Keeping Christ in Christmas

Christmas Jesus Christ Bible Verse

It irritates me when I see Christ being taken out of Christmas. That is not limited to only non-Christians–even Christians have adjusted to the commercialism of the holiday season. Obviously, not all of it is bad–in fact the holiday season provides the opportunity for families to reunite and also provides a pleasant break from our routines. I personally look forward to these days as an opportunity to visit with friends who are much too busy at other times in the year to just stop and relax.

But we have become terribly imbalanced. We give a myriad of useless gifts at Christmas because it’s expected of us and we feel guilty if we don’t. The commercialized world now makes a $100.00 toy seem perfectly normal. It’s easy to observe the stress that our imbalanced society places on family members. Christian parents who cannot provide the latest indulgences to their children are often depressed and distraught. Obviously, no one purposely makes them feel unworthy or insignificant, but the overwhelming emphasis we place on giving at Christmas certainly does.

So great is this social pressure that the closer we get toward Christmas Day, the more depressed and unworthy those who can’t indulge feel. Unfortunately the pressures don’t end once Christmas is past either. Those who can’t afford to compete in their gift-giving often dread congregating with their friends immediately after the holidays, because at “show and tell” time they don’t have much to show. It is not a conscious act on the part of most people to openly display their pride. Rather, because we are in a competitive society we often determine a person’s worth by his ability to buy things. “For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:3).

BALANCE

One extreme is not balanced by going to the opposite extreme. The distortion of Christmas won’t be corrected by eliminating all gift-giving and observing Christmas as a “religious” holiday. The fact is, we do live in this world, and our families are greatly influenced by others. What we need to do is swing back toward the middle and eliminate the need to compete with others. Then we will have the freedom to develop God’s plan for our families without the pressure from the commercial world.

In order to do so, I believe that as Christians, we must first believe that God’s plan is different from the world’s, and is more–not less–fulfilling. It is a deception to think that by adopting a more disciplined lifestyle we are somehow denied the “good life.” It’s like saying that by avoiding drugs, we deny our children the euphoria that would make them feel “good.” But to decide that any and all drugs are evil and absolutely refuse to use them makes for a painful experience if you have to have a broken leg set. The key, as always in God’s plan, is balance. That always comes from following God’s wisdom.

SHIFT OF ATTITUDES

Gift-giving at Christmas is a relatively new idea. Until a couple of centuries ago, Christmas was reserved as a religious holiday on a noncommercial basis. Many of our forefathers would have believed that trading presents on the day set aside to observe Christ’s birthday was near blasphemy. However, gift giving became a generally accepted practice and was used primarily to show appreciation to loved ones. Gifts were usually simple, regardless of the means of the giver so as to not embarrass those who couldn’t afford to give very much. For a long while in most countries, gifts were exchanged on New Year’s Day (not a bad idea today–think of the great buys you could get!). Christmas gifts were limited to food for the poor or special gifts to pastors and missionaries.

As with most things that start out right, somewhere along the way the direction shifted. By the early twentieth century, families were exchanging simple gifts, usually handmade, on Christmas Day. Certainly there was really nothing wrong with that, except that under the growing influence of secularism it was a golden opportunity for Satan to divert our attention from Christ to Santa Claus. By post-World War II, Santa was the dominate figure at Christmas and December was the calendar month for retail sales of all kinds.

How did it happen? It would seem apparent that Christians aren’t as wise in the things of the Lord as non-Christians are in the things of the world. The secular world is always looking for ways to shift attention from God to material things, and we’re naive enough to go along. By the time we realize that our whole direction has been diverted, as it has been at Christmas, we believe it’s too late to change, so we give up. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16).

WHAT TO DO?

By anyone’s standard, the way Christmas is celebrated today is a gross commercialism of the most important birth in history. But we don’t need to preach to the unsaved world to put Christ back into Christmas. They shouldn’t; we should. One thing I learned a long time ago in counseling is not to try to over correct too quickly. Not only are past habits, such as overindulging at Christmas, difficult to change, but quite often others around us don’t see things just the way we do. If you attempt to stamp out all Christmas gifts suddenly, you’ll end up with a revolt on your hands. The correct way to is make some positive steps to establish a better balance.

