Thursday, November 12, 2009

Happy First Birthday, Sense and Serendipity

Jesus said...I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows). John 10:10 - Amplified Bible


Spring Awakening in November - Mango Blossoms. Everyday is a new day.

Happy Birthday, Happy BlogDay, Happy Blog Anniversary, Happy Blogniversary - whatever you call it, my blog is now one year old. WOW!! I never thought I would last one year in blogging. It was definitely a challenging journey but it was also fun and rewarding. I really have no plans to create my own blog until Jehan, a friend of mine encouraged me to start one. She said that it is not for the whole world to read but more for me. And she’s right. I launched this blog a year ago for myself and shared it with a few of my close friends and people I trust. With the help of my sister Susana, my brother-in-law Carl and my newly-wed brother Anthony, I was able to create this blog with a new hope and a dream.

When I came back home more 6 years ago from Canada, my life was never the same. When I learned that dad was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal cancer and my post-employment work visa is about to expire, I have no choice but to go home. I took care of dad for almost four years until he died. Although it has been such an honor to take care of my father, I felt that my life’s course, once a swift flowing current became a stagnant pool. Everything stopped. While I already submitted my application for permanent residence visa to the Canadian embassy, my future is still uncertain. When dad died more than two years ago (July 4, 2007), I decided to take a correspondence course in Natural Nutrition and look after mom for awhile. As much as I want to take that course in Canada, the embassy is taking too long to reply until they denied my visa last November 2008 (after launching my blog) and was rejected again this year when I wrote a letter of petition to the embassy. I was denied after waiting for four and a half years. Ouch!!!


Coming soon!!

Three months later a friend of mine asked me to teach health and nutrition in his culinary school in Cebu City. I have to turn it down because of family reasons. But I could also sense a deep calling by God to move there. I was disappointed because this would be an opportunity for me to get to know the other beautiful places in the Philippines.

I stopped blogging for the month of April and May after I turned down the job from Cebu City. I was depressed because God answered no to all of my prayers. I think you know what that felt like. Being unemployed for six long and tedious years is not something I wanted to happen in my life. You could say that looking for a job is quite challenging most especially when you are faced with many competitors in the food industry while your self-esteem and self-confidence has plunge down the drain.

I forced myself to blog again last June and post a topic or a recipe one at a time. I honestly wasn’t really having fun at all but I did my best. I tried to blog about twice or thrice a week until it became consistent. There were times that I may have missed a week of blogging, but I have written drafts that I plan to publish in the near future.


"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future". Jeremiah 29:11 - NIV

I wouldn’t be receiving a lot of comments ( I hope I didn’t force you) and loyal readers (anyone?) on my blog if Steve Ellis, a good friend and producer of Rouxbe Online Cooking School didn’t ask me to sign up for Foodbuzz. When I signed up for Foodbuzz and accepted friend requests from other food bloggers, that’s the time I received more remarks and emails from other blogs. Although my goal is not to accumulate as much readers and comments as I can, my purpose in creating this blog (aside from doing it for me) is to help and inspire other people about health and nutrition through my passion and enthusiasm in food and cooking. Much credit also goes to Joe Girard, Dawn Thomas and Kimberley Slobodian also from Rouxbe Online Cooking School for teaching me how to write a step-by-step recipe the Rouxbe-way (still perfecting it) and for their continued support even before I started this blog. And then there’s my brother-in-law Joyren who lend me his wonderful camera when someone borrowed mine, my sister Rowena for delivering her husband’s camera to our house, my mom who has provided some financial support for this blog and of course, my late-dad who has been and will continue to be a great inspiration for the days and years to come.


A slice of the wedding cake - Carrot and Walnut Cake - and now my blog's birthday cake.

Another occasion to celebrate was my brother’s wedding last Sunday. We were all busy last week that I’ve forgotten that I’ve been blogging for almost a year until I remembered it a few days a go. Since there were a lot of leftovers from the event, a huge cake and some pastries, I decided not to bake anything for my blog except for some coconut-pineapple muffins that I’m working on last Tuesday. To celebrate my brother’s wedding and my blog’s first birthday, I chose to have a Carrot and Walnut cake from Mandarin Oriental Hotel and of course the muffins.


My brother's wedding, November 8, 2009. Check out my cute nephew Joshua in front of me.

My situation is still the same but I’m still blogging. I think blogging is my way of getting to know myself even better, my escape to the realities of this world, a medium to share my whispering thoughts, a means to clarify my direction in life and my vision to create the life I really wanted. I hope new doors of great opportunity will open, not only on the web but also in my actual life right now (yes, I need a real job with the creative work I desire).


