2016 is a great year to remember. When I thought that nothing’s going to happen, God surprised me with a lot of breakthroughs. Walking to work while praying in the first two months of 2016 felt like walking with chains and going to a dark realm. Everything was unsure. Every night, I prayed and aspired dreams that I was clueless how they were going to happen.
Breakthroughs just happened the way God intended it, some of which were far from what I’ve expected.
I posted many of the highlights of my year in my other blog entries. This one sums up everything.
See: Another Year
There are a lot of things I thank God for 2016. Here, I just ranked the Top 10.
10 – Bonding Overload
One of my goals for 2016 was to meet some of my friends once in a while. Aside from meeting my very close friends regularly, I also aimed to see the ones I had not seen in ages. In 2016, I met high school friends, college friends, friends at my previous schools, students in my previous school, and relatives. I also had many bonding time with my family. Eat out, out of town, film viewing, malling, amusement parks, and more were the reasons why some days were memorable especially with the special people in my life. It’s my first time also to enter PETA Theater and a comedy bar. I also had my first time swimming catch up, first eat out at Yakimix with my family, and first visit at Cloud 9, which was just nearby. The Lord poured out the people I need to keep me going. The venues were just another blessings. I’m thankful to keep the best ones.
9 – Setbacks
Yes, I thank God for my setbacks. The earliest was being denied from one important application in January only to find out that God meant it for good. He has better things in stored, and if He gave me what I was asking Him, I was not sure if I could manage. I also experienced financial drought and my motivation has been at the lowest level during the first two months. In summer, my laptop’s down arrow gave up. In October, the laptop itself totally surrendered. It was followed by my printer. It happened when my paperworks had become very demanding. My sore wisdom tooth ached, and that aggravated my frustrated feelings. Those trying times led me closer to God, and I learned to praise Him with what I have. It made me depend on Him and trust Him to whatever He planned for my 2016. Those setbacks also taught me a lot of lessons.
See: When God Said No
8 – Bibliophile journeys
Finishing 41 books in 2014 and 55 in 2015 was a blast. It turned me into an authentic bookworm. In 2016, I successfully finished 67 books some of which were among the best books I read in my lifetime so far. Some were also difficult and long ones. I did it despite my busy and demanding schedule. Throughout the year, I also bought a lot of books. I was not able to go to MIBF again, but my friend and I went to several warehouse book fairs. This is my first time to be a real bibliophile. We went to Anvil and Scholastics. I rummaged both UP Tiangge and NBS annual sale twice. I also shared my passion for reading with my students. Few of my students and I even made a book lending project. The prepared a huge box, and I filled it with my well-loved books. We promoted love for reading. I also kept on rearranging my bookshelves from time to time throughout the year. My shelves and cabinets could hardly accommodate new books. This has been a great year for reading.
7 – My Teaching Roles
The previous school was really challenging, but this year has been a bit more challenging. I had different roles, but the best thing from 5 loads, I have 4 teaching loads again. But the news shocked me when I learned that I would be teaching another year level… Grade Ten. Meanwhile, I served as a BEI in the national election in May. That was my first time. I was awake for 30 hours. During our Inset in June, I became a demonstration teacher. I only prepared for one day, but it was a memorable experience. During our Inset in October, I became a facilitator again, which I’ve never imagined. (It’s a longer story). I was already challenged to teach a new grade level, but to act as the key teacher of nine Grade 10 teachers (including me) made it more challenging. Besides paper works, information dissemination, summative tests, and more documents, co-chairing almost all activities was the hardest yet fulfilling. The best thing this time, I was not on the spotlight, but the students and my colleagues, which was fine with me. I thank God for entrusting me these tasks. So far I’ve accomplished a lot through the strength He showered.