Step 1: Stamp out Santa Claus. Christian parents should let their children know that Santa is a fraud. Santa’s harmless you say? Not so, when parents knowingly deceive their children about an apparently omnipotent being who travels the world in the wink of an eye and disburses presents on the basis of good or bad. It may be a small matter, but it is a place to start.

Step 2: Husband and wife should pray together and agree on a reasonable amount of gift-giving. Once you have reached a decision that you feel is God’s plan for your family, don’t get caught by Satan’s condemnation as Christmas approaches. The pressure to buy when everybody else is buying will be difficult to resist unless you absolutely agree. And again, I repeat, don’t over correct. Develop a balanced attitude that will accomplish your goals over the next few years.

One method that has proved successful to many families is to commit an equal amount spent on gifts to feeding the truly needy. In many areas of the world, an amount equal to most of our gift purchases would feed and clothe a family for several months. By giving to a specific family through a Christian organization, your children can see the purpose and value of your sacrifice and theirs. “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.” (Matthew 10:42).

Step 3: Stamp out credit. As bad as commercialized Christmas is, commercialized Christmas on credit cards is even worse. Many families literally indenture themselves to creditors for a whole year just to buy some useless junk at Christmas. As Christians, we need to decide if we really serve the God of the universe. If so, then He knows our needs and will meet them through His people without indebtedness.

I know that some of the people reading this have desperate needs. I also know that others sincerely want to help but don’t know who has needs. The use of credit allows those who have needs to temporarily buffer themselves from God’s real source. “As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.” (2 Corinthians 8:15). I believe Satan has used credit cards to cheat God’s people out of blessings and to keep them in bondage.

WHY BOTHER?

With all the other important issues to deal with, such as crime, abortion, and drugs, a logical question would be, “Why bother with such a minor issue as gifts at Christmas?” Because gift-giving is one area totally under our control, and like the Easter bunny, it is leaven that Satan sprinkles in the church. The practice of giving gifts is not the problem, just as the use of credit is not the problem. It is the misuse of these things that entangles us and diverts attention from Jesus Christ to material things.

We have enlisted in God’s army and now we can’t identify the real enemy. “ No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.” (2 Timothy 2:4).

Our problem is that we keep trying to negotiate a compromise with an enemy who is totally dedicated to destroying us. It’s time that, as Christians, we decide to draw a battle line again. When it comes to commercializing Christ’s birth or resurrection, we need to establish a balance.

Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; (1 Timothy 6:17).

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This material was taken from the book “Using Your Money Wisely” by Larry Burkett. Published by Moody Press, a division of the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago, IL. Used with Permission.

http://www.christianvoicesworldwide.net/

Shashiburi ne!

