AMAZING WEEKEND!

This past weekend is one for the books! I was really expecting to have a quiet one, just spending it with Robert Fulghum but it ended up becoming wayyyy better. It started with a basketball game last Friday afternoon. I think I played better than the first time. Now, I can actually dribble, and I was able to play defense a lot better. Truth is, I was just glad that I got to have real exercise running up and down the court. I hung out with Lauren and Nicole afterwards.

The next day, Sabbath, was not totally a good day for me. Bradley had a booboo!!! 😥 😥 😥 No amount of crying emoticons could describe how heartbreaking it was. I really broke down and cried and had to call a friend for comfort. That night, I got invited to socialize with the Weimar Academy group, a group from the United States who did some medical, optical and dental mission here in Palau. I went with Lauren and Justin and it was fun. At that event, I also got invited to join the Rock Islands trip the next day with a big surprise…I was invited to DIVE!!!!

How cool is that?

The next day, we headed out to sea very early. The plan was to have just one dive, a dive to the Blue Corner, the most famous diving spot here in Palau where you would get to swim with sharks and see a lot of fishes. At that dive, I saw lots of sharks, napoleon wrasse, some barracudas, skip jacks, troupers, and a lot more. I was so thrilled because I haven’t dived for 3 or 4 years. I was amazed though by my control of my buoyancy. I was never good at that before but yesterday, it was just like walking on dry land. I was moving by instinct.

We went to Ulong beach and there was a channel next to it. There were four more tanks available, one was not full. Dr. Chang, the guy who is into underwater photography decided to do a second dive which was not part of the plan and invited me to join them again, I just had to use the tank that’s not full since I’m tiny. It was my first time to dive in that channel. The ocean had been so nice that day, we saw two leopard sharks up close! They were a good size too. One of them swam away after we were able to take a good look at it but the other one just stayed there, chilling, probably having his own siesta time or power nap. There was also a sea turtle and lots of snappers. Ulong Channel is beautiful. I love the coral formations there. It is also good for macro shots.

Other than the diving thrills, we went to the jellyfish lake. I passed as a Palauan. I would not discuss the details because I am not proud of what I did. *wink* I don’t know when was the last time I went there. We had to swim far to see them but man, they are plenty once you get to the right spot. Along the way to our different islands, we also spotted dolphins, we saw one sting ray, and lots of flying fishes. It’s amazing. It more than made up for the heartbreak I got the day before. I will have the car fixed soon so I guess I’m ok with that. Those things really happen to cars especially when you drive a mini cooper off-road. hahaha…it wasn’t built for those kind of adventures.

Oh, and before the weekend ended, our team won in the soccer tournament! Finally, after years of waiting, a championship belt. No, I don’t play. I just cheer and support as if the whole game depended on my cheering abilities. So yeah, the uneventful weekend that I was expecting turned out to be one of the best weekends ever. Good times!

EDIT: It even got better, my weekend was extended. I had an awesome lunch and hangout session with the missionaries (so weird saying that because they’re my friends) by the KB bridge.

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STRENGTH IN WEAKNESS

I was tasked to give the worship thought this morning. Until about 11 pm last night (my sleeping time), I was still not sure what to share. I looked at the old verses that I used in my sermons before, the verses I’ve been reading recently when I was going through something yet nothing seems to be the appropriate thought to share. I browsed through several devotional books and still nothing. I prayed ( I know, I should have done this first) and asked God to help me know what I should say. I found a book and I just looked for the shortest chapter that is so generic, like something that could be used by everyone anytime.

This morning, I had a reading about faith. After I read the chapter, all of a sudden, I just shared a past experience that I am not really proud of. While I was talking, there are times when I was feeling uneasy because I was exposing myself, the part of me that I am quite embarrassed to admit I have. I was looking at my colleagues and their reactions seem normal. I felt like it was a mistake to share that experience. Then, throughout the day, one by one, other staff members approached me and told me that I have shared an inspiring message. I was happy but I did not really gave it much thought…until tonight, when I remembered how I struggled the night before to come up with a worship thought.

It made me recall my audit experience. I was barely catching up with work when I was forced to accept an audit engagement. I did not know how the audit in the denomination goes and I have only three weeks to prepare. I have just familiarized myself with some of the transactions and the accounting process and there I was, required to prepare a full set of financial statements with audit schedules. I remember praying each night, asking God for guidance and wisdom and focus. Audit time came and I just had to give them whatever I have come up with, hoping that they would not find anything I totally had no idea about.

They found one thing and I felt a bit disappointed about myself for not learning it. That night, I brought some papers home and after the badminton game (there’s an ongoing tournament), I tried to figure out what and how that transaction is supposed to be shown in the FS. I thought I did an OK job, just enough to get by the whole audit process. I was surprised when at the end of the audit, the auditors loved me and said that I was so easy to work with, professional, helpful, etc. It was more than what I needed to hear. Again, I praise God because it was really Him. When I thought I was not doing an excellent job and I was already starting to feel a bit frustrated with myself, He interceded.

In my weaknesses, even without me knowing, He was showing His strength. His grace is definitely sufficient. Once again, He has proven that His strength is made perfect in weakness.