6 – Writer Blues
Besides reading, writing became my avenue to escape and relax. At time, this was how I ventilated. For the record, I have published 97 blog entries in 2016 viewed 2,307 times. Most of my blogs are about God’s blessings and lessons. I just couldn’t contain it with me, so I had to write them down. Of all my writing experience, I was awestruck at 9 P.M on October 6 that I kept on saying “Oh my God” several times and I had to run to the nearest store to buy an Inquirer newspaper for the day. My article was published in Youngblood column. This is one of my life goals for 2016, which I thought was impossible to happen, but it did. It’s another proof that nothing is impossible with God.
5 – Winning Contests
I have not expected that I’d be joining a contest at this age. All I was prepared for was to coach a student of another English teacher in Division Camp 2016. It ended up with a set up that both of us would be joining. Days before the contest, the original participant was replaced by another one(my student this time) due to health reason. Preparing for the contest occupied a part of my busy time. It has been a blessing that although I thought it was impossible too, my student won 5th place and I won the first place. It’s because of God’s grace and blessings that we got those winnings.
4 – Gabriela Silang Warriors
Every year, I am blessed to have an advisory class, but this year, my teacher life has been a worthwhile experience to have Gabriela Silang as my advisory class. Although all of us (myself included) were Grade 10 first-timers, the school year has been an easy road. My advisory class won different battles and bonding with them in our homerooms, in our discussions, or in ordinary days were part of a memorable history. I am blessed to have excellent, thoughtful, sweet, and amazing students this year. Having Teachers’ Day and birthday tributes from them is a memory I’ll keep for life.
3 – Summer Getaways
The Lord brought me to different places in summer 2016. It’s my first time to jump from waterfalls in Bolinao. I enjoyed Baler and the nearby towns twice this year with friends and with family. For the first time, I toured Hundred Islands on a boat. My friends and I traveled all the way to Porac, Pampanga and tried the rides in Sand Box. My family and other relatives joined our aunt and cousin from New Zealand in El Nido and Puerto Princesa, Palawan. I also toured Intramuros twice this year. The adventure and experiences were breathtaking and unforgettable. Unfortunately, I got burned last summer, but it’s worth it. I felt so blessed that I was able to travel without being indebted. God provided everything.
2 – Book Projects and Rocket Ships
The book project was the jumpstart of all breakthroughs. My former boss and friend called us to have a book project. We finished it before the end of March. In April, I got a call for the book launching of a book project that we finished in 2014. In summer, I got another one and I tagged a friend to join me. With God’s grace, our two projects were done before the 2016 ended. Because of my busy schedule, I had to drop one of my commitments last March. Just in perfect time, I came back with that commitment in December. Indeed, God always provides.
1 – Thesis journey
All the things above happened while I had to face my one and longest battle in the year. Although I haven’t finished it yet which I was expecting that to happen, I experienced a lot of breakthroughs from one to the next. I attended our orientation in February when I accepted that I really had to start the end of my master’s education–my thesis writing. I, with the help of my professors, worked on my paper, which I presented in March. Although it was the first one, for me, it was the hardest so far. I had to convinced 8 (one was absent) of the respected professors in our college. Praise God that they bought my proposal. My professor in the practicum has become my thesis adviser. We worked on my paper, but the remaining weeks of first semester were not enough. I defended and passed my topic outline in June, which was part of the mid-year. After that, I faced the greatest part of my battle. I had to be in more than one school, deal with more than one administrator and teacher, and analyze the behavior of more than one set of students. The preparation of the data gathering squeezed me to the fullest while the actual data gathering made me feel like I was running a race. With God’s help and the people He sent, I was able to finish the process and encoded the results. I survived! At the beginning, my mind tried to analyze how I would reach that far, but God paved the road. Now, I am ready for the next.
So many things happened in 2016, and so far God has indeed provided breakthroughs I will always be thankful about. During praise and worship every Sunday in the first two months, I kept on appealing to the Lord. When? I always asked Him. When He answered, I was overwhelmed.
See: God’s Love
It’s true. He fulfills His promises. His love never fails.