Gluten-Free Coconut-Pineapple Muffins (sans the birthday candle)

For those of you who are constantly reading my blog, those who love it, those who are new, those who learned from it and everyone who stumbled into this site including all the food bloggers that I’ve met, I just want you to know that your support, comments, questions and even suggestions means more than a lot to me. Words are not enough for me to say thank you. I hope this blog became a blessing in your life and will continue to do so.

Here’s to a more favorable and fruitful sense and serendipitous year!!

67 comments:

  1. First of all, congrats to both of you and your brother! Happy Blog Anniversary and happy wedding!
    I'm so touched by your sharing and your journey of putting every effort to support and help your family, esp. taking care of your dad.

    Your writing, cooking and blogging skills really shine on this blog. I believe God will open doors in your actual life so that you can achieve your goals to help more people in developing healthy eating habits.

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  2. The coconut muffins look fabulous! Seriously good...
    I have seen a Filipino wedding held in the century park hotel Manila long long time ago when I worked there....it's really beautiful.
    I wonder which one is you on the photo....

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  3. Hi Divina Pe! I love coconut and gluten-free is such a welcome change. Beautiful post - thank you for sharing.

    Amber @ Native Food and Wine

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  4. Divina, that's such a touching article you have written. In the midst of all the hurt, pain and diappointment, you came out with a wonderful blog that not only blesses you but blesses many other people, including me. It takes tremendous courage to come through all the difficult times & you did it. God did not fail you. There's always a divine purpose. I believe the best is yet to come. He loves you and so do many people around you, including me. You are such an amazing young lady. It has been such a great blessing to know you. Keep Blogging Keep Smiling!

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  5. @ Christine - thank you very much. I think the door is about to open. My new sister in law's name is the same as yours. :)

    @ Angie's Recipes - Thank you. So, you were in the Philippines before?? That's great. I'm on the far left in front of the little boy. :)

    @ Amber - Thank you for your comment. I still need to try the recipe again and do some modifications.

    @ Mary - Thank you very much for your comment Mary. I'm touched by that. You have been a blessing in my life as well. I'll keep blogging and keep smiling.

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  6. Your posts have always given me an impression that you are a passionate lady of good self-assertion. I always admire your attitude of being thankful and empathic. You have shown much of your professional knowledge in every recipe I read (though admittedly i might have missed some).

    Six years is not a short period of time and it is easier said than done to overcome the miserable times. But your happy face tells - you have made it. While wishing you every success in your upcoming real job, hope you would still keep blogging and sharing with us your experience.

    Happy Blog Anniversary and thanks for sharing your journey!

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  7. Divina,
    I understand your pain. There is one verse that comes to my mind clearly as I read your post and I say this to you-
    Romans 8:28
    "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose".
    Jesus loves you and I am glad to have met you.

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  8. Congratulations and Happy Anniversary! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story Divina. I know everything will turn out well for you. God bless! :)

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  9. Congratulations on your first blogiversary. May you live to see many more. You have a very nice blog and I enjoy reading your posts as well as looking at your lovely pictures. You look like you have a very nice family, and yes your nephew is cute :)

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  10. Hi Divina
    I was really touched by your post - how selfless you were to take care of your Dad all those years - for sure he is watching you from above! I'm sure that you will find a job that you will love soon, in the meantime, continue to make all us bloggers happy with your posts and tweets! Happy Anniversary!

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  11. Happy Blog Birthday! I am so happy that you started blogging again this past June. It has been such a treat to receive your comments and to read your wonderful posts. The photos here are lovely- beautiful work, as always!

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  12. Divina, it takes a lot of strength to share so much of yourself and put your feelings out there for all the world to see. I respect that so much. I know I've mentioned to you that my mom died - it was almost 4 years ago, from lung cancer. She was my bes friend. Having a parent die changes you for good, that's just a fact. I think whether or not you can come to love the changed person you are, and integrate that new self into the old in a positive way, determines so much about how your life will be going forward. It's a dark and lonely process, but coming out of it in one piece means you can do anything. I mean anything. It sounds like you've come to love and accept the person you are now, and blogging has helped you do that. I'm so glad!!

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  13. So many wonderful events to celebrate! First of all, congratulations on your first year of blogging. We often begin a journey without realizing where it will lead and yet the best part of it is in discovering yourself along the way. Seeing your photos, reading your recipes and now, better understanding the person behind this blog tells me that you do have a sense, a vision, of where you want to be. It may take some time (I can tell you all about that!) but those of us who been drawn into your fantastic site are grateful that you share so much of yourself!