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Shashiburi ne! If I say it right, It’s the way of saying How have you been doing lately, or It’s quite quite a long time since… I know almost everyone heard what had happened recently in my country, the super typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda, the strongest and the most ferocious had stricken my fellow Filipinos. It left my country with almost 4000 dead bodies, lying almost everywhere in the cities of Leyte, Samar and the city of Tacloban, and in the Municipalities of Cebu are Daanbantayan, Bantayan Island, Bogo, Borbon, and Ilo-ilo, Aklan, Capiz and many more in Central Philippines, almost 2K missing, and thousands were injured. I could remember a week before Haiyan/Yolanda arrived I’ve been checking all the PAGASA (weather authority in Philippines) news and information about this monstrous wind that coming in a signal #4 or 315 kph. It was indeed very very strong. I’ve expected the very worst that could happened. As I saw in the satellite photo, with its size, it would absolutely erase my country. Two days before the predicted arrival of the typhoon, I message my mother to prepare for the typhoon, she bought ropes to tie the tent of her street food stall and candles and a gas lamp, some can goods and biscuits and water. As the day draws closer, I’m getting nervous, our home is not sturdy enough and I think even a signal #2 would tear it apart. My heart was crying deep inside even though I don’t show it. It was announce that it would hit first somewhere in eastern part of Leyte and Samar. Then helplessness overtake me, there is nothing I can do, or we could do, I think to stop this or fight a wind as this strong, the news said it is stronger than the bomb drop in Hiroshima and Nagasaki during WW2. Then I remembered (2 Chronicles 7:14), God is just a prayer away. He could calm the storm with just saying “Peace Be Still…” Then as I could remember I uttered my prayer like this, “Oh Lord, I know thou are already angry with thy people, with us, with our wickedness and inconsistency. I know Lord, you want us to draw closer to you, and this might be your way. I may not understand it, But I know Lord you never make mistakes, you’re too wise to be mistaken. But still Lord I wanted to pray for you to stop this calamity coming Lord as what you did for Nineveh in the times of Jonah, But thy will not hearken unto this prayer of thine servant Lord, Please Lord when the calamity comes, spare us Oh Lord, everyone that feareth and believest in thine Name oh Lord, Keep us safe Lord, everyone in my family, friends, relatives and the people I knew Lord. In thy wrath Lord, please remember mercy. Cover us with thine ever loving and tender hands Lord. In Jesus name. Amen ”

As expected It came. It landed for 6 times in Central Visayas, Palao Leyte, Guian Samar, Daanbantayan, Bantayan, and somewhere in southern Luzon. During the day of the typhoon, there is no news, electricity was cut off the whole day, It was back the day after. During the storm we just heard that Yolanda is going out of the country already, my heart was very glad hearing it in the radio and all my family . love ones, relatives, friends were safe. I didn’t know thousands of my fellow Filipino had already passed away dreadfully. T_T my heart was teared apart as I saw on the TV on the day after the typhoon hit, on the web, photos of dead family’s lying cold below the garbage and the debris left. Survivors were left hungry for almost 5days, No food, water, clothes, shelter, relief operations were unorganized, politics and governments quarrels among the officials, blaming who’s who are to blame. Survivors had looted foods on the malls and grocery stores, they were desperate, and there were crimes, since prisoners were out. There were rape victims, because at night it was very very dark, no electricity since posts were destroyed. Everyone was guarding the little food they got, scared that it would be taken by others.

But still God was able to remember mercy, Even though thousands have died, also hundreds of thousands were spared. He is faithful with His promises. Even though sometimes, in despair and grief we cannot see it. Even though He is a God of Judgment, He is also a God of Love and Mercy.

Lamentations 3:22 “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

I am so overwhelmed that so many countries had offered a helping hand to my fellow Filipinos, too many to mention though, but specially Germany who was the 1st to offer help, USA sending US Navy troops and Aircraft carriers and their ever strategic way of response to the calamity, Japan, Israel , Singapore, Malaysia, Sweden, UK, Canada and many more. And those celebrities local and International and everyone. All I could say is THANK YOU SO MUCH, and to all that had prayed, “THANK YOU! Thank you so much.” You’re kindness is beyond measure. Despite of our many differences, race, nationality, tradition and beliefs, we can’t deny “WE ARE ONE.” We are indeed created with the ONLY ONE EVER EXISTING GOD, the LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Forgive me, this post might be too long, I still want to say more, I might not be the one who experienced it, But still looking, reading, hearing all about the tragedy really put an ache here in my heart. I wanted to feel their pain, even just watching and listening to their story of grief’s, sorrow and victory on surviving the catastrophe. This is all I could do, other than donating a very little amount which I can at my very best I could afford. Thank you for all the heroic acts of the media men, who’ve done their best to cover the dangerous even the best way they could even endangering their own lives, Just for the sake of delivering and honest report about the current situation, I salute you all with your selfless act, Thank You, specially the international media men who really stayed at the ground were the typhoon worstly destroyed, extending help as much as they could. THANK YOU to all of you and to Mr. Anderson Cooper. Still again, Thank you for your donations, and specially your prayers people still need to cope to tragic event that change their lives especially to children. May God give peace and calm their hearts with the Hope He holds for everyone. God Bless to each and everyone.
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His word will stand, His word will stand. Though stars should fall and mountains turn to sand.
Though no man believes Him, Still God will be true.
His promise is sure, His love will endure, and forever His Word will stand…

