Thursday, December 11, 2014

Another closed chapter...

     "A goal without a plan is just a wish"

Received official notice today that all my requirements are met for graduation. I have a whole lot of emotions right now. I just can't help but look back on my life and it's twists and turns to get me to where I am in life now. 

From leaving home (Philippines) when I was 16 to moving to the United States, to joining the Air Force at 18, and not having any idea of how large this world truly is. 

I truly had no intentions of going to college so my 18 year old self decided that joining the military was a better option. 

Off I went to my first duty station (Alaska) and what do you think the first thing I did? Lol ENROLL IN SOME CLASSES! And for that I'm thankful for... The military had taught me discipline, discipline to go to class even after working all day. It also taught me to persevere because no matter how tough it might be at this moment, the sweet taste of accomplishing something for myself and for my future is so worth the lack of sleep and fun times that I'm missing out on.

This past 16 months I've struggled to stay in this Master's program, I've almost quit halfway through...I'm so glad that I didn't. Now that I've completed this other chapter, I'm truly thankful that the military had given me an opportunity to achieve another milestone in my life. I just find it a little amusing that even if I didn't intend to go to college or even go to school after finishing highschool, God had other plans for me. It's crazy how much we try to plan our life and the things we want to do, but in the end, life always happens how it's intended to... And we have no control over any of it whatsoever.

As the saying goes, "You want to make God laugh? Tell him about your plans." It stands true that's for sure... He definitely had better plans for me, and for that I'm truly thankful. The stormy winds has passed and now off to calm water. Yay!!! Now I'm gonna pop open a bottle of wine, heave a sigh of HUGE relief, and sleep for a very looong time.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Philippines Trip!

Cason and I've been in the Philippines (my birth country) for the past 5 days. It has been a series of events fun, adventurous, emotional, and educational events. We arrived at NAIA International Airport on Sunday, and headed straight to Angeles City where I was born. We spent our first night having a hard time falling asleep, jet lag kicking in, and just amazed by what we've seen so far.



The next day, we gathered our stuff to start our 6 day journey through Northern Luzon with the family.


Day 1 & 2: BAGUIO

Stayed at the Igorot Lodge at Camp John Hay, checked out Mines View and did some shopping, went to Burnham Park and paddled a boat, rode a pedicab, and walked through Maharlika (a local marketplace). We also visited the Bell Amphitheater at Camp John Hay. We enjoyed Baguio and it's cool weather, beautiful scenery of the mountains, the coffee, culture and the delicious food!


     Cason trying on some local clothing


     Picture infront of Igorot Lodge fireplace (Lodge is 100 years old)


     Cason checking out local barbecue.

 Day 3-4: VIGAN CITY

Never having been anywhere far north as Pangasinan before, arriving in Ilocos and experiencing it for the first time is such a great adventure so far. We arrived and stayed in Hotel Luna. After getting settled and checked in, we rode a 'Kalesa' (horse buggy) to check out the sights. We ate at Cafe Uno, where the food was so yummy & offered authentic Filipino cuisine. 

The next day, we drove about 1 hour away to Batac, Ilocos Norte where the famous mausoleum of the late President Ferdinand Marcos is. We visited his memorial as well as the museum. We ate lunch in Batac and had their famous Empanada. After spending a day there, we went back to Vigan to enjoy the night and see what the beautiful city has to offer.

 
     View of the pool from outside the room.

 
     'Kalesa' Ride (horse buggy)


Church built in the 1500s (Batac, I. Norte)


Dinner at Cafe Uno - super yummy food!


     The Bantay Tower (Tower Watch)


     The fountain show at the Plaza.

The past 5 days had been a blast... Can't wait for more adventures and history!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Christ Has Risen!

     Happy Easter everyone! It's been a couple months since my last post and have lots to write about. I got back from training beginning of March and I must say, it has been non-stop busy ever since. I started back with classes the week I got back, had to work the weekend, then had Denali back at home all at the same time. Bad thing was it took some time to catch up on things and have everything settled, the great thing is, it kept me busy and kept my mind off things like Cason being deployed.

      After a few weeks, things have settled down a bit and I am now in a schedule and back into a routine. I started back with weightlifting, easing my way slowly at the gym, it has been some time since I've been consistent with training but at least this is a start. It's starting to warm up outside so I have attempted on a run outside last week and so far, so good, no injury and I have not twisted any ankles :o) I have also been walking Denali and we go on runs. She has also been mildly jogging along side me while I ride the bike around our neighborhood. We have tried to stay as active as we can with me being at work and at school, but Denali has been getting some exercise and we have definitely came out of the winter hibernation and now ready to welcome spring and hop into summer! :D

     As for our Easter celebration, Denali and I went up to see Cason's parents. They live a few hours up north from us so it's not too far of a drive. It's great to have family that close, especially with being in the military, that certainly is a rare occasion and something to be thankful for. We went up to celebrate Easter and spend some time with them and the rest of the family. It's always such a great time to be with them, they are so loving, sweet, and welcoming always. Cason got to FaceTime with the family and we all got to say grace while he was online with us. The only thing that was bad about it is the fact that we were about to feast on some yummy food while Cason is across the world and eating bland chicken and broccoli. But hey, at least we have food, that we are most grateful for!

