Beautiful Things at the Pursuit Manila Gathering

by

You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of the dust.

You make beautiful things, you make beautiful things out of us.

Beautiful Things by Gungor

I was already running late last Saturday for my first Pursuit Manila Gathering. Since I was not familiar with the venue, La Creperie Moderne, I had to ask the lady traffic enforcer in the area. But she just stared at me. Good thing a guy who was sitting his car, overheard my conversation with the enforcer and gave me instructions where to go.

The heels I wore that afternoon added to the stress of being late. But as soon as I entered the restaurant, not only did my feet relaxed but my whole body as well. I was greeted with a smile and a “Miss Jude!” by Rhiza, who organized the event.  She apologized for the “mess” because they were still setting up one area of La Creperie. Turns out I was not late at all 🙂 The place was slowly transforming into a magical forest with branches hanging over the tables, red and white roses covering the white corner wall and a charming chandelier hangs elegantly. The tables were lined with more flowers and succulent plants c/o Cheeky Bunas.

with Rhiza after the gathering

with Rhiza after the gathering

I was about to take my seat, when I saw this familiar face taking photos. I was surprised to see Kaity! She and I were classmates at a blogging workshop in 2013, then she became one of the loyal patrons of our Pickings products. We chatted, giggled and took some photos.

The Pursuit Manila space for that afternoon was slowly taking shape and more women came in and joined the table where Kaity and I were sitting. We were told that the attendees were grouped accordingly and that our table was set for the “Moms” in the group.

Soon, Bea and Karen handed our name tags and strategically placed our giveaways on the table. They were verse cards designed by Elle Battung, sweet treats like cake in a jar and cookies by Bake Bites. Yey, also for Art and Sky’s Washi tapes and personalized rings by Hannah of Signetura.

pursuit

The Gathering started with a worship song led by the sisters Jem, Jam and their guitar. There’s a sweetness to the soothing voice of a singer and the acoustic sound of the guitar. Makes my worship more intimate 🙂 The girls’ rendition of One Thing encouraged the to sing along with them.

After setting the mood, Rhiza welcomed everyone to the event. Seeing my blog designer, who is so much younger than me, host an event like this makes me really proud. I’m like an older sister in the sidelines cheering her on. Though we only know each other professionally, I really hope I could get to know her better soon. Her pleasant disposition and her cheery eyes are indeed window to her joyful soul.

She reminded us that whatever God has called us to do, we should just go out and do it. Whatever it is, may it be a job, pursuing a career path or probably just being brave in sharing our faith to others. As believers of Christ, we need not be embarrassed or be privy about our spiritual life. As it says in 1 Peter 3:14-16 CEV:

14 Even if you have to suffer for doing good things, God will bless you. So stop being afraid and don’t worry about what people might do. 15 Honor Christ and let him be the Lord of your life.  Always be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about your hope. 16 Give a kind and respectful answer and keep your conscience clear. This way you will make people ashamed for saying bad things about your good conduct as a follower of Christ.

Sisters Jam and Jem led the worship

Sisters Jam and Jem led the worship

After her brief introduction, Bea and Cheeky distributed the materials for our craft project that afternoon. We were supposed to make floral crowns. All of us moms seemed to be enjoying twisting the wire, rolling the floral tape and cutting the flowers to create our very own tiaras. We were the last table to finish and none of us dared to have our crowns judged by Cheeky. I think this is what broke the ice in the group.

Moms serious at floral crown making

Moms serious at floral crown making

proud of our creation with Kaity, Peachy, Ira, Lorby and Charlene

proud of our creation with Kaity, Peachy, Ira, Lorby and Charlene

After getting our hands sticky with floral tape and flower stems, we headed to the crepe buffet table to make our own sweet crepes. Assorted fruits like bananas, mangoes, strawberries, to be smothered with peanut butter or melted chocolate filled the table. You have the option to top your crepe with chocolate syrup, nuts, crushed Oreo cookies and powdered cinnamon. The tea was so fragrant and relaxing that the moms took a strong liking to it, especially me because I love tea!!!

Inside was chopped mangoes, sliced strawberries, peanut butter. Topped with nuts, crushed Oreo then drizzled with choco syrup

Inside was chopped mangoes, sliced strawberries, peanut butter. Topped with nuts, crushed Oreo then drizzled with choco syrup

 

After that sweet course, Stef Juan, a book editor from OMF Literature, shared her career journey with the Lord. I found it fascinating because as a girl she really wanted to be a Dentist. She never knew she would be a writer until her sixth grade teacher pushed her to pursue that path. I had the opposite experience growing up. As I have introduced myself in this blog, I am a Dentist by profession. As a girl, I was already writing short stories but all were done in secret. No one knows about my desire to write. Then my mother told me to shift courses in college and pursue Dentistry instead. But writing beckons me, that’s why I am doing this now.

After Stef’s sharing, the artist and fellow sister in Christ, Julianne did a “Julie Andrews” kind of singing (as she called it) as she played her guitar and sang to the women in the group. The first song she sang was called “Beautiful Things” and her cover was fantastic that I was more inclined to hearing her sing that again that the original artist 🙂 I was kind of hoping she would sing my favorite song of hers, “Grateful” and she did. That song really impacted me a lot especially when I was just starting out as a mom and figuring out what I want to do with my life. Will I be just a mom? Is there something else for me out there?

That was the time my passion for writing came back. I started writing on Blogger as a platform for my thoughts. If I remembered it right, one of my first posts then in 2010 was a Youtube link of Julianne’s song Grateful. I did not write anything but the words of her song says what my heart-felt at that time. “I’m grateful… showed me the way back to my beautiful.” My beautiful then aside from God, was my writing… I checked that old site at blogger as I wrote this and I was tearful as I see it still up. To prove my earlier statement, check out Got Any Grapes. 

Fan Mode :)

Fan Mode 🙂

Then, Julianne shared the back story of my favorite song and I couldn’t help but stand in awe at how magnificent are God’s ways. She wrote the song after she found “the light of day” in that dark moment in her life. Indeed, God uses each broken piece of our life to create an awesome masterpiece. He makes the dark days beautiful again because He does makes ALL THINGS BEAUTIFUL!

God did the same thing to me years ago. The life I was hoping was crashing right in front of me and I don’t know what to do. Quitting was the option then. But God found me again and this time I was ready. By his grace, I am here. Not perfect but being perfected. Not holy but being made holy. Not by my works but by the grace of God alone. This song has come full circle in my life and there is no other way to describe how I am feeling inside but grateful.

I lost track of time that afternoon. Considering that I had to rush to a discipleship meeting after. It was so short a time to get to know the moms I shared the table with and the younger yet gracious ladies in the group as well. That afternoon was a confirmation for me to pursue what the Lord has carved in my heart a long time ago. And that is to write through Him and for Him. To share his love to those who have ears to listen. I may not have 1001 followers or blog subscribers or endorsements from well-established brands, but having to encourage one life is all that matters. I left the place taking with me new friends, new opportunities, a renewed passion, and full heart! Thank you for an awesome opportunity!

The Moms at Pursuit Manila

The Moms at Pursuit Manila

If you’d like to be part of a group of women who love God yet pursue their passions for Him, then check out the Pursuit Manila Community.

Were you part of the second gathering of Pursuit Manila? Can you give me a shout out and share what’s the most “beautiful thing” you’ve learned from that event? Let’s talk!


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