-Daisuke

#TibayPilipino #prayforphilippines #BangonPilipinas

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A Survivor’s Story

Yeah, to all that helps my country Philippines who is now facing this catastrophe…Thank you so much and Please continue to #prayforphilippines it is worth more than money… people need comfort and hope on their hearts that was wrecked with fear and sorrow….

Color My World (charly's blog)

Lieutenant Colonel Fermin Carangan is the Commanding Officer of TOG 8, the Air Force unit tasked to provide air support for the islands of Samar and Leyte. On the morning of Friday, November 8, he and his troops were in their office near the Tacloban Airport on red alert, having been informed of an incoming Super-Storm named Haiyan (local name: Yolanda). Here’s how he narrated his ordeal to Lt Col Allan Taguba, as Haiyan unleashed her fury on the city of Tacloban on that fateful Friday morning.

We were out of the office at 6 am Friday observing. Winds brought by Yolanda were already strong around that time. We (the Air Force troops in Tacloban) were prepared for the possibility of rescue missions days before the expected landfall of Yolanda. Just before 7 am, the rains started to pour, so we took shelter.

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Around the same time, we noticed that…

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Naomi Campbell and photographer John-Paul Pietrus for Typhoon Haiyan Philippines ReliefAppeal

Yeah, to all that helps my country Philippines who is now facing this catastrophe…Thank you so much and Please continue to #prayforphilippines it is worth more than money… people need comfort and hope on their hearts that was wrecked with fear and sorrow….

the CITIZENS of FASHION

Charity for dark-skinned supermodel is not a novelty. Naomi Campbell has a private organization Fashion For Relief set in 2005, which is raising funds for the victims of natural disasters.

Naomi Campbell and photographer John-Paul Pietrus, a half-Filipino will hold a charity event in support of the Philippine Islands , recently struck by a devastating typhoon, “the world’s worst ever storm”.

As part of the project they would sell photos of the model taken by the photographer, and the proceeds will be donated to the Red Cross .

The idea belonged to JP Pietrus who felt the need to do something to help and he contacted the beautiful model.

“I chose this photo of Naomi as I think she is a very inspirational and beautiful figure, and she looks so peaceful here – something I would like the victims to find, a peace,” Pietrus said. ” I was on the Red Cross website…

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Desolate

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Sitting here in desk, watching the TV news, on the radio, newspapers, It would make you delirious if you have family, relatives, love ones,living in those affected areas of Haiyan/Yolanda Super Typhoon who has 235kph speed, A signal #4 Typhoon. It is estimated, 10, 000 possible casualties and missing in eastern visayas and 58 confirmed dead in Northern Cebu, 1 in Bohol and more missing people. The Land was desolate, It’s not a month yet, after that 7.2 magnitude earthquake that Hit Bohol and Cebu, and now here it is another calamity.

My heart is aching seeing people on the Television, looting for food, fighting, killing for their survival, attacking grocery stores for food and essential things,crying helplessly, lost and don’t know what to do looking at the cold dead body of their love ones, whose bright smile they cannot see anymore. Some are almost out of their minds don’t know where to find their love ones who are missing, they even don’t know if they are alive. Haiyan/yolanda wrecked my country. ;( I was thankful, very very thankful to God for sparing me and my family here in central part of Cebu. But I know God reserved judgement for each and everyone of us.

Roads are still blocked by the debris the typhoon left, relief goods aren’t reaching yet the people who badly needed it. A lot of donations been already done by the government and private sectors, I just hope that all that were donated will really be spend for it’s purpose not on selfish desires and motives of the people who are on the authority of holding it. All I want are your precious prayers for my beloved country and fellow Filipinos and believers. For me Prayers are more precious than anything. Praying is an act of directing all the problem in God’s hands.

