Thursday, July 3, 2014

Journey to Chicago!


Chicago is a wonderful place but my journey to the city is beyond wonderful. As much as I enjoy traveling with my husband, friends or family, sometimes traveling alone is a good thing. I've learned so much just in my journey but I would like to share 3 most important things with you:

We can never out give God. He is generous.
I was supposed to take Friday off so I could drive with the rest of the participants. Our conference for the Singles for Christ this year was in Chicago and I needed to go as their coordinator. We planned to drive midnight of Friday and arrive Friday afternoon (12 hour-drive). Month prior, I learned that it was my boss' birthday and she had planned to take a day off too. My hopes were down and was thinking of giving away my registration to someone else. This stressed me out a little and so I prayed. God quickly came to the rescue. I found out that I have accrued enough mileage to cover a round-trip flight to Chicago.  My flight was FREE! So I got to go to work Friday and flew out Friday evening. This trip was truly a will of God. I made it without hurting my pocket and my job. Thank you Lord for your generosity and faithfulness! 

Small talks can be big.
I decided to go straight to the airport after work and so I figured taking the train to the airport will be the smartest way to beat the Atlanta traffic. Inside the train, there was an interesting group of young men and women that caught my attention. In America, small talks are part of their culture. Especially in the South where you'll meet the friendliest people of all. I don't think the saying "don't talk to strangers" apply here. For instance, you are in the supermarket and a cashier asks you, "hi how are you?", you should respond, I'm good how about yourself?". Even though you don't really want to know how they really are, it's the norm here and I think it's nice. Anyway, a girl from this group approached the guy seating next to me. Out of the blue she asked him what he was reading then I was dragged in to the conversation.  Long story short I found out that they were from another state attending a Christian conference in Atlanta. Before she stepped out of the train with her group, she gave us a card with her church information. That young lady inspired me with her boldness in her faith and fearlessness to evangelize. I pray that I could have the confidence to be able to do that too. I should probably get myself a business card as well.hehehe. 

Entitlement is not good to your soul.
On the plane, I was assigned to seat in the middle. On the aisle seat, there was a lady who told me it's her first time to fly (here goes small talks again). A few minutes later, a guy in a crisp business suit came and he's claiming the aisle seat. Well, originally its his seat but the lady was scared to seat by the window. For a little bit, there was an awkward commotion. Flight attendants tried to fix the situation but they couldn't do anything because the flight was full. I offered my seat but she doesn't want to sit next to the entitled, arrogant guy. In the end, the lady with tears on her face sat by the window and the guy won his aisle seat. I felt helpless and there was really nothing I could do. All I did was pat the lady's back and told her everything will be fine. For the entitled guy, all I can say is bless your heart. Entitlement is basically putting yourself on the pedestal thinking you are awesome but cannot be awesome for others. For me, the most awesome people are those who can be selfless for others, just like Jesus. 

In my journey along to Chicago, I felt that God was always with me keeping me close to Him through all the circumstances that came and through all the people I've met along the way. Sometimes not reading a book or carrying an iPad is good to avoid shutting people out. I learned that He was present everywhere because I kept myself open to my surroundings. Jesus is present everywhere if He is within you. 

Behold I am with you, and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. Genesis 28:15


xoxo,
Joselle






Thursday, June 19, 2014

#100happydays



If you've been following me on Instagram, you'd know that I successfully finished my #100happydays challenge this month!!! Yipeee!

I've proven that it's possible to be happy 100 days in a row. However, it's not as easy as I thought it would be. There were days when I felt like crap especially when I'm missing my husband (huhuhu), and there were days when life just seems mundane. Whenever an uneventful day comes to an end and I had nothing posted for the challenge, what I do is I stop, reflect, and simply try my best to find something that will bring back the joy in my heart. It was a great way to put a smile on my face at the end of each day. When I try to look closely around me, I become more appreciative of what I've got and more sensitive to the needs of others. For some reason, when I focus less on myself and more on others, I get less anxious about my own needs. Taking on this challenge, I learned to find happiness in the little things and to be grateful in all the blessings from above.

Here's  my top 10 happiest days! 

I realize how truly blessed I am with:

1. My marriage. Reunited with my husband. I read somewhere that everyone cannot be a princess, but you can find someone that can make you feel like a princess. I'm glad I found mine!  



2. Opportunity to travel. Wandered Japan with my favorite travel buddy!



3. My mom. For her birthday, I asked her what she wanted and her wish was my command. That's actually nothing compared to her raising me to be who I am today.



