Thank you to everyone who remembered my birthday.  Every chat, text, and direct messages were sincerely appreciated.

A birthday always makes me realize how old I’m getting.  It makes me look back and see how far I have gone.  It makes me evaluate where I’m currently at and ponder where I’ll go next.

I did a timeline of all the significant things that happened to me at certain age milestones, at least as far or as early as I can remember.  Looking back, I asked myself if I had any regrets.  Were there choices I wish I could have done differently that may have given me a different outcome and probably change where I am at today.

There were many bad decisions.  Bad choices.  Do I wish I could have decided differently? I guess.  It’s easy to think that I could have done this, I could have done that.  But the thing is, every decision I made then was based on what I thought was best for me at that particular time.

Our pastor once said, if you ask a baby to choose between a bottle of milk and 1 million cash, the baby will definitely choose the bottle of milk.  Can we blame the baby?  Do we consider the baby stupid for choosing the milk when we know for a fact that a million cash could have bought her tons of more milk?

No. I guess not.  We can’t blame someone for not having the same level of understanding and knowledge that we have.  A baby will only react and decide based on what she can understand and that is choosing milk over money.

So rather than thinking of regrets about the decisions I made in the past, I choose to look back and appreciate the things I learned instead.  After all, our past do not determine our future.  I’m a firm believer that everything has its own season, and that everything happens for a reason.

Every mistake was a learning experience.  It led me to who I am today.  If things were done differently, I wouldn’t have experienced all the adventures I’ve had the past couple of years.  I wouldn’t have met the wonderful people that I consider very dear to me now.  So, I choose to be grateful for everything.  Good or bad.

The Lord is faithful and true to His words.  I know some people get uncomfortable whenever I share and confess that I believe in a living God.  Coming from a poor family, I was a little girl who had to walk more than 3 miles every day going to school with nothing but just water and boiled banana on her bag.  I was that girl who wore old clothes passed on from older relatives and was never in trend because we had no money to buy new ones.  I was that girl who always worked double hours to provide for myself.  Nothing came easy back then.

There are many personal testimonies I keep in my heart.  If I  were to write them all down, It’ll be enough to make an entire book.  Miracles unknown to many who do not personally know me.  How can I not believe?  How can I explain the countless times where my tired body almost gave up but had to keep on walking home because I didn’t have enough money to pay for a ride.  And out of nowhere, on the street, I find the exact amount I need so I can get a ride home.  How can I explain the countless times I felt hungry and prayed for a specific food and I get a knock from a neighbor or a friend bringing me the exact food I prayed for.  Miracle one after another.  Manifestations letting me know that, somehow, someone out there is looking after me.

This year I’ve had my heart broken a number of times.  I have experienced betrayal from the people I least expect it.  There were bad mouthing, uncalled criticism, judgment.  I lost people I considered friends.  Some people even hate me.

Only a few know what kind of life I have been through and only a few really understands what kind of person I am inside.  It’s easy to pass judgment on someone when you do not know them.  But despite everything, I choose to understand and extend kindness.  My imperfection allows me to glorify a perfect God who will always choose to love me despite my weaknesses.  He knows my heart and for me, that is all that matters.  I thank God that he gave me friends who in return, chose to be kind and accept the kind of being that I am.

So, on this birthday, I look back at all the years behind me with nothing but a humble and grateful heart.  I can’t think of any prayer other than saying thank you, Lord.

Thank you for all my friends especially the old ones who kept in touch despite the distance.  Thank you for Rosyel my bestie and my extended family at Wave church.  Thank you for my parents in Christ, Pastor Roel and Pastora ‘mommy’ Da.  Thank you Lord for my work and for all my crazy colleagues, my family from Stanford Brown (i miss you all terribly 🙁), Cunninghams, Clarkisit, and old call center buddies.  Thank you for all the extraordinary people I have met in my restaurant reviews, hotel reviews, and events who remembered and extended their warm wishes despite not seeing for me for years.

I thank God for my Pampanga Digital Influencers (PDI) family, my trusted and valued co-founders Theresa and Rob.  I know our group may be small in number, but I know that we have the same heart to make a difference using whatever influence we have to make a positive change in people’s lives.

Thank you for my family, Coco, Bonsch and Juju.

Thank you Lord for another milestone in my life.  May this life be not just another human story but rather a testimony of your unfailing goodness and faithfullness.