Big Steps Ahead

As they say, a journey of a thousand miles begin with a small step. Achieving a bigger goal consists of achieving several small goals that ultimately build up to this bigger goal.

I have recently been introduced to Nerd Fitness. It was by accident that the blog site was introduced to me through an email subscription. It was lauded for having really cool “hand drawn” graphics.

The site’s background / appeal is to superhero “geeks”. Basically anyone familiar with gaming, anime, Marvel/DC comics, etc. But the mission is to get these geeks to use their geekiness towards achieving physical – and eventually overall – fitness.

As I browsed through the site I was introduced to many unconventional wisdom i.e. breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. The site encourages people to join the “rebellion” towards the mainstream fitness advice the Internet and world in general gives out. It encourages people to ask these best practices and find out what works well for them and to enjoy the process of getting fit.

As I have been recently inspired (thanks Arrow!) to become fit and made fitness goals when 2016 started, finding the site was like a match made in heaven. In the past weeks, I have immersed myself into crafting the ultimate workout for me.

I have embraced a  life of regular workouts and healthy diet. And my diet is unconventional at best. It’s a Paleo-inspired diet. I say “inspired” because I am not a purist and basically I just follow Paleo principles in eating. So far, so good. I like the results.

As to workouts, I am preparing my body to be ready for Parkour.🙂 Such a lofty goal I know but as I said, big goals are achieved by accomplishing smaller ones and thus far, I know I am on the right track.

How do I know for sure? The Nerd Fitness Rebellion Forums has been a tremendous help. I have spent most of my online “social” time there and as a result slashed on my FB social time which I have recently deemed as a waste of time. I caught myself being sucked into the depths of the FB News Feed scrolling it for hours on end. So I slayed the beast and now enjoy a more fruitful online time.

As a sample of how geeky I am right now, I am currently a member of the Assassins Guild. I am part of the sub-team Teen Titans currently training in 3 super powers – Regeneration, Invulnerability and Super Toughness. Last week, I was at the Leaderboards for Super Toughness. This week, I am holding my fort at Invulnerability (currently leading in this superpower).

Geeky right? But every one of those aspect is connected to my real life overall fitness.

What do I get out in the end? Well the achievement of  my Epic Quests as I have outlined here: Epic Quest Character.

I imagine my next days to be filled with more adventures as I tackle this big game called Life with these simple and easy daily steps.

Stepping Down

For lack of anything better to say – I have re-posted here Mar Roxas’ concession speech delivered yesterday at Balay (LP Headquarters in Cubao):

Magandang hapon po sa ating lahat.

Sinulat ko po ang nais kong sabihin para wala akong makalimutan:

Gusto ko pong magsimula sa isang taos-pusong pasasalamat. Sa mga kababayan natin na kumaway, nakipagkamay, at kumopkop sa amin ni Leni nang bumisita kami sa inyong mga lugar. Marmaming salamat sa inyo.

Sa mga nagtiwala hindi lang sa akin, pero pati na rin sa mga prinsipyo na ipinaglalaban natin. Maraming-maraming salamat. Sa mga kababayan natin na habang kinakamayan ako, tiningnan ako nang mata sa mata at sinabihang ako ng “God bless you. Ipaglaban mo kami. Huwag mo kaming pababayaan.” Maraming salamat.

Salamat kay Pangulong Noynoy Aquino at sa kanyang pamilya. Sa ating partido, Partido Liberal, at sa kanyang mga kaalyadong partido. Salamat sa mga CSOs, mga NGOs, sa Silent Majority, sa mga ordinaryong mamamayan. Sa lahat sa inyo ng mga volunteers, sa aking pamilya—nandito ang aking misis, si Korina—sa ating mga kaibigan. Sa lahat pong tumayo, to all of you who took up the cudgels, who shared in our aspirations, na nakasama kong tumayo, maraming-maraming salamat sa inyong lahat.

Araw-araw, kasama ko kayo na humarap sa lahat ng hamon. Alam ko na marami sa inyo, stuck your necks out sa laban na ito. Pero sa kabila ng lahat, hindi kayo bumitaw. Nanindigan kayo. Sinamahan n’yo ako hanggang sa dulo. For that, I am very grateful.