    Congratulations to your brother and his new wife! The wedding/bday cake looks incredibly delicious and I'm definitely looking forward to that coconut-pineapple muffin!

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  14. Congratulations on your First Blogiversary. You have a wonderful blog. I am really touched by your post. Take care.

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  15. 1 year! And I hope many many more to come. And that one day your dream will come true and hopefully we can visit each other and talk about food all day long!

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  16. Oh you touched my heart girl, you even made me shed tears. Love your blog & love that I found you. Yay for your blog,and yay for twitter. HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY to your beautiful blog my friend. Will giv u a shout next time I'm in HKG.

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  17. Hola Divina, you look so pretty in that photo! Sooo slim! I wish I still own that figure. hahaha.... Well, what else can I say? CONGRATULATIONS to you & your brother as well. I understand exactly what you've been through. This is what we called as 'LIFE'! God creates it and we just go with the flow....but with full pride. Never feel bad about what you've been through but feel blessed what you're having now and what is going to come in the future. May god bless you & your family. Cheers.

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  18. HAPPY BLOG ANNIV! count me as one of those blessed by your blog -- i really enjoy and learn a lot from your posts and wish i could be as thorough and as informative. Each of us encounter challenges along the way and how you cope and move forward is what matters most. More blogging years to come :)

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  19. Congratulations to your brother and his new wife! And happy blog birthday! (we almost share one, mine was yesterday!) Looking forward to many more years of reading your beautiful posts!

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  20. Hi Divina, Happy anniversary! what a touching story...I understand your feeling and I think that after a long a dark tunnel comes a light and I wish you a lot of success in what you do. You are a very talented cook, a sooner or later your wishes will come true. Life gets tough sometimes, and like you my blog helps me get through tough times. Jeep on blogging and keep posting those wonderful recipes!

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  21. Happy Anniversay Divina...good luck with the future...keep up the great work!

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  22. Congratulations. I think the decision to start blogging means a lot to many of us - but isn't it wonderful to find something to focus and propel you forward in life? And it's been wonderful to know you - I hope you enjoy many more years of wonderful food blogging!

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  23. D! What a very heart warming blog post here. It really shows what a kind and passionate person you are. You not only capture photos so vividly but you also write beautifully. I was honestly touched. Happy blogiversary!!! So proud of you. Keep blogging!!!

    PS. Best wishes to your bro. I love your gown. The color suits you too :) Still pretty as ever :)

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  24. Divina

    Congrats on having your blog for an entire year, I think you've done a fabulous job. Your story was so touching, life always gives us trials and I think when you are at your worst is when you do most of your soul searching. I am glad everything has worked out, you truly have a talent for food and photography and not to mention your ability to capture your readers with your wonderful words. I am glad to have met you through Food Buzz, your blog has become one of my frequent favorites that I visit every day :)

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  25. thank you for the touching story and congratulations on your 1 year! you're right, being a part of the Foodbuzz community is great! Keep up the great work.

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  26. Congratulations on making it a year and again congrats to your brother and his wedding!

    I'm so glad you choose to share with us about your life and why you started blogging. One of the best ways, in my opinion, to cope with anything (weather it be a good stress or a bad stress) is to have a creative outlet. Blogging, photographing, and cooking are all a way to let it out, to be creative. To use your own form of art, as well as your approach with nutrition not only helps everyone that comes to visit here, but yourself as well.

    I'm glad to have found you and your blog, as you are one of the sweetest people I know and am looking forward to reading more about you and what lets you be creative for many years to come!

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  27. Happy birthday. Your blog and your courage have inspired many. Wishing you many more years of beautiful posts!

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  28. Congratulations! i've learned a lot from your blog and find it inspirational, so thank you for sharing and teaching me even during a difficult time in your life. i hope something wonderful is in store for you very soon. you certainly deserve it! good luck!

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  29. Happy Blog-a-versary. I just recently started reading Sense and Sensaibility and already love it. And what a wonderful post to capture the ideas and struggles behind the blog. Thank you for sharing and here is to many more blogging years.

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  30. Congratulations, Divina. For anyone who blogs, they sure know how much work goes into it and you've been doing a great job! Make a blog birthday wish! I hope it comes true.

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  31. Congratulations, Divina, to you and your brother!

    I am enjoying your blog. You really have a passion for what you write about, and you truly care about your readers...that comes through in your posts.

    Waiting is hard, but waiting on God is perhaps the most difficult thing we must do.

