2004 In Focus
For me personally, it was a year of surprises, testings, great joy and also sorrow. It was also a year of many important life lessons. There were some regrets and disappointments as well but in the end I hope every experience has indeed served as a lesson for me and that I am a better, wiser and humbler person for them. As someone who believes in a Being who is not only the epitome of love but also of wisdom, I will continue to believe that "....EVERYTHING work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.....". I have no choice but to believe that. How else can I find hope in the uncertainties of life? This promise has been one of my greatest consolation and strength in troubled times. When I spotted it in the Bible years ago, I thought I've found a priceless treasure. It gives me great hope to know that God is able and willing to bring all my experiences together and fulfill His purposes through them.
So as I step into 2005, I want to reflect on some of the things, events and people who have been a significant part of my life in 2004. Some might still follow me into '05 but some might not. I do not know. But what I do know is that they have all left their mark on me and changed me one way or another. Some for better, some for worse.
Here they are (not in any particular order).
Music/Songs of the Year.....
I Dream- Sylvester
Inspires me to continue to live my dream
Variations on Pachelbel's Canon In D - Jeffery Michael
This piece connects me with my spiritual side. It is comforting, encouraging, uplifting, inspiring and healing all at once
Everything To Me & Can't Live A Day - Avalon
They accurately express how much Christ means to me.
I Promise - Stacy Orrico
I never thought I would dare make such a promise to a friend but I did and by God's grace I hope I can fulfill it.
Others worth mentioning
Angels Brought Me Here/ A Moment Like This/ An Jing/ You Were There
Movies of the Year....
Passion of Christ
Well worth my 2-year wait. It has the kind of effect that only His sheep can understand and appreciate.
Simple yet profound
Books of the Year....
The Purpose Driven Life - Rick Warren
Taught me in a nutshell what my life is all about
Orthodoxy - GK Chesterton
As Philip Yancey puts it, "it brought freshness and a new spirit of adventure to my faith".
The Sacred Romance & Waking the Dead - John Eldredge
It's scary how much God spoke to me through those pages.
Treasured Friends - Anne Hibbard
It was a gift from a friend. I identified with it so much that I covered most of the empty spaces with my own thoughts and notes.
Events of the Year.....
New found friendship with Chii
This has to be the biggest surprise of the year for me. Totally unexpected. I've never thought I could be so absorbed and affected by friendship. Some of my happiest and saddest moments can be found here. It has inspired me to do many things I didn't know I am capable of. There simply are too many lessons to be learned. But the biggest one was when God showed me how impoverish I was in my self-sufficiency (besides the lord of course). Next, was the immense disillusionment and pain that came when I took my eyes off the Giver and unto the gift. There is no denying now that we can only love others in a healthy way when we maintain our focus on the source of perfect love - God himself.
Another surprise. I have never been so addicted to a show as much as I am to this one. Spending a lot of hard earn $$$ without a thought and behaving in a way so unlike myself.
Now I'm half regretting spending all those dollars on Idol.
People of the Year.....
It is amazing how much God illumine me through her. If I can sum this year up in one word, it has to be CHII!
Somehow she didn't realize how much God used her and her struggles as a mirror for me and my own struggles.
My oldest and most faithful friend. Last year was just as much a significant year for her as it was for me. She embodies what the song, I Dream, was all about. She showed me how to dream and pursue it despite all the obstacles and limitations facing her. I hope one day she realizes what a hero she had been.
We only managed to catch up a couple of times last year. But seeing her changed life in Christ has helped strengthened my faith. Her simple word of thanks for sharing the gift of Christ with her is one that can cover over a thousand discouragement.
She showed me that a person doesn't have to believe in Christ to be loving, gracious, and even heroic in the face of human need. To me, she is the ultimate hero of 2004.
The last quarter of 2004 was one where I feel the youngest, thanks to Sly!
Sermon of the Year....
Facing Life's Challenges by Rev Bill Crowder of RBC ministries. There is an excerpt of it in my September entry here. It is the kind of message that you know will see you through many rough terrains.
Blog of the Year.......
Real Live Preacher rlp brought me closer to my Christianity than a dozen theological books put together.
Lessons of the Year.......
FRIENDSHIP, love, forgiveness, preserverance, humility, tolerance, trust, temptation, focus, variety, faithfulness
It gave me the private space I craved so much for
Keeps me in touch with people whom I do not have the privilege to see as often as I wish
My dream of learning to play a musical instrument finally came true. It will be a place I run to when words are inadequate to express my feelings