February has always been special to me since I am a February baby. Februaries now are even more special to me since I now celebrate another special person’s birthday aside from my mom.

I don’t know where I should begin to show my appreciation of how this God-sent helped me in so many different ways but let me try to the best of my abilities. Valerie is one of the members of my Cebu family (and yes, the other members will also be featured in my future blogs.)

Valerie is someone that I never expected to befriend in all conceivable levels of friendship, however, I now share a friendship with her as deep as the Mariana Trench. Why do I say that? For starters, she is a goody two shoes. There is nothing wrong with being one and I am not asking her to change, not one bit. To be honest, I never really had an inclination to befriend her kind but God’s wisdom is way better than man’s since He sent this fine lady into my life for a reason. As we celebrate her birthday today, allow to share some of the reasons why I celebrate the friendship that I share with her.

First, she is God-fearing. In a world where everyone seems to turtle up when one’s faith is brought up for discussion, she doesn’t shy away from sharing her testimony and there is that genuineness and sincerity that emanates from her when she does share her testimony. This doesn’t change no matter how much my Cebu family and I express our love and affection in our own unique way. You know what they say, you can never say that you are friends with someone until they start lovingly bully you…tease might be the more appropriate word but whatever!

Second, she is a genuine friend and someone that you can rely on. She was one of the few people that was with me in one of the lowest moments of my life. When I lost a love I held dear, she along with a few folks were there to help fill the void that was left behind. I will never forget that day as you and Thirdy were with me as I watched the sun set while quaffing down a bottle of red Johnnie. I will also never forget how you guys tolerated my melancholy when I expressed it through several songs while cruising down the waters of Liloan. How we capped the night, with the surprise visit of the Constantinos whom we tolerate (jemma)…whom we also love dearly.

Third, she teaches me life lessons without her knowing. She has taught me that the love of family is priceless. She taught me that one can go through so much pain and struggle in life, and still come out strong and a victor. She taught me that when you put out goodness to the world that it finds its way back to you. She taught me that a homeless man also appreciates a BurgerJoint Tuna sandwich. I look forward to what other lessons in life you will teach me as we journey on.

I apologize if I get emotional lately but I appreciate how you are like a ray of sunshine in my Cebu life that breaks through those melancholic clouds of mine. Today is not about me but about you, words may fail me in telling you how I appreciate our friendship and how you were instrumental in bringing back my smile. I now understand why God gave you in my life and may He continue to use you in ways that will surprise you.

Happy birthday Val!


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