     This year, Easter has been a bittersweet. With Cason being gone and halfway across the world from us, with being away from Alaska, friends and fam from there for the second Easter season, I was pretty sad. Although I didn't quite celebrate Easter until just a couple years ago, it is still an occasion where family and friends get together and celebrate that Christ has risen, which made me miss my friends and family for sure. I'm so happy that I have my husband's family here and get to celebrate with them, but then I'm also sad that I don't have my family here to celebrate with. Although they are faraway, they are definitely in my thoughts, my heart, my mind and my prayers. I pray that they know that I love them and think about them, and know what is inside my heart. 

     All I can say is that this Easter brought so many answered prayers. It just reminded me that God does answer prayers and fulfills His promises, whether it's a YES, NO, MAYBE, HE always comes through! Might not be when I want Him to, but He answers when the time is right. He knows what He's doing and He drives my life... He will always be in the forefront. I am thankful for a partner who believes in the same God I do, who believes in His power, and all that we are and all that we do, we truly work it all for His glory. I am thankful for a God who is loving and merciful, for without Him in my life, I do not know where I would even start to make sense of the mess I made with my life. Praise you Lord!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Day of Love

Some people believe that Valentines Day is just another day to try and get people to spend money. Some say "you don't need a day to remind yourself to treat your significant other/your spouse extra special, you should do it everyday". Well, they're right, you should ALWAYS treat your significant other/your spouse extra special everyday however, I still believe in celebrating Valentines Day.

Did I contradict myself? I think not. I believe that Valentines Day is celebrated because it gives people the opportunity to maybe tell someone how they truly feel about them, or waiting for this day to make a proposal special, or maybe to some people, this is the day that they will go outside their comfort zone and do something they haven't done before, like fall in love, go out and take a risk, be adventurous, be creative and thoughtful, buy a star and name it after their special someone.

Logic says that we don't need a day to remind us to treat our special someone extra special, but if that's the case, why do we celebrate Christmas? To remind us of Jesus' birth into this world? We should DAILY remember Him and His birth! Why do we celebrate Hispanic History Month, Black History Month, or Asian History Month? To commemorate and celebrate these different heritage during their month right? So what happens to the other months, do we just ignore them? No we don't. So why not have a day reserved for love PLUS celebrate it everyday...


My Valentines Day was celebrated over a FaceTime session, filled with laughters and some tears. Spending time apart from Cason is one thing, celebrating holidays without him is another thing. We are 7204 miles apart, but never in heart. He just got to Afghanistan last week so he wasn't able to open his present (it's still enroute - it takes 7-10 days for packages to get there).

I believe that the ways of showing you love someone is not measured by material things nor by how much money you have spent on it... it's truly the thought that counts behind it that should matter. I may not have gotten a new fancy car, nor glamoury, glittery, expensive things (not saying that it's wrong if you have gotten these - it's just not what I value in life)

My husband got me a Vera Wang perfume which shows me that he listens to me. We were in the store one day and sprayed it on and mentioned that I love the scent but didn't buy it, and this was over 2 months ago! He gave me kitkats because it's my favorite and it's my picker-upper when I have a rough day. He also got me an addition to my Pandora bracelet, a Pandabear charm, to remind me of him because he is my Pandabear. All these were simple things that he put some thought into, which made me feel even more special even from miles apart.


And when I thought that Valentines Day is over, I get flowers sent to me while I'm in training in Mississippi. And it wasn't even Valentines Day anymore... my husband shows me that he doesn't need a day to remind him to treat me good or make me feel special, but he uses that day to still plan and coordinate something.


I asked him why would he do that when I'm leaving here in a few days, he says: "Because it makes you happy", and he's so right. Waking up to the smell of my favorite flowers and re-reading his card everyday does makes me happy, and this is why, with approximately over 3.4 billion men in this world, I chose Cason. 


So to those who knock on Valentines Day, why don't you go and tell him or her how you truly feel about them, or get out of your comfort zone and try something new! For men who uses the crutch "it's just another day", stop being lazy and actually go do something special. To women who says, "I don't need this or that to feel special", stop lying to yourself, you deserve to be treated like you are someone special. Everyone, men and women, deserves to be loved and cared for, so go out there and take a chance and stop being lazy! Love like you've never had your heart broken before, take a chance, be smart and be nice to people. If you don't, then you should stop being negative to us who choose to celebrate it and celebrate the day of love, and everyday of love for that matter :)



Saturday, February 8, 2014

LATE start to the NEW YEAR!

Hi everyone! It's February and I am just now getting around to writing my first blog of the year.

The start of 2014 have been such a roller coaster ride already. So many movements, coming and going. Our poor dog is so confused right now, she kept on getting shuffled around between us and my inlaws but she is enjoying her time with grandma and grandpa right now playing in the snow.