4. My sisters. Taking care of them and seeing them grow with grace brings me joy!



5. Family. One for all, all for one!
6. Friends. When you're down, and troubled, and you need a helping hand, and nothing, whoa nothing's going right. (sing with me.lol)



7. Food. My sure comfort! Nomnomnom. Everytime I get irked by someone, I just tell myself, they must have skipped a meal. :P



8. Exercise. Scientifically, working out makes you happy... and sexy! lol



9. My creative outlet, my blog. Happy to share my sentiments and I've never thought that they actually value to others :)



10. Last but not the least, God. All these things are from Him, my source of joy!



All these things above are temporary and will pass but one thing I always keep in mind is true happiness is found in the paths of his commands. Psalm 119:35

Lord, help me to delight in the things that will bring me to eternal happiness. 

xoxo,
Joselle

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Jack Of All Trades

I grabbed my keys, hurried out the door and got inside my car. I turned the engine on and my car would not start. Not my lucky day. It was probably still sleeping (like me) that's what I thought. I tried once again, inserted the key and switched it on but still, it wouldn't start. I gave up trying after a few times. Fortunately, my mom kindly offered and lend me her car to drop my sisters off to the train station and to commute to work. While I was on the road, I called my uncle, Butch and asked him if he could check what went wrong with the car. He said it has something to do with the battery and he's willing to buy me a replacement when he gets home. How nice of him :)

My uncle stands as our second dad. He's always there to the rescue whenever we need manly help. 

When I used to drive my Lolo's old car 6 years ago, it annoyingly stopped in the middle of an intersection. I was stuck for half an hour and turned red with embarrassment for causing traffic. I had no AAA or side road assistance so my best option was to call my uncle and pray he'll pick up his phone. He just got in his office but he unhesitatingly went to where I was to rescue me. I will never forget that day. 

This father's day, I would like to honor the man who has always been there to help us when we are in need. To our car mechanic, carpenter, plumber, mover, electrician, photographer, driver, tailor, tax preparer, our jack-of-all-trades, thank you so much for all that you do for us. Happy Father's Day! We love you!

To our heavenly Father, thank you for blessing us with fathers who reflects the kind of love you have for us. 



xoxo,
Joselle

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Happy 2 Years!


When I started blogging back in June 2012, my pursuit was to write down how God was working in my life with the hope that others will find some inspiration and light as I share my life lessons, adventures as well as misadventures, my marriage, important milestones, and important people in my life. As I read back through all of my previous posts, I can't fathom how God worked wonders in my life and I'm truly grateful. He has blessed me abundantly through giving me my husband, the most loving man I've ever known, opportunity to  travel and see the world, caring family, stable job and a faithful community. My life is way far from perfect but by the grace of God, He makes everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). I also have my shares of heartaches and life's disappointments, but through daily prayer and through the holy spirit, I find consolation which exudes optimism and strong sense of tranquility in me. 

Blogging made reaching out to people across the world possible. With my positive and uplifting writing, I pray that you may find something that can be of worth to you. I also pray that God will continue to give me wisdom and graciously keep me as a woman who  loves Him with all her mind, heart, soul and strength. At the end of the day, my only wish is that my writing will always please Him and bring glory and honor to Him.

Thank you everyone for taking the time to read my thoughts and enduring some few lengthy posts. I appreciate your support! Special thanks to my husband for his unwavering support in all I do. Big hugs!!!

Happy 2nd year anniversary to us Journey of Joselle! 

I love statistics :) 
xoxo,
Joselle

Saturday, May 24, 2014

25th Wedding Anniversary of Ninong Butch and Ninang Ida!

I've only been married for 2 and a half years but I can't wait to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary too! :D All because I was very inspired by today's celebration of my aunt and my uncle's silver wedding anniversary and renewal of vows. In my honoring for them, I thought I should share it in my blog and hopefully my readers will be as inspired as I was. 

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. 
-Romans 12:9-18
These are the verses that best represent the secret of their 25 years of marriage.
  •      My family has been living under their roof for 6 years now and we’ve witnessed with our very eyes the genuine love they have for each other all these years.

