Last Tuesday, I woke up 32 years old.
In those early morning hours, I wrote a little, reflecting on my past, present, and future. And I started counting the birthday gifts I have been given:
I am most thankful for MY CHILDREN. Seeing them every day, watching them grow, teaching them, and having all the time in the world to love them.
TIME is on my side. That is a huge gift. Time is at my disposal. Time to work; time to play; time to love; time to feel; time to create.
FREEDOM is mine. Another gift. No oppression; no riots, no civil or world wars where I live. Freedom to connect through the internet—something not possible years ago. Freedom to live life how I choose to create it.
…my son peeks over my shoulder as he wakes and sits up in bed with me. “Whoa,” he says, “That is a lot of words!”
WORDS. Another gift. Thank you, Lord, for the gift of words which you have given me. You have enabled me to speak, to write, to communicate with words. This gift is mine; let me use it for good.
HEALTH. I have never been hospitalized for an illness, nor have my children. No accidents, through all those years. And every day, I am given another 24 hours to enjoy living with a healthy, breathing body.
After these, there are others; the list could go on… TRAVEL…FRIENDS…A JOB…MONEY TO PAY THE GROWING BILLS…A HOUSE TO LIVE IN.
Lord, I thank you for all these birthday gifts, and ask you to guide me through another year. Keep me challenged, changing, growing, accepting of all that life has still to give.
Last year’s birthday celebrations, I pigged out on German food with my boys!
14 May—On my 31st birthday (after an early celebration in Stuttgart, Germany, we drove to Italy and arrived in our new home on Lake Como, possibly one of the prettiest places on earth.
The winding, still snowy road through the Alpine border into Northern Italy–our car was packed gypsy-style!
In Italy, life was simple and good (Read about it here.) I got back into painting and even sold some of my work in this amazing, picture-perfect place. Every artist’s dream.
Summer on Lake Como when my mermaid friend came for a visit :)
Even though my hands were full with a toddler, and I got pregnant (yes, Alexandra was made in Italy!), the desire of my heart to get back to paid-writing in some form was granted through work-from-home jobs for Philippine Airlines Inflight magazine and the Department of Tourism’s new website.
Growing belly in September
At this time, we also launched Lifestyle Planet, a start-up website magazine now growing rapidly! I’m so excited for the future of this 3rd baby of mine! (Go to the link now!)
My little man, always in awe
By the time we got back to Saxony, vibrant Autumn colors had arrived—my absolute favorite European season. And then, we even got some early snow!
Snow in Sachsen
…but I’m really not a deep-in-winter kind of girl…thankfully, we made it back to sunny Southeast Asia in time to have a tropical Christmas. Reunited with my one dozen brothers and sisters, Karsten got to meet his very young aunties and uncles, and experience again the fun chaos that is Manila.
7 months pregnant in December–Karsten turned 3 on December 22!
We kicked off 2013 outside the metro, where we now stay (again, temporarily), just a few minutes’ drive from the beach and bay. We came here to have the baby in a more tranquil place, and to ensure that our kids had clean, fresh air to breathe.
Boys at play
Alexandra was born on the 1st of March, 2013, by scheduled C-section, even heavier than her brother. Even though it was a surprise getting her, and not in any of our plans, I’m glad for our beautiful girl.
Picture taken at less than two months old
I don’t know now where the footprints in the sand will lead.
It seems that change is coming very soon again. Story of our life.
But as another year says hello, I am just thankful to have made it this far. I’m setting new goals, dreaming new dreams, but also trying to cherish the everyday simple. The 5pm walks through nature; the crazy screaming (newborns!) nights; the children; more time.
Last year was not without its trials, tears and challenges. The roads were many, both literal and in my mind. And as my family grows, so do the daily obstacles. I’m hoping to keep taking this one day at a time, while still setting long term goals and reaching them. And I’m grateful for everyone who has been a part of this journey.
Sunsets by the bay
I can’t believe it’s been more than three decades! Can’t wait to see what’s around the corner. Cheers to new beginnings! New life, new love, new adventures!