GRATITUDE POST

 Lately, I have been slacking on being grateful. I think the things that are coming my way are the things that I have not prepared for. They are actually not things, they are people. They are not the people I expect to come and as much as I appreciate their presence in my life right now, they are not welcome. They CANNOT be welcome. I have asked God several times why they have to come. What is their purpose in coming into my life? I definitely enjoy the attention, yes, but I wanted to have something more stable, something that could really be mine, and all that, you know what I am talking about. I remember when I got my car from the shop; my gay bff was teasing me in all his gayness, that I would finally be able to catch a guy because I have a nice car. The shop manager said that I never had a problem catching a guy, even if I only had a bicycle. He said that my problem is I always catch the wrong ones. Darn straight.
So, the past weekend has been about the wrong guys and me complaining about it that I did not realize that I am wasting so much of my thoughts on them. But then, God, amazing as He is, sends people to remind me how blessed I am. Last Friday, here in the office, while we were chatting about random stuff, our office clerk just said, “You are so blessed, Ojhea.” I needed to hear it and I realized how true those five words are. I replied, “I am.” Today, on my way to the staff devotional, one Chinese student who was always sent to the Principal’s office gave me a hug and I was so surprised and delighted. It meant a lot to me because I’ve never seen him hug any other teacher and we barely talk. He just love looking at my braces whenever I try to talk to him when he’s here in the office.
After the worship, I went to buy breakfast. The cashiers know me and confirmed if I am working here in SDA School. I said yes and once again, someone said that I am so lucky. I went out of the store with a big smile. I know that God is talking to me today. Things might not be going perfectly in some areas of my life but in other areas, they are perfect. Some people would want to be where I am now and I should not forget that out of all the people who could be here, enjoying what I do and what I have, God chose me. God chose me to be here. I am definitely blessed. Thank you, Lord.

Edit: Plus I received a couple more compliments today from people that really matter, like their approval matters a lot; not just personally but professionally as well.

CAN’T BE SELFISH

I am not sure if it was last week or two weeks ago when an office situation caught me off-guard. I know that our office manager is past her retiring age and I thought that she just doesn’t want to be idle that’s why she still keeps on working. Then, a lady came to the office and our clerk informed me that she is a candidate to fill out the office manager position ASAP.

I’m not gonna lie, I literally felt weak when I heard that. You see, when I came to this office, there was no turnover of responsibilities. I did not know where the files are, how the flow of accounting process goes, how the financial operation goes. I did not know anything. But Mrs. Wong, our office manager came to the rescue. She’s been working here for so long, you could ask her questions about things that happened 10 years ago and she could tell you the background of the event. She works without the need of supervision, totally different from the accounting staff I had in my previous job. To say it simply, even if I had a challenging task, she made it a whole lot easier for me.

Then I was told that she is retiring. I thought she was going to wait for the year to end. I was wrong, she will leave as soon as she’s able to train someone to replace her. I felt so lost, I honestly thought I was going to cry.

Yesterday, I was able to talk to her. I asked her when she plans to leave. She told me that she wants to enjoy her life. She’s already 67, she said she will be 70 soon so she wants to retire while she is still strong and can still enjoy what life has to offer. I totally agree with her. She earned it. She deserves it. So as much as I want her to stay so that my job won’t be as taxing, I also want her to enjoy. She’s like my mom here in the office, she always brings me food and makes sure that I’m doing well. I just hope that we will be able to find someone half as good as she is. I hope we find her soon so that Mrs. Wong could finally have the retirement that she deserves. Thanks for everything, Mrs. Wong! You are so awesome, you are one of the ladies I would always look up to and hope to be like when I grow up.

IT WASN’T THAT BAD

Yesterday, Sunday, was definitely not the best day for me. It started with going to PMA late in the morning to clean my car. I have planned that car cleaning for two days. I called first to make sure that everything I needed was there and then I drove on. I passed the school bus on my way to PMA and the guy in-charge of the maintenance stuff was driving it. Bad sign. When I got there, there was still an ongoing construction. Another bad sign. I went in the Quonset to look for the vacuum cleaner. It wasn’t there. I looked for our maintenance guy because I needed something fixed in the office. He wasn’t there. He went to the elementary campus already. And the vacuum cleaner? It’s also in the elementary campus (close to where I stay). I was already starting to feel frustrated, it was very hot, so I decided that I will just wash my car. The construction crew informed us that they need to turn off the water supply. I thought that was it for me so I decided to just head home and wash and vacuum my car in the elementary campus. When I got to the campus, I saw the maintenance guy and he said he could not do what I was asking him to do because the hardware was already closed. I said, ok, I’ll just wash my car…and then it started raining. I was already feeling crappy, I was looking crappy, and nothing seems to be going according to my plan.

I was just looking forward to watching the soccer game because I really enjoy it everytime but I was telling myself that I wouldn’t be surprised if the game gets cancelled. I went to the soccer field and the game did not start until about an hour and a half later than scheduled. It was just starting so we decided to grab some snacks…when we got back, the game was over. The opponents decided to forfeit the game after getting some calls they don’t like. I was like, “Why am I not surprised?”.

When I got home, I decided to do something special to make myself feel better. I planned my breakfast and lunch for the next day and decided to cook. I made a really spicy dish (fishballs in sambal sauce) for my dinner and I got the ingredients for a really good sandwich for my breakfast (turkey bacon, feta cheese, egg, alfalfa sprouts).

I was already starting to feel better when an FB messenger notification came. It was from my brother. We talked about his career plans, I gave him some advice, we caught up a bit, and that chat definitely made my day a lot better. So, as much as there were a lot of things that went wrong that day, there were at least two that went right before the day ended. My life is not perfect but it’s not that bad.