Friday, January 2, 2015

December 2014

I had another day off from my full-time job on the 5th (Friday) as my "last" days to take days off for the year. It was good timing as I took advantage of this time to "catch-up" (e.g. errands). I finished my last "CHRISTmas" shopping for family as I was able do it all in one website (family Christian store), which I wished they still had the Family Christian Bookstore in Morris (City Center Mall). It closed years ago, but it was a great place to go in my "early" years as a Christian.

The following day, it was a "packed" day as I had a list of scheduled events to go all day. I started the morning by attending a new "training workshop" my local church is hosting called "Toast to the Master" (parody of Toastmasters-see Good News Words). It's a 2 hour training workshop to be better public "speakers/teachers". I took speech classes back in college, but one gets "rusty" if one hasn't fine-tuned/sharpened their skills. It was a great workshop as I got great advice/tips (e.g. don't look at the sky, but look at the audience; begin your speech with something that will captivate your audience right away-getting their attention right away is key!, etc...). We all did 3 different speeches (e.g. I shared about my recent song writing, my recent weekend with parents to see "Cirque de Sol", and ?) in various lengths in our own groups (two) , which was very fun and informational.

Afterwards, I went to see the movie "Frozen" finally for the 1st time after doing various music videos (parody and the theme song-"Let it Go"). I invited some friends, which they were there too. It was fun to see and hear the kids present take part of the "sing-along" version. It was a pretty good turn out for a Saturday morning at the college.

I then decided to drive to Hancock for a special service of a guest speaker (Paul Rapley) on healing. We got "more" (been to Rapley's teachings before) "equipped" on this ministry gift area, which we then applied around town though "treasure hunting" in two different groups. My group went to Willies Super Valu and Regional Fitness Center. Great testimonies from this 2nd time experience as my group prayed for a lady that I know who was limping as she was pushing her grocery cart. Another guy was someone we just chatted with and he seem to want to just talk-great conversation with a guy that I've seen regularly around town. An advantage of living in a small town!

I took part of the worship team the first weekend of the month, which was always a blessing, which I just forgot to check my email of our monthly schedule as I wrote this (January 2nd 2014). Joining the worship team has given me the heart to sing more and practice wherever I go.

On Monday (8th), I celebrated a birthday with some friends (former ESL student of mine) at Bella Cucina, which is always a treat going there. It's the most priciest restaurant, which I usually don't go here unless it's a special occasion. I went to Insanity (cardio fitness group)at the local gym (RFC) a couple of times this month, which has been very beneficial (keeps me warm during the cold winter season, great for the heart, and it's probably the most intense work out with the help of a motivating instructor-I highly encourage this fitness group if your looking for one for the "new year".

On Thursday (11th), we had our annual "Christmas Tea Party" at my workplace (full-time job), which I didn't over do it this year with the "sweets" (gets me sick and seems like it does with everybody, which isn't good with the high rate of "flu" victims around the country lately). Later in the evening, the local "Morris Special Olympics" hosted a basketball fundraiser at the local high school, which was a great community promotion and awareness (e.g. disability) of volunteers needed.

The next day (12th), my workplace celebrated the retirement of our boss at one of my co-workers house after work. I'm very thankful to her for giving me this job since I was invited back in 2006. Thank you Emmy! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to stay longer as I had to leave for a friend's wedding party as one of the groomsmen. We had practice that evening and went to Bella second time within a week! What a blessing :) I had a chance to get to know both families of the bride and groom (both friends), which is always an extra blessing.

We had our (Morris Literacy Project )last class (ESL & GED) of the year, so we had a party! We celebrated the birthday of one of our students and made it a holiday party too!

The following day, I met up with a buddy from church as I'm trying to better on equipping other fellow believers through meeting ("discipling") one and one regularly. We ended up sharing our own personal testimonies and just building that bond as a family or brother in Christ.

On Sunday (21st), I did my first "share" at my local church's (Morris Community Church) annual CHRISTmas program (<-start 18:00-30:00 minute mark in podcast), which I never had the boldness to do since I've been part of the church. Two years ago, I shared about my trip to the Philippines, but I ended up doing it the Sunday after due to schedule problems. I ended up sharing a video I made a month prior with the theme...

Afterwards, I just shared a brief glimpse of my testimony (e.g. knee injury due to "pride" before the fall while downhill skiing at a nearby ski-resort during "financial" challenges in college). Then I shared about the abundant life (John 10:10) that comes after coming to Christ as one gets ride of their sinful nature (Galatians 5). I videotaped the other great performances/shares, which can be viewed in private settings via facebook if interested-contact me to be added.

I had my last day of work on the 23rd as we had to make a day up due to a "snow day" last month. It was fun as we had our annual Christmas part (clients opened presents). The next day, I took advantage of the start of my 2 week vacation by finishing some errands and going out with friends to do things I'm not able to do during my busy work schedule. On the 24th, a couple of friends and I checked out the newest restaurant in town (Mi-Mexico)...muy delicioso (very delicious in Spanish)!

I had to work the overnight (holiday pay..oh yeah!) on Christmas Eve and then went to St. Paul on Christmas morning after work. It was a pretty good drive (nice weather) despite a little traffic as I got closer to the Twin Cities. As I exited off interstate 94 (eastbound) in St. Paul on Ruth St., I had the opportunity to share some "Good News" with some "Folks with Signs Along the Highway Exit Ramps" (<-see blog) both on CHRISTmas day and the day after (after dropping off my car to get an oil change). We had a Christmas gathering at my younger brother's family house and enjoyed the company of the "whole" (in-laws) family as we did on Thanksgiving last month. My dad, mom, and I would end up going to a movie matinee of the anticipated showing of "Unbroken". We got there 15 minutes before the start and there were only 3 rows open up front as this was the opening day. It wasn't the most ideal seating, but we were glad to get in with the crowds. The movie was about 2 1/2 hours, which my mom got antsy the last hour-kept asking "when was the movie going to end". My dad was looking forward to this movie as I shared Louis Zamperini's amazing story online via facebook. I was so touched by the movie, I decided to listen to the audio book online after writing his blog...

Personal Life Messages from the movie Unbroken December 28, 2014

During my 4-days in the Twin Cities, I was able to do a lot of family quality time [e.g. ride my bike at Battle Creek Park in Maplewood with parents, who walked (26th-Friday); this is before the snow the following day (27th-Saturday, driving with bro and his fam to a couple of Christmas "Holiday" Drive-thru displays (e.g. Valley Lights at Rockpoint Church in Elmo Lake, sharing some "old" classic Filipino music with my dad, clean the house, etc...]

I had to get back to Morris on Sunday (28th) since I had to work the overnight at my part-time job. It was a good drive as I made a couple of singing videos along the way home with the CHRISTmas holidays (e.g. What Child is this?). I spent the last days of the year enjoying my last week of my two week vacation from my work by "catching-up" on some projects (e.g. multi-media projects). I ended the year with a "big bang" by videoing a friend's wedding ceremony and reception-dance party in town. I had to work the overnight that same night, so I entered the new year-2015 at work on the computer and went to bed!

2014 Reflection of God's blessings that I'm grateful for are you thankful for in 2014?

More coming for 2015! Feel free to share yours too with me via in person (e.g. hangout over a meal), phone call, email (e.g. on facebook), etc... Keep in touch friends!