Ngayon, hindi pa tapos ang laban ni Leni. Angat siya, lumalaban siya. Patuloy tayong magbantay, manalig, at sumuporta. Siguraduhin nating mabibilang nang tama ang kanyang boto.

At habang ginagawa natin ito para kay Leni, simulan na natin ang pagbuo sa minamahal nating bansa. Galangin at tanggapin natin ang pasya ng ating mga kababayan. Ayon sa unofficial count ng COMELEC, malinaw na si Mayor Rodrigo Duterte ang magiging susunod na pangulo ng Republika ng Pilipinas.

Digong, I wish you success. Ang iyong tagumpay ay tagumpay ng ating sambayanan at ng ating bansa.

Mga kababayan, higit pa sa pagiging supporter o kapartido ng kahit sinong kandidato – Pilipino tayo. Maka-Diyos, may pakikitungo, may malasakit sa kapwa, at naniniwalang lahat ng mahahalaga sa buhay ay pinaghihirapan.

Patuloy nating ipaglaban ang mga prinsipyong ito. Ibigay natin ang lahat ng ating makakaya para makamit ang ating kolektibong mithiin. Ipakita natin – sa bawat salita, sa bawat gawa, sa bawat kilos natin – ang tunay na diwa ng pagiging Pilipino.

I read somewhere that it is not the battle or the conquest that we remember. But the soldier who stood beside us, na tumutoo sa atin, who we treasure the most. Sa inyong lahat, maraming-maraming salamat. Hindi ko po kayo makakalimutan.

Mga kababayan, isang walang kapantay na karangalan na maging tagapagwagayway ng ating bandila. To have carried our flag. To have fought the good fight. To have kept the faith. To have finished the race.

Maraming-maraming salamat sa inyong lahat. Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!

I love you all!

There are many tears in the room. Let me tell you: this is not a time for tears. For our country, we have had a peaceful successful transfer of power. It’s not about me. It’s not about anyone. It’s about how we love our country and how we’ll do all that we can can for her. She’s the only one.

Maraming salamat po.

MAR ROXAS

We have stood and fought hard for him amid the criticisms of friends. We distributed campaign materials. We prayed. We believed.

Well, the country has chosen its leader and I support the winner. I sure hope he turns out the man his supporters believe him to be.

mar-she's the only one

Are we Filipinos still worth dying for?

Elections is over. The most divisive and brutal election season I have ever encountered is finally drawing to a close. Mar Roxas and Grace Poe, the two “closest” rivals to Duterte has conceded defeat.

While I have already prepared myself for a Duterte presidency, I cannot begin to fathom or accept how people can vote for Bongbong Marcos. How easy it is for people to forget the atrocities of Marcos’ regime. How apparently senseless the death of Ninoy Aquino and countless other martyrs have been.

Before I have resigned myself that should Duterte win, I may as well watch him and make sure he does bring the change he claims he will do to our country — the scary violent change he promises. I told myself, I may even consider going to public office – working for the government – in order to watch from within.

But as of late, I have been thinking of a different thing. I am led to believe that it is hopeless and just want to do away with everything. Let go of my nationalistic tendencies and turn my back to actually making a positive change in this country through servant leadership. I have thought about, one day, running for president – even claiming this as my biggest ambition in life. An ambition born not because of greed or hunger for power but because of a real desire to serve the Filipino nation. Call it my highest form of idealism (or should it be idiocy?).

Seeing how brutal the last election was, I am led to question how, an honest public servant, can really withstand the mudslinging and stress of the candidacy. But I can push on had I have more belief in the Filipino nation whom I wish to serve. Sadly, that belief evaporated as I saw more and more people willing to go back to the times of the past.

Will I be selfish if I try to be more pragmatic and choose my family’s well being first? A well-being that I can assure if I go to a first class nation – and in the process – bring them with me too. A place that will offer peace and prosperity albeit far from the native land – a land I am no longer sure of what it is becoming of.

At this point I don’t know what to believe of my countrymen anymore. I am moved to apathy – jaded by the calls to nationalism. How can someone be nationalistic in a land that is divided all on its own?

Have We Lost Hope As A Nation?

With the Presidential elections just around the corner, everyone seems to have made up their mind who to vote. I have declared my choice of Mar Roxas as President and I am a known supporter of Leni Robredo since the beginning so my choice is clear.