Prophet Habakkuk prayed to God to revive His work in the midst of the years. (Habakkuk 3:2) God’s people need revival. King Solomon was told by God the requirement before God will heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14) Humble ourselves, pray and seek His face, turn from our wicked ways then God will hear us. But the problem is that the people, yeah I know they prayed and seeking God, but the question is “to whom” there prayers where directed?

Haggai 2:17 “I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labours of your hands; yet ye turned not to me, saith the Lord”

Amos 4:10
“I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.”

Amos 4:8 “So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.

God send this calamities for us to turn unto Him, yet so many people doesn’t knew Him. What I am doing? What A christian like me, professing that Jesus Christ my one and only Saviour have been doing? Aren’t Am I at ease? Am I doing my work (John 9:4)? Am I proclaiming Him in the every and best way I could? Oh, Lord I am ashamed before thy face.

It’s for the Believers/Christians duty to let all people knew Him… I hope and pray that all these things that happened would wake as up from these long sleep of denial and being content living at ease. Maybe we are already forgetting the price paid for our Salvation and God is reminding us through these things. Instead of blaming and hating God, Let’s come unto Him and ask Him to “Revive His work in the midst of the years” as what prophet Habakkuk
prayed when Israel was set for God’s Judgement. aren’t we seeing ourselves now on what had happened a thousands of years ago on the Old Testament?

What if your blessings come through raindrops
What if your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights,
Is what its takes to know your near,
What if trials of this life is your mercies in disguise…. – (Blessings-Laura Story)

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All we need is God’s presence, when storms like these arises!

Daisuke

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Whether you’re a Filipino or not, as members of the human race, we’re all in this together. I am fortunate that I live in Manila and the eye of the storm wasn’t in our area but whenever I see and hear about the devastation Typhoon Yolanda has caused (like this personal account here and report here), it’s hard to just look the other way. I hope, wherever you are in the world, you spare a little bit of your time and effort to help a brother/sister out. Here’s an updated list of relief centers gathered by Rappler.com. Be someone’s beacon of hope. Be that ray of sunshine in someone’s life. You can make a difference.

Barely Legal

I’m so glad I’ve been a part and witnessed these awesome celebration of my church mate and friend Angie… 🙂 She is 18 now, I’m so jealous but not in a negative way. It’s just that I’m so happy for her to be able experienced such grand celebration for her 18th birthday which I haven’t experienced though. 🙂 But I’m okay with that no regrets on my part.
So here are some photos I managed to take during that day. It’s such a memorable day for everyone, specially to Angie and her family.

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Some of my closest church mates and our beloved pastor.
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Me, 😉 feeling corporate leader, nyahaha with this bunch of kids.
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My ever photo taking crime partner sister. ^^ with ate marj, she look so young even though she has already and 14yr old. son.
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Lastly, my #ootd haha, I choose to wear blazer even though it was so hot on that day because I knew Hotel’s are so cold inside their function rooms.

When God Planned It :)

Let God plan your perfect day, 🙂 Everything will right into place even you don’t know it. Waiting for the Lord will produce the best results.

Just like the video above, I’ve been having crush with Marco Alcaraz during high school I really don’t have an idea that he is a Christian and Lara too…. Oh! I’ve been so glad to know that. There wedding is the best I’ve ever seen for all the celebrity weddings here in Philippines because I know It’s God’s will for them to marry. Why? they’ve been praying for it. what’s the perfect moment? The perfect moment is when Marco cried. 🙂

Video: Lara and Marco Wedding

When These Feelings Overtakes Me♥ :)

When These Feelings Overtakes Me♥ :)

I really love the black color not because I love Gothic fashion, Am yes, honestly before I love it, but now It’s a different thing though. right now, black for me is the safest color. There are times when I cannot think of what colors to wear, and what to do when those moments comes? choose my black clothes. 🙂 Black for me symbolizes strong determination, mystery and sophistication. Black color is my safe blanket. Don’t mistaken me because most of the people have ill opinions toward black color they relate it to witchcraft and sorcery…

