My birthday (Julie's) was last week and I just wanted to share some of the special blessings that surrounded it. We are still very close to the couples that live in our old apartment building on campus (married without children), and many of us have birthdays in the month of July, so we had a combined party with food, funny games, and blessings for each other. Since Brian serves as Regional youth coordinator, we're also included in regional staff activities. They also have a lot of July birthdays, so we had another combined party at Tita Gen's house with hamburgers, hot dogs, and more fun games! We fit in well here since Filipinos love to have parties and so do we! :)
My birthday happened to fall on a Friday, one of the days my APNTS 'English Development' class meets. I'm not a person who makes a big deal out of my own birthday, so I was super surprised when I walked in the classroom and all the students were waiting with birthday messages written on the board! They sang 'Happy Birthday' and we shared snacks together that they had prepared. I cried as we prayed together - I am so overwhelmed by their love and compassion. No job is perfect, and many times it's easy to complain about administrative issues surrounding my teaching positions. But recently, I've started to realize how much God has blessed me with my students. They are all very serious with their studies, and we have a lot of fun in class, but more importantly than that - every day when we finish and are about to leave, they ALWAYS say, "Thank you, Julie." Why do they say that? We never do anything life-changing or extremely important... we just work on pronunciation. But they always say thank you. And every day I'm touched by how much they impact my life... I should be the one thanking them every day! So, here are a few pics of my amazing friends in 'English Development'.....
Brian gets an award this year for being such a great husband on my birthday! He arranged for a babysitter, so he and I actually had a real date! Those don't happen too much these days. ;) He also got me a very exciting gift that I have been wanting for a really long time! After college, I fell in love with baking, but ovens aren't very common in the Philippines, so our apartments don't have them. After we had been here one year with no oven, we finally splurged and bought a toaster oven that I use for my baking. But, it's hard to find baking pans to fit in it! :) So, Brian bought me silicon muffin cups! I can bake just the number I need since they are separate.... and they are so easy to use! The muffins literally fall out and the muffin cup is practically clean! They are great - I highly recommend them!
my first batch of muffins :)
my precious oven :)