01 02 03 Good Food Trips: Starting New Christmas Traditions 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Starting New Christmas Traditions

It's no secret that I've been trying to re-discover myself for the past year. Ever since my Dad died, I really felt like a part of me went with him. I've been trying to look for ways where I can find my happiness once again and to be really happy, no matter what. I've tried to hang out with different crowds but still, there's something about me that just can't seem to let loose anymore. Even though I value moments with the new friends that I have come to know, I just really couldn't express myself especially since I didn't know who I was anymore.

I've also been going to Church for the past year and participating in Small Groups. I have taken the T4V training and Victory Weekend, even underwent water baptismal. For the first time in my life, my faith has never been stronger as it is now. And it really comforts me to know that amidst all the things that happened, finding Jesus was the best experience of them all. I would never trade that discovery for anything or anyone.

I am not perfect. I am a human being and that's something I'm proud of. I am a Christian who's trying to live a Christ-like life. I make mistakes because I will never be the same as Christ. But this new knowledge doesn't stop me from pressing on. In fact, it encourages me to just keep doing my best, to keep moving forward in Christ's image. I will make mistakes in the future but knowing that God still loves me no matter what I do gives me the confidence I need that I no longer have to try to fit into anyone's standards. All I need is to please my God and continue to seek His Word.

The reason why I decided to post this here on my food blog and not on my faith blog is because I wanted to share a Christmas story about our family. Ever since I was young, my Dad would always serve 'Lugaw' during Noche Buena. Whether we had plenty for the celebration or did not have anything else, my Dad's Lugaw would always be there. For 25 years, that was what I experienced during Noche Buena.

And to tell you guys honestly, I hated it. I didn't like Lugaw. For me, that dish reminded me instances where I was sick and could not eat anything else. I've always felt sad if I were forced to eat Lugaw and would rather starve myself. Don't get me wrong-- I'll eat the dish if I have to, just not on Christmas eve-- when everything is festive. So how can I be in a celebratory mood if I were being forced to eat a dish that made me remember being sick? You get me now?

2012 was the first Christmas that we didn't have Daddy around anymore. That first year was a blur and I could not even remember what we ate during Noche Buena. All I remember was that I spent it with my relatives on my father's side. Even though we were opening gifts and exchanging greetings, we wanted the same thing: to have my Daddy back.

This year, after being a Christian for almost a year, I decided it was time to stop mopping around and feeling sad of my Dad's absence. He is gone and I believe he's in a better place already. Every single message that God promised me during the day I lost my Dad has been fulfilled. So really, I believe that my Dad is with God right now. He is healthy, happy, and loved.

At that, I decided to step up and put an end to our Christmas tradition and instead, start a new one. When I asked my stepmom what she will prepare for Noche Buena, her response was 'Lugaw' because it was Daddy's favorite dish during the occasion. I stopped her and told her that we will be starting a new tradition. From this year onwards, we will be serving new dishes for Christmas.

During Noche Buena 2013, I prepared my famous Chicken Alexander dish which my siblings love. It felt good to have started that new tradition. Even though we were incomplete, we didn't feel lacking because we knew that we still had each other.

Merry Christmas from the Mejica-Torralba and Fuentebella-Torralba siblings!

How about you? What are the dishes you serve during Noche Buena with your family?

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