was no more Catechism. That gave us permission to stay up later that night and run a load of laundry and bond with our host. The next morning, we had a full breakfast again (and wow, was it a big one!) to get us ready for the vigil. Our host mom also arrived that day and she made us eat (again!), and we got to rest a bit more while we got ready to go out.

Truth be told, we were all kind of wary about heading out in the Madrid summer heat. The hottest temperature the previous day was 41 C, and we were supposed to head off to Cuatro Vientos, the venue for the vigil, at around 2, when it was usually the hottest time of the day. Ah well, but it’s not like we can’t go, right?

So we went.

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