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  32. Congratulations on your brother's wedding!! A lovely picture!

    Congrats on your 1st blog birthday! Hip Hip Hoeray!! I wish you lots of fun & lots of inspiration in the future & last but not least a lot of enjoyment!

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  33. congratulation to your brother and his wife,divina!you are wonderful woman,i saw you!:))

    happy bloganniversary!

    you have only greats post.because you are full of talents,believe me...i admire you and i think you will have a wonderful way in life...patience and believes!hold on to it!

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  34. Divina, What a heartfelt post! I was so excited to see that you also cling to Jeremiah 29:11, One of my life verses! You are such a blessing Divina, I thoroughly enjoy that we have been able to become online buddies and I hope to be able to meet you one day! God Bless You Divina! You have a beautiful blog and a beautiful soul! Besitos!

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  35. Happy Birthday to Sense & Serendipity.

    I really agree with you - if it werent for the support of our Foodbuzz friends, it would be very hard for me to find that encouragement to continue blogging (and I've only been doing it for 3 months!)

    I'm glad you continued and think your blog is very inspiring.

    Sometimes things just don't go your way, but I believe things always happen for a reason and there are bigger and better things waiting for you out there!

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  36. Congratulations on your first year of blogging. I think I share a similar timeframe to you!

    I love what you are doing, and the purpose of your blog. It is so hard to lose a parent (I lost my dad 13 years ago - suddenly!), but there is strength in turning their memory into something powerful.

    Well done!

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  37. Happy Birthday to your blog!

    I'm sorry to hear about your situation and I wish I could just give you the biggest hug! I have to say I enjoy visiting your blog often because you always offer yummy recipes,very informative entries about nutrition and amazing photos. Hang in there and remember we're all here for you! :)

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  38. Congratulations om your first anniversary Divina. It's really great to know the background about you and how this blog was created. I'm glad you continue to write your blog. And hope you have much better years to come.

    Cheers,
    Tana

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  39. Happy blog 1st birthday! What an achievement to reach the one year mark and keep going, especially with the other trials in your life. Here's hoping that the next year is filled with many happy memories!

    Congrats on your brother's wedding. You look gorgeous in that dress! :)

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  40. What a wonderful tribute and kind words everyone has to say about you and your blog...you must be very pleased with your accomplishments, letting us all know what really matters in our lives and sharing a part of you that we all enjoy reading about so dearly...bless you and we all look forward to another year of you...

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  41. Oh Divina, I was so touched by your post. Thank you for being brave and sharing your story. I love your blog and I am so inspired by it. Thank you!

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  42. Congrats on the Birthday. You have encouraged me to make my food not only healthy but beautiful

    Thank you

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  43. Hi Divina,

    Happy Blogging Anniversary! Thank you for sharing your touching story and also this fantastic and inspirational blog. You should feel very proud that you have created and are maintaining such a wonderful record of something as important to people as food. Your words are so moving and your motives are driven with such compassionate and heartfelt emotion, that I am sure God will open for you all the doors to where you want to go in life. Wishing you the best of luck with everything and just to let you know that you and this blog will always have my support!

    Sanjana x

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  44. Happy Anniversary to your blog, Divine and to your brother and his new wife too, when is your turn? :)

    ..I'm so touched by your story, and I admire you for opening up yourself, your life, here...you are a good person and I'm glad I "met" you through blogging..

    BTW, you look great on that yellow gown.. :)

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  45. Happy Birthday to the blog, and more to the point, happy birthday to the renewal of your spirit. Your blog is a beautiful representation of your heart and mind, and you are so very generous to share it with the world. I hope the experience of writing it continues to bring newfound joy, peace of mind, and of course, delicious adventures.

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  46. COngrats Divina on a lovely post and a brave year of blogging even when you didn't want to. Thanks for sharing your stories and opening up to us. We are all much better off for it. (((hugs)))

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  47. Wow! Congratulations! That was a very thoughtful post you shared, its nice to learn a little bit more about the bloggers we follow besides just drooling over your beautiful pictures :)

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  48. Congrats on your first anniversary. You've come a long way in a short time. Well done!

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  49. Divina!!!! This is such a momentous occasion!! I can't believe it. I feel like I have known you for so long and yet, of course, it has not even been a year. You are such an inspiration to me and to so many others. I am so glad that you have found your place in this world, despite all of your seeming setbacks, even though I know you have much more to offer and will go so much farther in your lifetime. "Setbacks," if we can call them that, like not getting your Visa have placed you where you are today and for this I am thankful because in your loss, you have given us so much.

