A Farm Visit

Farm Visit-27I don’t like to live in a farm. That has been my thought since my family moved here in Fort St. John. But that changed when we visited the farm of Roy and Gloria. We went to visit Roy and Gloria on thanksgiving day. Gloria showed us around their property and we really had a wonderful time. That visit changed my view of what living in a farm looks like. I have been trying to understand what Roy was trying to tell me before about buying property outside of the city limits. He was trying to convince me about the practicality of buying a farm land. I wouldn’t listen, because I could not imagine myself and my family living in a farm. After all, we came here to Canada expecting to live in a “Big City.” To live in a farm was way out of the question. Well, until that thanksgiving visit. That visit really change my perspective. The real surprise for me was that my wife was really receptive to the idea. She was the one who was initially really against the idea of living in the “bukid.” That visit changed her view radically and in fact that visit changed everything. Right now, I can finally see my family and myself staying and settling down in a farm land. I can see the benefits from the financial perspective to the benefit to the quality of life regarding health and overall well-being.

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L-R: Gloria, Remo, Cheryl and Theo

That visit was not planned. But sometimes in our lives, the unplanned moments are those that change us. I am really glad for that visit. I thank Roy and Gloria for the hospitality. I thank Irene for the invite to visit and being the guide to reach the place. I thank God for I know that it was His purpose for this to happen. Now I wait with my family for the next step in our journey. Maybe one of these days, through God’s guidance and provision, we might just start living in a farm!

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Gloria with one of her cows.

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A curious cow.

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Going uphill to the hay field.

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View from uphill

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It was already late autumn so most of the leaves have already fallen. Gloria mentioned that if we had come two weeks earlier, the colors of the tree leaves were really beautiful. Next time we’ll come earlier.

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On the way back from the hay field. The group of trees on the right side are the only trees that still have most of their leaves on.

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We took advantage to take a portrait among the trees.

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A Sense of Permanence

114-20130915_2245We love posting pictures of ourselves and our families on social networks to show to our friends and loved ones that we are fine and doing okay. We’d like to have them believe that we have moved on with our lives and that we have started to make a new life here in the new place that we live in. We want to believe that somehow, things will, indeed, be okay and that we will move on. Move on to where, is the question that keeps hanging in my mind. I guess this will never be completely answered, considering that for the past five years, we moved from one place to another at least four times. The sense of permanence is just that; a sense. It is not a reality in the life of my family and me for the past six years. We have longed for a place where we can really settle down and live our lives as if this will be it for us; that finally, we can find a place to call our home.

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Somehow along the way I forgot how it feels like to be home. I don’t mean going home to our house. I mean really finding a place to really call home; a place where I can stay for the rest of my life and not move again and be completely and permanently at home. I am really amazed at knowing some people have stayed in one place their whole life and never moved from their hometown, much less from their home country, except maybe to travel for a vacation. This has not been the reality for me and my family. I am not sure if it is a good thing. I just know that the sense of impermanence in terms of a place to stay has been almost “permanently” hanging in my whole system. We have learned to live with the fact that there are no permanent friends and no permanent communities to take root in. The friends we acquired throughout the years were the people we met along the way who were gracious enough to share a good portion of their lives with us. We do still have and maintain “long-distance” friends. But, it is never the same as having them physically present and sharing a few good talks and laughs. We are definitely grateful for the friendships that still survived through the years despite the distance. It makes you realize who your true friends are. We realize the immense value of time and with whom you spend them with. As much as we can, we try to live in the here and now. We try as much to enjoy and savour the moment. I guess this is one of the side effects of being aware that life is constantly changing. Another side effect is that the plans that we make are usually just short term plans; just enough to serve for a year or two. We have also learned to adjust our lifestyle so that we allow a lot of room for change, especially a change in the place where we live in.

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But, the longing for a home is too strong. We immigrated to a new country believing that this will be the answer to our desire for a permanent place. In the few months that we have “lived” in this new place, the feeling is starting to sink in again that this may not be the case. We know that we can stay here permanently, but can we finally call this place our home? As we look through this situation and try to analyze it; we realize that it is not only permanence that we seek for but we also earnestly long for the sense and feeling of home. We might have achieved the first since we are now permanent residents of this country, but achieving the second may still present as a tremendous challenge. Building a home takes a lot of amount of time. This could amount to building a new life again. This will involve a lot of building of good relationships. There are friends to make, community to try to belong in, the church family to try to be part of, and a job to try to achieve and contribute and be needed in.