The start of the New Year was great. We got to spend time with friends and had dinner with them. We also got to welcome the New Years  and celebrated in downtown St. Louis.

At Lola's, welcoming 2014!

But just a few days later, it wasn't as good. Cason left for training for his upcoming deployment. He was gone for 2 weeks and came home just in time for me to leave the very next day for my training.

Cason back from training (we were all excited to see daddy!)

The next day however, I had to get my bags ready and off I went to Keesler AFB, Mississippi for training for the next 6 weeks. I was so happy that at least I got to spend time with Cason one more day and that he made it home before I had to leave. It was so hard, but I was so thankful for one more day with him.

I arrived in Mississippi on 20 January and quickly settled in. It wasn't too bad being that I am familiar with the place (I attended high school: 10th - 12th grade in Mississippi). The familiarity of the place made it a little bit better and the transition wasn't too bad. I was able to still talk, text, face time with Cason, although I knew that this wouldn't last too long being that he will be leaving soon.

Then came this surprise!!! Cason was able to take leave and come see for the weekend before he left for his deployment! We were able to spend 4 more days together! He got to meet my mom, we went to Florida to see his grandparents, AND just spent quality time together. I am so thankful for these moments that we were able to spend together. I am so happy that he was able to take some leave and come down to see me. I will always have those memories with me until he will be back home again, and we can make more memories together.


MY WONDERFUL SURPRISE! :)

We spent those next few days just hanging out and spending time together. I was able to get a little apartment with a kitchen and we cooked together, and he made me his yummy apple pie. Moments like these will surely be missed, sometimes I know that I take these times for granted. We spend most of our days together, unless we are working or going to school that I know I tend to forget that any moment we could be gone. 

With his departure getting closer, I just wanted to take all those moments in and just enjoy him. It surely is true that sometimes, you'll never know what you have until it's gone. But in this case, I might not have him for the next few months, but I know that he will return home and we get to build more memories like this, and for that, I couldn't wait him to get back home already!

On 4 February, my mother-in-law sent me this picture of Cason as he was walking to board his plane. I am so sad that I wasn't able to see him off. I wish so much that I could give him one last hug and a kiss before he left. These are the times that I sometimes wish that we weren't in the military. Having to deal with separations, having to spend time apart, having the worry and the heartache for our loved ones as they go, yet we continue to choose to serve our country regardless of the cost. 



To end, here's to Skype/Facetime sessions, iMessages, and letters. I am so thankful that we are in times of amazing technology so we can at least have an opportunity to communicate with each other. I look forward to my husband's return, I am counting down the days until he can hold me again and we get to go on walks with our Denaligirl. I love you Cason DeGroot! I'll always be faithful <3


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Lights... Pines... Brrr season!

The Holiday Season is upon us!


This time last year we had our whole house boxed & packed and we were sleeping on our cold Alaskan floor and getting ready to move across the world. Today we're thankful to have this opportunity to decorate and finally settle in our home. 


                          Our little tree:)


The Air Force & military had become our way of life, meeting new friends & building relationships as we go. We pick up & go when told, but in the end, they are all experiences that not everyone get to have and got that we are truly thankful. We have been extremely blessed. 


               Denali helped us decorate :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

To the top

It's sad to see people, on their way to the top forget who they are and where they came from. It's as if they feel that it is now OK to belittle, judge and insult others, and they have the right to say whatever it is they have to say because of their economic status, riches & wealth.


This is not to say that I don't believe in working hard to get ahead (i.e. Get an education, find a career, etc.), but I see it many times, people work so hard to get to the next level in the expense of hurting people, using people, and in the end, lose their soul to get there.


I can say that because I was that person once, I looked at people around me and wanted the finer things they had, wished I had their life, their money, their riches. I came to America when I was almost 16 years old, and was told that if I worked even harder, all my dreams will come true, so I did. I pushed and pushed and pushed and then I cracked. I listened to everyone else, let them define who I am, let them tell me that I am nothing if I don't have the riches and wealth that they had, but I came to the realization: "What am I gonna do when I get there and all the people that were once beside me who cared for me, aren't because I pushed them away or put them aside as I ventured into the path of 'Greatness".


I used to worry about what those people thought of me, if they thought that my life was worthwhile, or if they thought that my life is good enough... But then I realized that those people do not have one weight on my life, because the people that care about me, are the ones that will add weight of value in my life and not the weight of judgment.


Psalm 49:5-12 Why should I fear when evil days come,when wicked deceivers surround me— those who trust in their wealth and boast of their great riches? No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them— the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough— so that they should live on forever and not see decay. For all can see that the wise die, that the foolish and the senseless also perish, leaving their wealth to others. Their tombs will remain their houses forever, their dwellings for endless generations, though they had named lands after themselves. People, despite their wealth, do not endure; they are like the beasts that perish. 


I will NEVER forget where I came from and who I am. I might not have the riches that some crave for, or the wealth that some people would even kill for, but I count my riches and my wealth in what I have been blessed by God with.


                         My home where I grew up