But there are still undecideds among our midst that I try to campaign (convince) with my choice. Not that I want to impose my choice on them but that I want them to also go through the same process of rationalization I did for their choice.

The same rationalization process I push with those who’ve made up their mind also.

I simply begin by asking the innocent question of Why him (or her)? and follow up the answers with supplementary questions.

While some have been accommodating in answering my thought provoking questions even if it leads them to dead ends they can’t answer, others simply gave up at the first instance. But the saddest – and for me the worst answer I’ve received – is a declaration of hopelessness for the country.

I was dismayed when I heard that even with the elections coming up, nothing changes. It’s all just the same. The powerful stay in power, the rich becomes richer, the poor gets poorer, etc. Better go to another country. There’s no hope for change here.

I cringe at the lack of ownership. The lack of nationalistic spirit. We may all agree to disagree on our choice for president but to claim that whatever happens, whoever we vote for, nothing will change is tantamount to saying our democracy has failed us.

This lack of hope will be the downfall of our nation for we have resigned ourselves to the perceived lie that nothing can be done about the woes of our country.

But there is hope. Change is already happening. Let us not be blind to it. Let us not wash our hands of it. Change is happening – and we are part of that change.

Conserving Manila’s Heritage Sites

Today I read this article in ABS-CBN News Online about the social commentary of Dolce Amore, a prime time soap about the degenerating status of heritage sites in Manila. The show went to Paco Park which I’ve also visited and found to be barely maintained. They also went to Luneta Park and discussed how the local government can allow, in the name of increased revenues, an eyesore to be built.

dolce amore
Source: ABS CBN News Online

I find it really sad that the local government of Manila has failed to identify what the city is capable of. In a bid to be like Makati or Quezon City or the other cities in Metro Manila, they have allowed capitalists to enter and build business structures around the city – in the process destroying the heritage sites.

Manila could have been a great city had it stuck to a well-thought out development plan. She could have been an old university town filled with various universities and cultural sites. They could have concentrated on that – developing a vibrant, safe and pollution-free (or lessened) university belt. Sadly, even though there are many universities in the area, the students live in fear of petty criminals and risk their lives in vehicle-infested roads. Slums surround the campuses adding to the pollution and derelict view of the area.

Parks – pocket parks – are virtually non-existent since those that exist have become home to homeless people. The only lung in Manila left has been virtually forgotten. The once grand architectural wonder buildings have been discarded – left to rot until they are eventually destroyed to make way for “better and modern” ones.

Comprehensive_Land_Use_Plan_of_the_City_of_Manila
The Comprehensive Land Use Plan of Manila City Legend: Green – Parks; Dark Blue – University Zone; Red – High Intensity Industrial Zone; Yellow – High Density Residential Zone Click image to view clearly Source: Wikipedia

I am saddened that my children may never see Manila with her cultural heritage intact. I, myself, am sad that what I see are mere vestiges of a once glorious past.

Shall I stay on the sidelines? But what can I do?

A visit to these derelict sites, which I’ve always planned but never do, is, I believe, the start.

Why I love Batman vs Superman?

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Source: Batman vs Superman Official FB Page

Before, the only comic superheroes I was a fan of were the X-Men. I watched the cartoon series, read some of the comics and was ecstatic when the movie franchise came out. After a series of failed super hero movie franchises which I won’t mention anymore, the genre has once again boomed with Marvel’s success with their Marvel Cinematic Universe. A success that the DC Cinematic Universe hopes to follow.

But the two are different as what the Batman vs Superman movie would show you.

After becoming a fan of the DC Universe through watching the current series of  Gotham, The Flash and Arrow, I know that I would expect a serious and dark movie. After all, Man of Steel was bordering on boring and the Batman series of the recent past were all dark.

So the lack of humor was not a surprise for me. Critics said it made the movie boring and some writers I read said they were able to sleep at the first part of the show. They criticized the film for having an action-packed sequence only towards the end.

The movie was also criticized for not having overarching story lines and for the character expositions to be really poor. I overheard someone say she was disappointed because Wonder Woman appeared out of thin air without her usual transformations (I guess she was accustomed to the old depictions of Wonder Woman).

