Last Friday’s hosting gig took me to Tagaytay City. It was a weekday and so i had to drive myself and go solo as my husband can’t skip work. I usually take my family with me on out of town hosting projects and i miss them on the times when they couldn’t come with me.
But ever since embarking on my soul keeping adventure, i have started to seek hidden joys out of every moment and situation i find myself in. So i decided to make the most of the trip alone and search for every blessing this “me” time has to offer.
Singing can do wonders for your soul
I love to sing. I took voice lessons when i was eight and finished every course my Performing Arts School has to offer. I joined singing contests and managed to bag a prize or two although never the champion’s title. Still i was happy to sing, whether alone at home, in a group at parties, duets with my husband, karaoke nights with my family or while driving. Singing while driving is my favorite. It is an antidote to Metro Manila’s traffic. It releases my happiness hormones.
Singing my heart out for the duration of a three hour road trip to Tagaytay is more than enough to release endorphins that could give me an overdose of happiness. But hey, if i would have an overdose of anything, i would gladly welcome happiness.
There is a bit of preparation though if you were to try this soul keeping habit. First, make a playlist. My family know this by heart. I have a playlist for every road trip. From worship songs, vintage classics, lullaby songs ( to make my children sleep), old school hits to the most current songs. I make a title for each playlist so i know which ones fit my mood and need at any given time. Some of these are, Worship, Soul Food, Soul Keeping, Something More, Our Wedding Soundtrack, Hopeless Romantic, Wake Up, My Teenage Years, Name that Tune, Old School, Sagada, Elyu and Baguio. My husband and children have their separate playlists as well so everyone gets a turn to enjoy their own kind of music. These playlists are saved in USB and it is ever changing. I also keep my car well-stocked with CDs of my favorite artists. The Beatles, Sharon Cuneta, New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys, Madonna, Gary Valenciano, Kari Jobe and Chris Tomlin. I call them my car staples.
For my solo drive to Tagaytay, i sang along to two playlists and by the time i reached my destination, i was in such a joyful mood that i found myself craving for more endorphins.
I am an old soul. I like old things. Music, clothes, decor, even people! I was born two years before the 80’s but i might as well have been born in the 40’s. To own a country home, that little picturesque yellow cottage with a blue front door, blue window shutters, a pocket garden and a kitchen cupboard full of colorful plates, cups and knick knacks of all sorts is my dream.
My vintage soul led me to the perfect place.
This is Memory Lane.
I got there just in time for lunch and i was pleasantly surprised that there was only one couple dining when i came. It was so peaceful and the only sound coming from the restaurant’s speakers where the voices of The Platters and Frank Sinatra. Absolutely perfect!
I took a bit of time deciding what to order as they have a pretty substantial menu. In the end, i chose their country style fried chicken and morisquetta rice ( this is Memory Lane’s version of Yang Chow rice).
While waiting for my food to arrive, i picked up where i left off in my morning devotions. Another habit that i have started in my soul keeping adventure is to always bring with me my “me time” bag. Inside this bag are my bible, prayer journal, art journal, a current book that i am reading, my eureka notebook ( where i scribble ideas and sudden thought bubbles and record my train of thought) my planner, and a pencil case filled with every writer’s essentials.
My conversations with God are richer in times of solitude. Finding myself in that quiet place was not a coincidence. God’s grace is never a coincidence. That moment i was in three states at the same time. I was grateful, joyful and content.
Never lose your sense of wonder
I lost track of the number of times that i have seen Taal Lake. But there is not a single time that i am not captivated by its sight. Each time i see it, there is always an expression of awe. It is like seeing it for the first time, through the eyes of a child.
It was my first time to host a wedding reception in Balai Taal. I got there a few hours earlier than my call time. I always liked to arrive early so i will have a chance to enjoy the scenery and say a prayer of blessing for the newlyweds, the event and the work of my hands. It also gives me time to drink in the beautiful set-up and arrangement before the guests arrive and the party begins.
From the gate, it was a downward slope going to the reception venue. I was unprepared for the view that greeted me. I had to stop midway so i can just stare and delight in wonder at the beautiful creation in front of me. Balai Taal offers a perfect view of the lake. It looked so close that it gives you the illusion that you could touch it.
By five o’clock the guests have started to arrive. A fog had started to set in and there was a chill in the air which lasted till the end of the reception program. By nine in the evening i was still under the influence of my happiness overdose. There were sounds of laughter, faces glowing with delight and happy smiles everywhere.
Once again i thanked the Lord for sustaining me. It has been a very long day. One that started at half-past three in the morning. I am amazed by the stamina that He has given me. It was another three hour drive back home but i looked forward to it. After all, i was packed with the essentials. I was tired but happy. My soul was full with all the big and small joys i was able to find. A “me” time well spent.