  •      We’ve seen their kindheartedness in doing good not only to the family but also to other people outside the family and it’s all by the grace of God.
  •       My uncle never fails to surprise my aunt especially on important occasions like this. He can be so cheap on himself but when it comes to my aunt, he can be so generous. Like my husband, he’s also a member of the “happy wife happy life club” ;)
  •      My aunt’s love for my uncle is relentless like her fervent love for the Lord. She’s been supportive and proud of him in everything he does and she values his decisions as the head of the household.
  •      We’ve seen how faithful they both are to the Lord by serving Him through our CFC community and through our church.
  •      We hardly see them in arguments or raising their voice at each other, but when they get into one, they are quick to forgive one another.  
  •      We are beyond thankful and grateful to them for their warm hospitality in providing shelter for us and for their selfless love.
All these and more are what makes their marriage a testimony of a marriage designed by the Lord.

And what God binded together, let no man separate.  –Mark 10:9

Alan and I are inspired by your love for one another. My mom, my sisters and I are blessed to be part of this family. May your marriage persevere until the very end and may you keep touching other people’s lives. We love you!  

Happy 25th wedding anniversary! 

xoxo,
Joselle

Woke up early to help style the reception venue. Everything was DIY! (Do-it-youself)

We arranged the flowers the night before.

St. Benedict's Taylor lodge.

My pretty mom :)

Honored to be the chauffeur! 

Beautiful bride. Make up by Jovy (my sister), accessories by me.

Pleasure hosting the program for free. For future events and emcee job, let us talk about my rate! lol

We sang in the choir but first we took a selfie!

The most talented and creative groom who was behind everything!

Happy couple!

With their unico hijo who was also celebrating his birthday on the same day. 

Wedding entourage

Our family!

Photo-butch :)


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fernandezes in Japan: Osaka

The last city we visited was Osaka! Right after we returned our kimonos at the shop in Kyoto, we made our way by train to Dotonbori, Osaka to meet a family friend for dinner. 


The Mitamura family treated us for dinner at Oreno French (My French). It was the best French food I've had! They said that this chain is quite popular in Japan and it truly is. When we got there, there was a long queue and people were willing to wait to get in. Thankfully, Tita Beth and Lizette got there first and lined up for us so we didn't have to wait too long. This restaurant was different out of all the places I've been to. This is the kind of restaurant where you stand up while you eat. In this way, customers can leave right away as soon as they're done eating to give way to the next person in line. People really line up in here because the food not only has the taste of you're like in a luxurious restaurant but they are very affordable. We were told that the Japanese chefs used to work in France and decided to come home and bring the exquisite cuisine they mastered to their country men. Every bite was bursting with delightful flavors. All we could say were, mmmmmmmmmmmm, wow, OMG, oishiiiiiii! We had to ask for bread to help us clean our plate and make sure we scoop every savory drop left :)  

If you've been reading my travel blogs for quite sometime, more than the culture, scenery, and people, food is really one of the reasons why I like to go places and travel. This experience made me want to go to Paris all the more... someday :) 

Thank you Mitamura family for this lovely treat and the warm hospitality! We appreciate it so much and it was an honor to meet you. 


After that tasty dinner, we walked around Dotonbori and posed in front of the neon billboards and copied Glico running man.  


For our last night (huhuhu) we stayed at Water Hotel. We stayed at hotels where tourists wouldn't know about. Some of them were automated like a vending machine! LOL. You go in, choose your room on a screen by the entrance and when you get to the room, you insert your credit card or cash in a automated machine and voila, you're checked in! There are personnel in the hotel that can help you but they don't speak english well so I'm very glad my husband knew how to work around it like a local Japanese. Hotels in Japan are quite expensive so we pretty much saved a good amount of money because my hubby did his research. Thank you love!

Best tour guide, tiga bitbit ng bag, masseur, photographer, and husband ever! :)

The next day, we had some Takoyaki for brunch at Kukuru still in Dotonbori. One of Osaka's specialty is Takoyaki. They are made of wheat flour batter shaped in balls filled with diced octopus cooked in a takoyaki pan. Yummy!


For lunch, we met with a sweet Japanese newly wed who was a Filipino major, Yuri-chan. She also stayed as a border at Alan's house in the Philippines like Junki, Hiro and Taku. We had some Kushikatsu (deep fried kebabs). They fry any meat and even vegetables. As courtesy to the others, you deep your skewer only one time for sanitary reason. 

Speaking of courtesy, I love Japan's courtesy rules like when I went inside Uniqlo's fitting room, there was a sign that stated, "please remove your shoes before entering". Same with some of the bathrooms where you need to remove your shoes and wear their slippers on. Another one is standing on the right side (or left depends on where you are) of the escalator to give way to the people who wants to walk their way up. Also lining up when entering the train. They also don't give tips here. In the US, it is a courtesy to give gratuities for a good service you've received but here in Japan, it is rude. However, they pour their hearts out in serving you without anything in return which I'm absolutely impressed. There was one time when we took a cab (that automatically opens!) and when it's time for us to pay, I wanted to tell the driver to keep the change but I was reminded of what Alan told me that it is rude to tip so I kept my mouth shut and took our change. I'm sure there are a lot more courtesy rules that's why Japan is an organized country because people follow common courtesy. So if you're a tourist, you better study some of their courtesy rules to avoid getting into any trouble. 