I also read a criticism that said the movie should be called something else because the title was a misnomer. It wasn’t Batman vs Superman. It was Batman and Superman vs Doomsday. Another critic said the mere mention of Batman’s mother’s name as being the catalyst to stop the fight and have the two superheroes acting as BFFs was absurd.

For me, it’s all these criticisms that are absurd!

bvs4
Source: Batman vs Superman Official FB Page

I guess for someone not familiar with the DC Universe and expecting long explanations of why things are happening then they would really be disappointed. The movie forces you to think outside the screen, read between the sequences and understand why something is happening.

I perfectly understood why the African crisis had to happen. For me, that didn’t need any additional exposition. It was the catalyst for why the opinion of Superman was divided. It helped in the framework of the movie that here was a guy with super powers wanting to do good but his superpowers actually cause harm as he does good. Where can you see someone destroying buildings as he tries to destroy the enemy? Superman isn’t really that super. He’s just a really strong alien who needs Batman’s tactics in order to be more effective.

I love the discourse about whether someone like Superman should be regulated and the debate within Superman if he is doing the right thing. It shows that the guy is human and despite his super powers is someone who didn’t ask to become a hero. He was simply inherently good and wants to do good inside but like most people, sometimes doing good without proper wisdom will mean causing harm to others.

I perfectly understood why Batman had to be obsessed with killing Superman. And why he acted the way he did. His sole goal is to save his city – keep it safe. He’s a vigilante so he doesn’t want to be perceived as a hero, only as someone the criminals are scared of. Obviously, someone with super powers who seems to do more harm than good in his quest to be a hero must be tamed (or even put out).

I love how Batman’s ingenuity and resourcefulness was shown despite him fighting a super human – someone he clearly cannot battle defeat – not without his schemes. I applauded inside as Batman’s careful planning – his traps and what-nots – lured Superman and led him to have the upper hand. I can hear Oliver’s (Green Arrow) words about a fight being all about control and understanding your surroundings.

I know why the movie was titled Batman vs Superman – because that was what the movie was really about. It was about the world – and those who claim to protect it – understanding what a super human can do. Batman was the epitome of the world who wants to control what it cannot understand. When the legal way become impossible, then the vigilante brand of justice had to be exacted.

I love how Wonder Woman appeared, how her powers were shown in the battle and how it left me hanging and excited for when those powers – and her character – will be explained in due time. There is a reason why her movie will be an origin one unlike those of The Flash and Cyborg which will begin in the present day. As someone who watched the old Wonder Woman movie, seeing her powers in action during the battle made me ohh and ahh as I remember in my mind what each of those can do.

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Source: Batman vs Superman Official FB Page

Every time Lex Luthor appeared, I wanted to cringe and punch him in the face. I didn’t like the guy and his insane antics not to mention his schemes. A friend hated him for being whiny. I don’t recall the Lex Luthor of the old Superman movies (just that he was a much older guy) so I don’t know how he should have been portrayed. But if the goal was to create an irritating villain, Jesse Eisenberg definitely delivered.

I am not so sure I can agree to see a Flash that is not Grant Gustin but I’ve come to accept that the Ezra Miller version of the Flash will be a different portrayal from the Flash in the TV Series. Whether I will like him as the Flash is yet to be seen.

Down to the last scene – which I won’t spoil – I was watching at the edge of my seat, excited for something to happen be it in the current movie or in the next one.

Despite having read countless reviews and to an effect spoiling the movie for myself, I still went in to watch it in the big screen and felt every peso I spent worth it. The thrill was real – in fact more real than what I feel watching Marvel’s movies. My heart beat raced in more than one occasion and my mind shot fireworks as I understand each sequence more and more.

It was an amazing movie and I’m proud to say I loved it. It’s one of the best movie I’ve watched in the big screen and I am excited for the next installment which will be Suicide Squad showing in August 2016. I just hope they don’t try to push Suicide Squad to be more like a Marvel movie (I’ve heard they were re-shooting to add more humor after the criticism of Batman vs Superman).

So if you haven’t watched the movie yet, do yourself a favor and go see it in the big screen. Not from some pirated DVD (which sadly I saw was being sold as I crossed an overpass after watching the movie). It’s totally worth it to experience in the big screen.