Okey let’s go back to the storyline, as if I have a story line. I think I’m just grumbling here nonsense. 🙂 This is what I wore lats Sunday, since the choir director said that we can wear of any color on that day, the first thing came into my mind “I’ll wear black”, 🙂 because I’m almost out of what to wear, 😦 I haven’t done my laundry for almost a month because of these many activities up coming, one these is our upcoming Church Anniversary these September 1st. Help me pray that there will be many visitors that will hear the Gospel and the people we’ve / I’ve invited will come.

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Have a nice day everyone. 🙂

The Day

The Day

This photos we’re taken back last last monday, August 12, It was my sister’s friend and suitor birthday. He is the one waiting for sister for almost 3 years now but unfortunately my sister liked someone else… T_T (broken heart). we’ll we can’t help it, so what we can do when things like these happens?, accept the truth and face the new tomorrow and ask God to help you find your way to the one that He reserved exactly for you. It’s very dangerous to make wrong choices specially in choosing the one whom you will trust your heart and the one you will be with for the rest of your life. Marriage is not like eating a very hot rice and if you got hurt you will vomit it.. 🙂 haha… Am I making sense here..?.. forgive me it’s just what I hear from married people. I’m not yet married and still not on my mind, still have other priorities right now. It just seems to me, that getting married is the hardest part of your life. But I love seeing people get married… 🙂

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The Guy on Blue Stripes Shirt was the one celebrating his birthday, his 21st birthday.

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My two sisters playing the birthday songs and other hymn songs for Tim. The Korean people on the side table looked on us and was greeting Tim a happy birthday too.

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This guy on yellow was the guy my sister liked and Tim knew it. 😦 Oh sad for him, but I salute tim for being so humble and can handle himself well even if in this kind of awkward situations. Actually this guy on yellow, Tim and my sister were classmates on Bible School it’s just that these guy on yellow courted my sister first. aw! 😦 I’m already so talkative here.. It’s just I want to write these things and maybe 10 years from now if God will still find me worthy to live, I could read these posts again and will put a smile on my wrinkling face, 🙂

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Sorry for the not so good quality photos, I just took it using my low price cellphone. 🙂 I hope one day I could own a good camera. I love photography too it’s just that gadgets for photography are sooooo expensive.

Blessed to Be a Blessing :)

Blessed to Be a Blessing :)

Last Tuesday, it was my mother’s 50th birthday I think..^_^ not sure because she always keep it a secret what is her real age, but i know it’s between 48-50 though.. This day was ended beautifully and joyfully though even though my mood tantrums attacks me but still by the grace of God He calmed my soul before anything happened. 🙂

We don’t have so much to celebrate it with everybody, but still some of the closest friends of my sister and with Mama too, was invited by my mama. Mama was so fond of them because they always treat mama specially. We just ate a meal on one of the fast food chains and after that we got a little desert, a cake on my favorite cake and pastries store, Leona’s.

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Mama and My youngest sister. 🙂 She is the most affectionate.

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That guy in checkered liked my sister for almost 3 years now but still my sister like someone too, But you know I salute him, until now he is still praying for my sister even though he had already accepted in his mind that my sister looked at him as a friend only. He is not afraid of always speaking his feelings unto my mama and unto us. 🙂 He is a man of courage. Almost all of the guys now are always in a hurry when courting they want an easy way to get a girl. I’m partly sad for him but still I know God will have someone prepared for him, someone that is exactly for him if it is not my sister.
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My Pretty Mama.. 🙂 She may not be perfect but still she managed to raise us despite of the trials we’ve been through. Everytime I remember those very hard hard times I got teary eyed, how great God did delivered us and saved us. ^_^
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I really really loved how they have designed their store. It’s very calming and it seems like a garden. 🙂 This was the reason that really makes me comeback other than their very delicious cakes.
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Happiness is not determined through the possessions you have but with people around you and most of all, It’s with God.