How did you turn 18 just like that? Time didn’t fly fast. It zoomed.
But as you celebrate your 18th birthday today, allow us to thank God for your life and list down 18 things we love about you.
1. The moment you came, we knew that you were God’s gracious gift to us. Your name, Janina, is precisely that – God is gracious. Thank you for being that, exemplifying that and exuding that grace in and through your life.
2. You’ve always loved dressing up as a princess. You did when you were a little girl. But more than dressing up like a princess as a little girl, you are one – in the family and in God’s eyes.
3. You are fearless. You try new things and are not afraid to do things that are unfamiliar to you. I remember you trying out the Supreme Scream in Knottsberry Farm. You didn’t go on another free fall ride since (and I remember you being in tears after that ride), but that didn’t stop you from trying out other rides and other things in life that required courage. Janina, you are brave.
4. You find fun in the small things. You and your siblings enjoy life together. Your mom and I are grateful for that simple yet fun loving spirit.
5. You are sensitive to God’s leading in your life. I remember when storm surge “Yolanda” hit Tacloban, before we left to help in the relief operations, you felt God was telling you to give your most favorite doll to a little girl who needed encouragement. I remember you took quite some time to look around when we got there and found the perfect one who needed the most precious thing to you at that time. You are very thoughtful and compassionate.
6. You are adventurous. I remember when we went biking and you fell. You kept a great attitude in spite of getting dirty and muddy. That has become your positive trait – the reality of falling doesn’t stop you from picking yourself up and still having an amazing day.
7. You’ve always been a vlogger since you were a child. We remember you doing a room tour when room tours weren’t even popular then. haha.
8. You’ve loved dancing since forever. By the way, on your debut party, I was proudly watching you. Buti na lang, nagmana ka sa nanay mo. hehe
9. Talking about dancing, you were such a perfectionist. You knew all the steps. And when someone misses it, you would ‘direct’ them and choreograph while you were performing. Your excellent spirit is a great trait. Don’t ever lose that.
10. You made funny videos. To this day, we don’t understand why you made some of them.
11. You were a super bibo kid. You had fun with songs, words and life in general. Never lose that. Life is too short not to have fun.
12. Craziness is your strong suit. Again, just like your mom, you come up with insane ideas and you find yourself in peculiar situations. But you end up laughing. You don’t take life too seriously. And that’s a good thing.
13. You are determined. When you set your heart onto doing a task, you never give up. I remember when we had Vanilla, our black labrador, you painstakingly trained her even though you had lots of scratches along the way. Don’t ever trade hard work for the easy way out.
14. You’ve always enjoyed performing. You’re desire then was to express your God-given talents but also coupled with the aspiration to be famous. You asked mom when you were 12, “Mom, when will I be famous?” But God changed that after a few months. You came back to your mom to tell her that wasn’t you’re no.1 goal in life any lonager. And when you had a heart change, that’s when God opened up your YOUTUBE CHANNEL for you and gave you a platform to add value and bring a positive voice into cyberspace.
15. You’ve helped us build great memories. Thank you for always participating in the photos, especially the one in Lake Tahoe. I can’t post that though when we stopped by the road and you jumped in the river without anything on. Haha
16. Thanks for making mom you’re best friend, shopping partner,car seat (like when you sit on her lap in the front to this day), mommy-ger, companion and kwentuhan partner. She’s always wanted to have a daughter that she can have fun with, laugh with and enjoy life with. You’ve been all that and more!
17. You’ve always felt a deep sense of purpose for your life. While you’re not the classic cross-cultural missionary, you have crossed geographical, cultural, ethnological, national, generational boundaries and used your platform to add value and bring significant impact in the lives of other people. All these at age 18. We couldn’t be more proud of you.
18. You’ve learned that God loved you way before you even loved Him back. Never forget that. In the times of highs and especially in the lows, an understanding of “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love” will carry you through.
Growing up, you were insanely crazy like your mom. That meant life was to be an expedition to trek, a journey to enjoy and an adventure too short not to have fun. And you had fun. And you still do to this day.
Don’t lose that.
Your smile brings joy to others, your insanity is contagious and your buffoonery is communicable. But underneath that craziness is a young lady that is tender hearted, kind and thoughtful.
Don’t change that.
Your loyalty is unmatchable. To your family. To your friends. To the people you that are dear to you. If this means sacrificing your own comforts to demonstrate your loyalty and love, you don’t think twice to let go of personal benefit.
Don’t alter that.
You are talented like your mom, smart like Nathan, active like Ryan, funny like Joaquin. Unfortunately, all you got from me is good looks. 😂
But as you turn 18, you are transitioning to a very significant season in your life. your mom and I have done our best to get you to where you are today by the grace of God. But as you will discover and are discovering, you will have highs and lows. And there’s nothing more important we can pass on to you than our faith.
Education is critical. Life skills are substantial. But what will get you through the hardest and darkest moments is your relationship with Jesus. The great thing is, you’ve grown in your relationship this past couple of years as we have observed. There’s no greater joy for a parent than to see his or her child walk with God.
Money won’t satisfy.
Fame can’t fulfill.
Even relationships won’t bring ultimate meaning.
Rapunzel is fearless, self-reliant, determined and adventurous. I now know why you like her. You are her.
But you just not her. You are more.
This discovery of who God designed you to be will unfold in the coming days. Get ready for it. You will see that what you have seen now is nothing compared to what He has in store for the future.
The best is yet to come.
I love you.
Happy birthday, Feener.