Go there devoid of expectations despite having read so many reviews like this one. Then form a verdict for yourself.

bvs2
Source: Batman vs Superman Official FB Page

 

My Top 5 Lazada Picks for below P1000

This post is an entry for the ShopCoupons X Lazada PH Blogger contest. Being hosted by ShopCoupons. Lazada voucher sponsored by Lazada Philippines.

Online shopping has never been my cup of tea. I was always wary of the platforms and mostly afraid that I wouldn’t get the product I want. I had a bad impression that what was displayed was not what the actual product would look like or that after I paid, the product will not get delivered on time.

However, in recent days, I have become drawn to online shopping. The hectic schedule at work plus the horrendous Metro Manila traffic makes visiting the malls to shop a bit tedious. I would rather spend my free time relaxing at home with a book than walking aisle upon aisle in the department store in search for a dress or a pair of shoes.

My friends and officemates swear by Lazada. I’ve witnessed them receive in the convenience of their homes and our office the products they ordered online. Amazingly, it looks the same as what is advertised in the website and the products all arrived on time.

So with ShopCoupon‘s on-going promo contest where they are giving away P1,000 Lazada Gift Certificates, I have another reason to finally give shopping in Lazada a try.

Browsing the Lazada website, I was thrilled to see so many good items below P1000. And to think most of them originally cost more than P1000 but thanks to Lazada’s good discount deals, their prices has been reduced to almost 50%! Shopping suddenly got addicting!

So here are my top 5 picks for must-have items this summer at under P1000 (take note, they are all on sale).

1 – Toprank Women Sunglasses

sunglasses

Summer is just around the corner and what’s the best accessory this summer? Why, sunglasses of course! And right now, Lazada has a cool promo for a really cool sunglass for women. This Toprank product has a cat eye style that is perfect for my round-shaped face. The retro vibe is also a perfect fit to my quirky personality.

2 – Lacy Summer Cocktail Dress

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At P650, this dress is a steal! Who said you can’t wear black during summer? With its lacy trimmings, the dress promises to be airy and cool making the evening cocktail events surely enjoable.

3 – Stitch Classic Pointed Toe Stiletto Heels

pumps

Having nude pumps is one of the must-haves in any women’s wardrobe. A good pair of heels is a staple product in any women’s arsenal and I simply cannot live without one. Being an office girl, wearing heels gives me confidence and allows me to cinch that all-important deal.

4 – Sunweb Sexy Swimwear

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Since it’s summer, I decided to look for a new swimsuit. The choices were extensive and amazing! The one I loved was this blue polka dots one piece bikini that on sale at 40% off! Hello Summer! I’m headed for the beach with this cool swimwear.

5 – DNJ 6670 Clutch

clutch

I’ve always wanted a clutch bag that I can use for those formal occassions I frequently attend. This classic black with silver accents clutch bag is the perfect one! It’s made of crystal and satin so it’ll definitely be a stand out and will exude class when I use it.

Browsing through the Lazada website as I looked for items I wanted to buy made me excited to get to try online shopping finally.If I win this contest, it’ll definitely be a huge boost to finally conquering my fears of online shopping and getting that first product delivered!

swayed to change

Today I encountered another dead blog of mine. Since I began blogging, I must have created accounts in every conceivable blog out there. Back in the days when there were only a handful of blogging platforms, I created an account in each one in the search of where I can write with much freedom.

Only to go back here.

Thus began the cycle of self-censorship to allow me to contain in one platform my thoughts yet at the same time still maintaining a semblance of privacy.

Who am I kidding? My blog has been public for so long and yet I cringe at every follower who can read each post via email. I cringe when a friend approaches me and tells me she is following my blog. I cringe when I realize each new post is published in Facebook (which I deactivate most of the time).

My blog has been public for so long and yet I cringe at every follower who can read each post via email. I cringe when a friend approaches me and tells me she is following my blog. I cringe when I realize each new post is published in Facebook (which I deactivate most of the time).

So yes. For all this dilly dallying, this post will find itself occupying a bit in the vast world wide web. Perhaps it will begin as private. Then when I surmount the courage, it’ll end up public. Perhaps I will decide that my rambling thoughts are worth someone else’s time and that they are actually poetic and worthy of being published.

