Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our 2008 Letter - Merry Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas from the warm south!

Al and I are now Austin, TX residents for just more than a year now. The four seasons were great ... oh-so beautiful spring and fall, tolerably hot and humid summer and very, very mild winter. We finally had our first taste of snow in Texas a few days ago. (It was just actually a flurry or wet snow that fell during the night and that melted away way before noon time.) But we, like most of the Austinites, went crazy snapping photos. Mababaw ang kaligayahan :)

So as mentioned in our letter last year, we did move in to our new house right before Christmas last year as planned. Although it was stressful and tiring to move "on our own" without the help of Baranggay Boise, it was still exciting! Also, moving from our temporary apartment to settling in a house gave us a relaxed feeling of permanency. I know, I know… it's just a house. Nevertheless though, it did feel better than being the nomads that we were in the apartment.

A year later, too, Al has settled in his new job at AMD already. Of course, at first, he felt that he is not able to contribute much because the technology is entirely new to him - specially because his job required him to drive technical solutions! He eventually got the hang of it and has become effective that he got a "spotlight award" and a little bonus for saving the company million$$$. :) We just praise God that He has enabled Al to contribute to AMD and that he still has the job despite a couple of lay-offs already. (Continue to pray for us though as rumors continue to abound that AMD is laying off another batch next year.)

As for Rela, she stayed at home the whole year doing this and that. Like housewifey stuff of learning more recipes (think turkey!), painting the house walls, managing the household purse and researching family-building options and jumping through hoops as we take it one day at a time. She’s been occupied maintaining and building relationships with family, friends, new neighbors and church family. She’s also practicing her hosting skills (ahem…) with many get-togethers and out-of-town visitors. She’s honing her “travel agent” skills with the multiple trips we’ve been in the year. And of course, learning how to blog, visiting/reading blogs and actually blogging … A LOT! Phew!!! The list goes on… the work of a wife is never done…

Meanwhile, we are having fun discovering Texas - historic buildings, parks, restaurants, etc. In Austin, two of the more known spots are the State Capitol (being the Texas' capital city) and the Bullock Museum. San Antonio was a frequent place to visit as well - our favorite spots being SeaWorld, Riverwalk, Alamo and the King Williams District. Plenty of nice places here, so come, make your way to Texas and visit!

Last but definitely not the least, we have serendipitously found a church family in Gateway Hill Country Church (GHCC). We saw an ad for a bible study in the nearby neighborhood's newsletter and we contacted them. Pastor Jeff and his son, Peter , the worship leader and youth pastor visited us and shared us their vision as church planters and we have since then been plugged in. Just like the churches that we attended in the past, the bible is preached, the music is upbeat (very!) and the people are folksy-friendly. We were soooo glad to find a local church family who we could share life's ups and downs.

The Experiencing God study that a lot of us, new members of GHCC, went through was awesome. (We have since then started another session with the rest of the Manigsacas and a new couple friend here.) It puts into perspective how God is always working around us and inviting us to a real relationship with him so that He can work through us.
So here we are… another year older, welcoming new lives, saying goodbye to some and another year of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord... So, what is our gift to the birthday celebrant?

We heard that the only thing he wants from us is our lives - and we wondered if our lives were "good enough". Well… we got this inspiring piece from a fellow blogger Gramma 2 Many (who in turn got it from Mountain Wings publication. I also did some minor edits.) and wanted to share it with you all. (See post below.)

Once more, Merry Christmas … beyond the annual letter/card-sending, mutual gift-giving, carol-singing,, tree-decorating , wreath-hanging and star-lighting kind! And on the coming New Year, may you ponder about and give the only birthday gift that the birthday celebrant wants - YOU!!!

7 ADD YOUR COMMENT!:

Lady Prism December 25, 2008 at 5:53 AM  

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!

Gramma 2 Many December 31, 2008 at 12:17 PM  

Happy New Year to you and your family!! We can look forward (?) to many changes in the coming year, I am sure.
Thanks for the mention in the below post. I thought it was very thought provoking.

Joy in the Burbs... December 31, 2008 at 4:34 PM  

I'm so glad you enjoy Austin. We really enjoy living in Texas as well. My oldest daughter would move to Austin in a minute. She loves it up there.
Glad you found a church home. That is so important when you move. It really is an opportunity to meet other people in your community and to grow spiritually. That's always #1 on our list too when we move.
I wish you a Happy New Year.

Joy

Gramma 2 Many January 9, 2009 at 2:30 PM  

Where are you? Am missing you!!

nel's bebi February 19, 2009 at 2:31 PM  

belated Christmas and New Year greetings Al and Rela!!!
teka, bat wala nang updates to?! avid reader ako neto ha (through my google reader kaya madalang ako makacomment)

flor trabado-esteban February 26, 2009 at 8:07 AM  

Hello, Rela, Kumusta na? We got your letter! Thanks a lot for remembering us:) - Flor

A Few of My Favorite Songs


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