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Are we up to the challenge? The answer to that question is not a straight yes or no. It is best answered with an emphatic “we have to.” There is no other way to go but forward even though there is a lot of room for failure. But, as we look back all throughout the years that we have been searching for a sense of permanence and looking for a home, there is One who stands as the Rock in our lives. We always have God as our constant and our anchor in the many times that the sea of temporary challenges of life would threaten to engulf us. Amidst all the temporariness of life, we had always found a permanent home in Jesus. Jesus has always been our guide and we need never fear wherever we may be placed in this world. We have learned to trust the One who knows and controls the future. In this world, we may have been far away from a home for a long time, but with Jesus, we have always been at home anywhere. Even though we earnestly want to settle down and make a home, I do believe that this can only be achieved with Jesus on our side. And if, for whatever reason, this may not be achieved in this lifetime, we can always look forward to the permanent home that Jesus has prepared for those who love Him.

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Portraits in 50mm

Friends and a Wedding

Who do you invite to your wedding? Friends, of course. But not just ordinary friends. You invite good and beautiful friends. Even relatives would have to be “friends” with the groom and bride to get invited, unless they happen to be part of the immediate family. In that case, there is no choice for the couple.

When we speak of good friends, we mean friends who are there before, during and after the stressful and emotional roller-coaster of the wedding ceremony has come and gone. They will be there when the reality of the married life really sinks in and will be there to support and pray for the newlywed couple.

When we speak of the beautiful people, we do not mean entirely in the physical sense only (although that wouldn’t hurt at all). The physical can always be “enhanced” to appear beautiful. But real beauty is in the character. The really beautiful people are those whose character shines through magnificently even in the most trying circumstances in life. The newlywed couple would definitely need these kinds of people to look up to as models as well as to help them navigate the delightful but ever challenging journey that is called marriage.

With the Bride’s Parents

With the Groom’s Parents

A wedding is a happy and tremendously memorable occasion. This is true especially for the couple. This is an occasion that the couple would definitely love to look back again and again as they go through their life together as husband and wife. Eventually, this will be one of those memorable stories that they are going to tell their children. What is more fitting then than to spend this momentously memorable occasion with those closest to their hearts?

We earnestly wish the best for the couple, not only the best wishes but mostly the best realities because, after all, wishes may not come true. And reality is clearly what they will have face. So, best realities for the couple. Above all else, may the newlywed remember that in God’s vocabulary, there is no word for divorce. Therefore, together with their loved ones and their good and beautiful friends, here is to a happy life together for Jee and Paula.

Black and White Portrait

I find in my wife a willing and fun model to work with and with whom I can practice my portraiture. She is always ready and willing to pose for me. She is, what I might call, my muse. Ever since I started to dabble in digital photography, she was always there to support me. According to her own words, she had no choice. She would rather have me shooting pictures than having me around her with a cranky mood. I must say that our time together shooting portraits does help in our bonding together as husband and wife. I guess that partners that shoot together stay together. Photography has a way of connecting people; either through an image that may elicit common emotions or reactions, or through the process of creating the image itself. Either way, I have found that it helped me and my wife find something in common to share between ourselves and the little sphere of the world wherein we circulate.

Fun Portraits

Every time I have a chance to shoot portraits for my two sons, I always allow them time to express whatever face they want in front of the camera. I usually allow this after we had made the formal portraits just to ease things up a bit. The end result of this exercise is that the two boys would have become so at ease enough to allow me a few more shots with a more natural expression on their faces.

Children are so good at acting up. My children are no exception. They would come up with poses that are usually derived from movies, and from their own wild imaginations. My older son even has his own signature funny face.

Sometimes it does irritate me when they do this out of context but, I have to admit that it does help ease up the tension. I do wonder where they got this funny side. Well, I don’t have to search far and wide because there is no denying where they got it…from their mother! No two persons are the same. In the case of my two sons, the older is obviously more fun-oriented than his younger sibling. The younger sibling inherited his more serious side from his father.

This is my son’s signature “funny face.”

This is my younger son trying to look serious.

Acting part 1.

Acting part 2.