    I love your words, "a medium to share my whispering thoughts."

    You are a treasure. And I hope that no matter where you find yourself next, that you'll always be here where I (we) can find you and be a part of your life.

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  50. Congrats on the blog birthday! Beautiful wedding photo, too! :)

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  51. Divina, how brave of you to open up your life to all of your readers. You are such a strong young woman, with heap of talent! I wish nothing but the best for you. My father-in-law always says that life is electrically neutral: When the negatives start to weigh you down, you can expect many positives in the future to help even things out.

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  52. Happy Blog Birthday Divina and many, many happy returns! :D Thanks for sharing your wonderful stories and recipes with us. I love that picture of you too, your dress is so chic! :D

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  53. Happy Birthday to your blog!! :)

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  54. Wow! You are loved by many here! Congratulations on your blog birthday! Love your verses you shared and your story. Very touching. Keep up the good work and looking forward to many more birthdays to come :o)

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  55. Hi Divina,
    Happy Blogiversary! I found your blog through Foodbuzz, and love reading it. It's like a calm, healthy oasis in my day. I understand how you feel about not finding the work and opportunity you want. I work a little, but have been very much 'underemployed' for a few years now.
    I'm Canadian, and wanted to say I'm sorry to hear you had such a frustrating experience with visa and residency processes :(
    I hope you find the path you're looking for soon.

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  56. Thank you so much for all of your comments, kind, encouraging and uplifting words.

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  57. Congratulations and happy 1 year anniversary!

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  58. dear Divina
    A very happy B'day from Paris !!
    Congratulations I hope to be there also after one year and thanks for all the sharings ! and if you want to see how I fix a mango come and visit me !cheers pIerre

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  59. Hi Divina!
    Congrats! You are so talented and because of your blog, I start cooking and baking again. Same as you I do feel bad of what had happened to me for not being able to pursue the career I loved most which is being a Chef. Anyway, just stay strong cause God has a purpose for everything, just be patience for God will answered all our prayers.
    Thanks for always being a nice friend and for encouraging me that there is always an opportunity.

    Cheers!!!

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  60. @ Anonymous - It would be great to know who you are but thank you for your comment. I never thought that a simple blog would inspire someone like you to cook and bake again. I do hope that you would be able to pursue your career as a chef. I know you have the passion for it deep inside you. And you're so welcome..

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  61. A passionate piece! Mind sharing why you gave up the opportunity to teach? Teaching is such a fulfilling experience!

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  62. @ Anonymous - I can fully answer your question if you can write me through my email address or you can give me yours. You're absolutely right, teaching is a fulfilling experience. Do you teach cooking too?

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  63. It will be great to hear from you! I did a lot of teaching though not cooking. I love to eat, read a lot of food blogs too! cor_fin@yahoo.com

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  64. Honey, so sad what am about to share but: I been following you on twitter for a while and although I have visited your blog few times, I never took the time to read it properly. Bad girl.

    I'm doing it know and I'm so overwhelmed by your story and your honesty while writing. Thank you darling for sharing your true thoughts with us.

    I really wish you the best. And what's the best? Only God (and time) will tell, just keep the faith in yourself and wonderful things will arrive to your life. Congratulations on your blogoversary.

    xo

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  65. @ Heidi - Hi. Thank you for your comment. It's okay. I understand you have a lot of blogs to read too. Thank you for your wonderful comment and for the encouragemenat. It means a lot.

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  66. thank you for being so honest and frank in this post. it was really touching to read about your inner emotions and feelings as you cared for your dad, got turned down by the embassy, and faced competition in the food industry. but i would just like to encourage you not to lose hope. God is the designer of our lives, for sure He has a plan and purpose for your settling down here in the Phils. i myself am also unemployed (hehe), having resigned from a well-paying job to take care of my kids. sometimes i miss the fat paychecks and all the material things that i could have bought. but i've come to realize that if i had not resigned, being in the ratrace and having my life controlled by promotions, bonuses, rich clients, and fat salaries would just take me farther and farther away from God. it's uncanny that you should mention jer. 29:11, it is also one of my favorite verses. anyways, you are an undeniably talented cook and writer, and even though you say there is a lot of competition out there, you have what it takes to make it. so just wait on God and the opportunities will come. take care and God bless!

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  67. Anonymous - thank you for your comment and for your words of encouragement. Thank you for sharing your story as well and for not letting me lose hope. Although I'm still at lost on what to do next or still gaining confidence and courage within, your words of comfort means a lot to me. Thank you.

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