Well. For whatever it’s worth. Here goes.

born again

Born Again.

Such a controversial label. Such a controversial term. Yet one that is powerful. One that holds a lot of promise.

Too many people have been persecuted for this label. Too many have been misunderstood. Yet for those who understood it; those who embraced it – there is much freedom.

When I began to understand what being born again means, it dawned on me what predestination is.

While we claim that Christianity and getting saved is a choice we make, I really can’t help but be convinced that it is also a revelation that God makes or gives to each one. I have seen many people – mostly friends and even family – make that decision to accept Jesus. At the height of an emotional setting, perhaps overcame by the music or the feel of the event, or perhaps pressured by the others who respond to the altar call, they also make the decision to accept Christ.

And yet, weeks after, when the spiritual high fades off, they are back to their old habits – forgetting that they committed their lives already to Jesus.

What happened?

Sometimes I wonder if the conversion was real? If the decision to follow Jesus, to commit their lives to him was indeed, in fact, sincere. It’s different from Christians who simply lost fire and zeal. These Christians at least know that they are still saved and are aware that they are missing out on God by being distant.

But the ones I am talking about, they are not even aware that they are missing out on anything. They didn’t even experience the hunger.

I imagine being born again as being revealed something so wonderful you suddenly grew very hungry for it. You want to know more. You yearn for more.

You cannot be satisfied. Your spirit was suddenly awakened and you became so hungry. Hungry for God’s Word. And so you do everything necessary to learn more about the truth.

Sadly, I’ve seen people be born again yet continue to live spiritually dead lives. And I wonder, where they ever born again in the first place?

Death: A New Beginning

The year has barely began and here I am talking about endings. In particular, a very permanent ending – at least here, on this planet.

I do not mean to sound morbid but I am talking about death – the cessation of life. When one’s heart stops beating and the brain stops functioning. When all body systems simply stop functioning. Death.

2015 ended with the father of a close friend dying unexpectedly. 2016 opened with a close friend dying peacefully. And the month will close with another friend dying bravely.

It seems death has been all around me recently but it’s not the kind of deaths that will leave you depressed. Yes, death, being so final, is sad. Yes, there’s grief and I join the families and friends of these people whom I know in their grief. Yet, behind the grief, there’s hope that these people are in a better place.

I have never shied away from the topic of death. I believe this blog has so many posts concerning the topic. For me, death is not the end but just the beginning. The beginning of something greater. Something bigger. Something better.

The life we live on earth is only temporary. But no matter how temporary, it is meant to be lived to the fullest. These people who died all lived their lives to the full and I am blessed to have witnessed their lives and somehow been a part of it.

It’s inspiring to see how these people – Sir D, Tita Eva and Scud – have lived their lives to such a full that when they died, people flocked to them remembering everything they have accomplished. People shared stories of how they have been touched one way or another by the acts of these wonderful persons. And everyone, despite the sadness and pain of loss, had peace in their hearts because they knew and are confident that these three are now reaping their rewards in Heaven.

Someone recently shared to me her fears of death – about what lies ahead and what she’ll face when she dies. If there’s something we shouldn’t have to fear – that’s death. Death is not something we should be afraid of. We can be afraid of what will happen to our dependents when we die (hence we should be serious about our financial plans) but we should not be afraid of our deaths. Not if we know where we are going when we die and what lies ahead for us.

Not sure what happens after you die? The Bible is very clear that because we are sinners, when we die, we are destined for only one place – Hell. That’s the bad news. But it doesn’t end there. The good news is, because God loves us so much, He can’t take it that we would spend eternity in Hell. So He sent His Son, Jesus, to redeem us from our sins. Jesus paid the price for our sins. Hell, which is supposed to be our eternal punishment for every wrong thing we did here on earth, is no longer our destination. When we die, we can now go to Heaven and receive eternal life.

I said “we CAN” because there’s still something required of us. We are required to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. It’s a personal thing only we can do. It’s not something we inherit from our parents, it’s not something our religion can do for us, it’s not a decision someone else can impose on us. It’s a choice we have to make and a personal relationship we have to cultivate with our Maker.

So you see, Death is not the end. It’s the beginning. It’s the time when we will reunite with our Father in Heaven.

As Paul said, “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21)