*FAITH, *MARRIAGE, Down Memory Lane, Relationships

MIKAtolika: What’s in a Name?

Let me start by saying that this blog (which I started a little over a decade ago) isn’t new when it comes to “change.” It has experienced several theme changes, rebranding, etc. in the past years. But what makes this “new” different from past changes is that personally, I also experienced a major change in my life.

A new chapter. A transition. A change in life season — I GOT MARRIED! 😉

Photo by Creative Juices Photography

And with it comes a mix of different preferences and priorities compared to when I was still single — including the topics I want to write about. A few months into my engagement, I already thought about the word play for the topic closest to my heart: my (Roman) Catholic faith.
[I’m particular with the “Roman” part because the Catholic Church has other members who belong to other “rites.” The Philippines, though, predominantly practices the “Roman rite” that’s why we’re called “Roman Catholics” — but there are also Byzantine Catholics, Greek Catholics, Maronite Catholics, etc. who are all in communion with Rome — and that’s for another blog post altogether!]

Anyway, I prayed about it and true enough, I was able to incorporate my nickname into it with the help of the Holy Spirit’s prompting.

“Mika” is my nickname and “Katolika” is the Filipino term (I’m from the Philippines!) for “Catholic” —

Hence, MIKAtolika! ❤

YOUR NAME IS PART OF YOUR ANOINTING

I’m maintaining this blog so I can learn more and go deeper when it comes to my own faith. I don’t claim to be an expert nor a perfect person because just like YOU, I’m an unworthy and perfectly imperfect person who is loved by a perfect God! I’m a work in progress. What I do know is I’m a cradle Catholic who used to have weak faith — “weak” in the sense that I didn’t really have a personal relationship with Jesus back then. It was only a few years back when I was “re-converted” to the true essence of my Catholic faith (thanks to my different Catholic charismatic communities — more about them in another post, too!), and I will be honest with you, it has been a daily (spiritual) battle ever since.

Even as of this writing.

But I’m always grateful for the Lord’s grace and mercy that empower me every. single. day. Part of that is His daily reminders of what my life’s mission really is, which is already present in my given names.

In one of the Jesuit-inspired silent retreats I attended, there was one passage we were required to read and I’m convinced that God revealed to me who I am through my name because my fellow retreatants read the same passage but received different messages. The passage I’m talking about is entitled “Recover the Stars” by Fr. Jojo Magadia, SJ.

There’s a line in that passage that talked about the “tiller of the soil.” Fr. Magadia wrote that tillers of the soil learn to wait on nature, which teaches them that her cycles cannot be hurried, that she ripens the harvest in her own good time, if she decides to ripen it at all. The tiller still tills the soil, nevertheless, but with “great patience and great placidity,” willing “to watch the grinding mills of God.” They have this almost “blind belief” that in the end, nature, “lush, inscrutable, irresistible—shall work her will in the end,” guided by a God who ceaselessly labors in creation.

Tillers of the soil also labor tirelessly, who plant and water and weed, but in the end can only wait on God who alone can bring new life from the earth and make it bear fruit.

Since that retreat was Jesuit-inspired, I was also made aware of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s spiritual exercises and prayers, such as the Suscipe. I’ve always known that my first name, “Mikhaela,” is the female counterpart of the Archangel Michael’s name, which means “who is like God. On the other hand, I researched my second name, “Georgette,” before and I’ve always known it means “farmer. But when I Googled it again on the same day I read the passage, I was blown away to read its other meaning: “tiller of the soil. When I found that Google search, I couldn’t help but receive God’s meaning for my life through my two combined names, “Mikhaela Georgette.” I realized that I’m a “farmer” or “tiller of the soil” “who is like God” (as in holy or made in His image). Add to that the season I was in then, and having complete trust or surrender to God (the meaning of Suscipe) made perfect sense to me.

It’s like the nature in the passage means God in my life, the cycles as my seasons (pruning, waiting, etc.)—and I’m a tiller who surrenders all to Him!

Except surrendering to God isn’t easy. You and I know that.

And surrendering to God? That’s a whole new and wide topic to write about.

Well, I’m starting with THIS. 🙂

❤ ❤ ❤

TO GOD BE THE GLORY ALWAYS AND FOREVER!


Do you know your name’s meaning?
What’s your reaction to God’s call for your life through your name?

P.S.: “Mika” means “beautiful fragrance”
when used on its own. Mine’s just a nickname,
but it’s still wonderful to know the meaning behind it.

Standard
*FAITH, Down Memory Lane, Marked on the Calendar, Year Enders

My Year of Provisions and Transitions

photo taken on December 30, 2019

For most of my holiday gatherings this year, I tried to ask those I met with, “WHAT ARE YOU MOST THANKFUL FOR THIS YEAR, 2019?”

All kinds of answers come up, and when it’s my turn, my most obvious answer was my engagement plus God’s provisions for my and my fiance’s wedding AND marriage preps.

This year, we got engaged, budgeted to pay for our wedding suppliers, purchased our first major investment, and of course, attended seminars (some required, some we decided on our own) here and there as preparation.

Yes, we’re not just preparing for our wedding, which will last for only one day — more importantly, we’re preparing for our lifetime commitment to MARRIAGE. 🙂

This year, I transitioned from a girlfriend to a fiancee. In the coming days, I’ll be transitioning from fiancee to wife. For most of 2020 and beyond, I’ll be spending my days not just for myself, but also for my (future) husband… and if God allows already, our first child, then second… then third… (pray for us!). After being single for three decades of my life, I’m answering God’s call in being married for the rest of my life to the one who can help me do His mission here on earth better. I know that’s a lot to digest. But I believe I’ll be living more decades as a married woman (I plan to live at least until 90 years old! In Jesus’ mighty name!) than as a single girl, and with God by my side through it all, I’m not worrying.