Back with our friend Yuri, after lunch, she joined us and helped me shop for some beauty products in Shinsaibashi! hehehe. I'm fascinated with Japanese porcelain skin and hers is spotless! Parang walang pores, nakakainis! LOL. She recommended some products that she uses like Japanese facial masks, cc cream, even lip glosses, and eyeliners. Thank you very much Yuri! :) 

After shopping for some pasalubongs, we headed straight to Kansai airport. 


Me posing in the Tomare sign, which means STOP... right now, thank you very much. (Spice girls baby!) LOL. This is the end of my travel to Japan posts. Thank you very much for reading my blog. O diba parang nag-Japan na rin kayo. hehehe. I hope you find this helpful for when you travel to Japan. Gambatte and Sayonara! 



xoxo,
Joselle

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fernandezes in Japan: Kyoto

Before hopping in the train to Kyoto, I took one last look and marveled at Tokyo's modernity and the dynamic group of people. I found myself entertained just sitting by the train station. The fashion is quite interesting especially for the women. For men, not so much. hehe. I am flabbergasted on how these women can effortlessly walk so fast in their 4-5 inches heels. I wish I could too but my bunion definitely won't be in favor of it. hehe.

Off we whisk to Kyoto via Shinkansen which took us less than 3 hours. As soon as we arrived, we checked in at Grand Bach hotel near the station. It was newly opened so the rate was not too high. 


We asked for a list of restaurants around the area from the front desk and we found Tsujikawa, a restaurant that serves Beef Wagyu! Alan said, wagyu is a kind of meat that comes from cows that are stimulated to drink sake or beer for their fat becomes soft by doing so. I had to try it for myself and it was really soft and tender! We also got Menchi Katsu which was a different kind of Tonkatsu. It was deep fried breaded ground pork or sometimes beef. It was good but I like the one in Yabu Philippines better! hehehe. The room capacity and crew was limited so the service was very intimate. I believe there's only one chef and a server so the food came out as soon as it was cooked, hot and fresh. I remembered there was a party of more than 10 people who wanted to go in but they weren't welcomed unfortunately cos the chef couldn't accommodate them all. That's another thing I liked about the Japanese, they like quality vs. quantity. They wouldn't allow their workmanship to suffer just to earn money. They are perfectionists and they like to master their work really well. Even street food tastes so good!


After our nice dinner, we had a romantic stroll in downtown Kyoto and decided to grab some sweets and tea while talking about our plans for the future. I loved Japan's green tea latte of any kind so I drunk it whenever there's a chance. Then went back to our hotel and was delighted to find out that they serve free midnight snack. Kain na naman! lol. The hotel prepared ochazuke and drinks.



Our hotel has a public bath amenity so we decided to make use of it after eating. Public baths are aplenty in Japan and is a part of their culture so I was curious and wanted to go and experience it. Gosh tt was uncomfortable! hahaha. After 5 mins in the hot pool with nude women, I went back to our room and decided to shower privately instead. hehehe. 

The next day, we woke up early and went to see another world heritage, the Kinkakuji or Golden Pavilion. It was so breath taking! 


Then we met with 2 other couples in a Kimono rental shop called Yumeyakata by Gojo station. So happy to be reunited with my sister in-law Risa-chan and meet her boyfriend, Yuki-kun for the first time. Also, I was so glad to see Junki-kun again and meet her girlfriend Tomoyo-chan. It was a fun triple date!


It is a must to try out a kimono in Japan. Kimono is their national costume and most of the time worn on special occasions. The silk garments and the designs are gorgeous! However, it is heavy and uncomfortable. It is too hard to wear the kimono by yourself cos there were just too many layers so there were women who helped us wear them and they were serious in tying the strings on you and wrapping up the Obi (belt) tightly to make you look skinny. hahaha. I couldn't breathe. lol. However, it enhanced our posture so we walked the streets of Kyoto very much lady-like. hehe.


They allow you to wear the Kimono outside the shop for 6 hours so off we went to Gion for photo op in the shrines and had lunch. 

xoxo,
Joselle