Sure, there are many things to learn (and unlearn) as I continue with the transitions that come with the season I’m in, but mosty, I AM EXCITED! 😉

So yes, I thank God for His provisions. I’m also thankful that I’m given this chance to transition in the direction He wants me to take.

Anyway, I’ll keep this year-ender short and simple. As I already shared to some people, here are MORE good questions (shared to me by my sister) to reflect on as we end 2019 and start 2020 — use these as you evaluate and think through this past year and trust God for a new year. (You may even opt to write them in your journal to make it more meaningful and memorable!) 😀

  1. What’s one thing you can do this year to increase your enjoyment of God?

  2. What’s an impossible prayer you can pray?

  3. What’s the most important thing you could do to improve your family life?

  4. In which spiritual discipline do you most want to make progress this year?

  5. What’s the single biggest time-waster in your life, and how can you redeem the time?

  6. What’s the most helpful new way you could strengthen your church?

  7. For whose salvation will you pray most fervently this year?

  8. What’s the most important way, by God’s grace, you will try to make this year different from last?

  9. What one thing could you do to improve your prayer life this year?

  10. What single thing can you plan to do this year that will matter most in ten years? In eternity?

❤ ❤ ❤

photo by CJ Alayon Go of Creative Juices Photography

A blessed 2020 to all!!!

TO GOD BE THE GLORY ALWAYS AND FOREVER!

Standard
SPECIAL FEATURE: The Travelers, The World (TRAVEL)

Featured Traveler: Youmi and GEORGIA

As a continuation of my travel blog project (which started all the way back in 2012, wherein I feature different travelers who have been to unique destinations OR have unique experiences in familiar places), I’m featuring someone who has been to a Eurasian country that has that Eastern European charm without the costly Schengen visa– and- Euro combo needed when one wants to travel to Europe — I’m talking about my friend, Youmi, and her trip to the enchanting country of GEORGIA (not to be confused with the U.S. state). 😉

Youmi in Chicago, Illinois, USA

For those dreaming to travel to Europe, Georgia may not be part of the Schengen states, but it’s a good place to start! It’s a country that’s half Eastern Europe and half Western Asia, making it unique already because you can be in two continents depending on what part you find yourself in. And for Filipinos like me, applying for a Georgian visa is easier than the traditional European Schengen visa because it can be applied online (e-visa) through https://www.evisa.gov.ge/GeoVisa/en/VisaApp. Very interesting, indeed!

So, let’s get to know more about Youmi, her travel background, and her life-changing trip to Georgia! *hint, hint*

“I started traveling around the Philippines only and I enjoyed it so much, so I thought, ‘What more if I travel to other countries?’ That’s when I tried to go to Hong Kong where the nearest Disneyland is located. After that, traveling to other countries became part of my ‘goals,'” Youmi said when asked how her love for traveling started.

As of this writing, she has been to a total of ten (10) countries outside the Philippines: 🇭🇰🇲🇴🇬🇪🇺🇸🇸🇬🇰🇷🇲🇦🇲🇨🇯🇵🇼🇸 — can you guess what these flags are? 🙂

In Georgia, the major places she visited were Tbilisi, Narikala, Gudauri, and Signagi…

flea market in Tbilisi

Georgian bread worth 1 Lari – the official currency of Georgia (around Php17)

various artworks sold in Narikala

Georgian wood art

free amusement at Mtatsminda Park

Old Tbilisi

Georgian National Museum

inside the Georgian National Museum

Old Tbilisi

Signagi

Wine World in Signagi

food and drinks at Wine World

Bodbe Monastery in Signagi (the main religion in Georgia is Christianity, under the Georgian Orthodox Church)

snow in Signagi

…her most unforgettable experience, though?

It was in Georgia where Youmi got engaged to the love of her life, James! ❤

Mtatsminda Park – the place where James asked Youmi to be his wife!

Gudauri ski resort (located at the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range) – where Youmi experienced her first now, with her engagement ring to boot!

Youmi and James in Georgia

As someone who has been through that moment” (a.k.a. a marriage proposal) most females dream of, I could imagine how Youmi felt! Each engagement is unique and special, and I pray for a great marriage for these two all the days of their lives — which all started in Georgia! They actually got civilly married there, which required notarization from the Georgian Consulate in Manila in order to be recognized locally… no worries, though. The couple planned a Christian ceremony anyways! Life-changing, no? 😀

What started in Georgia will continue as Youmi lives her life as a wife and mother. She plans to travel to more places, including her dream destination, Iceland (mine, too!), because for her, “Travel is freedom. It is my breather. I travel when I want a reset in all the stresses I have in life. I also travel when I feel that my life is becoming routinary. I travel to live fully, to learn in every place, and to allow the world to shape me in becoming the best person I can truly be.”

Her quick- and-easy travel tips are:

  • Research and plan for your trip
  • Pack less (because less is more!)
  • Get good shoes and walk everywhere if you can
  • Go with no expectations (inconsistencies/surprises are part of the experience)
  • Buy and try new things — something that will make you remember the place

So what are you waiting for? Georgia is a beautiful country and after Youmi‘s sharing, it automatically became part of my “countries I want to travel to” list — I even have a hashtag in mind already: #GeorgetteInGeorgia WAHAHAHAHA! 😛

❤ ❤ ❤

*all photos in this feature are from Youmi herself


For more of my other featured travelers on this blog, click HERE.

Standard