Best Brew 2015

Looking back at the past year, I couldn’t help but marvel at God’s great power at work in my life. As my beloved and well-used Giving Journal can attest, I’ve been marked by battles and breakthroughs alike. What’s amazing is that  the cute monthly illustrations reflected my own life events in 2015. Well, I guess that’s another one of God’s thumbprints in my year.

January: My 2-day trekking adventure actually included surfing in Liwliwa Beach. I’ve written all about it in this post.


February: It took me a month to get started with my pet project, which is a blog. Having spent the past year writing news aggregration, it was liberating and therapeutic to write in my own style and perspective.

March: Started my first novel, a work of literary fiction. All my life has been leading to this moment. My childhood love of reading, my growth as a writer, my brave career shift from professional teaching to full-time freelance writing – it had all been leading to the moment that I would write my first book.


April: I literally moved out of my comfort zone when I stepped off a cliff to dive in spite of my fear of both heights and water. And I thank God I did. The experience was amazing. Also started biking again with the help of a good friend. This month I also made a pivotal decision that got me started on a path to greater maturity.

May: I was glad to go back to Nagbalayong Beach, one of the few protected nesting sites for marine turtles in the Philippines. The last time I was here I was in charge of elementary students; now I was leading a group of singles from our church for our summer getaway.

June: A hot air balloon is ideal for solo travel and so it was symbolic of my first solo overnight trip to a hidden getaway. At this time I needed solitude and distance to think through some things. Though the trip was somewhat dangerous for a single woman traveler, it was nevertheless exhilarating. And I got the clarity I needed to make decisions.

July: One of the members in my discipleship group finally led a meeting, and I shared in the joy of her achievement. This month a group of leaders in the Singles’ ministry in our church also spearheaded the first new bridge event for the year, and was a big accomplishment to me as well. Finally, that tiny note about friends cooking in my house meant that I am slowly moving out of my comfort zone as an (formerly) intensely private person.


August: Finished the draft of my novel! Best reason to celebrate this month. Blood, sweat, and tears all flowed from my pen as a first-time author. This breakthrough coincided with the time my savings went flat. Exciting, isn’t it?


September: Hitting that 20 blocks milestone on my bike was a big deal, for I left off exercise since I entered full-time writing. I also left the content mill site I used to gather contracts for my freelance writing. Faith, faith, and more faith.

October: Due to my novel being finished I had time to catch up on my reading. This included ‘God’s Not Dead’, which is the second best book I’ve ever read. Also suddenly started a script of a particularly tricky literary work. God is at work.


November: This month was sweet because of the two out-of-town trips I had. One was a retreat in my ministry and the other a vacation with my family. Nagsasa Cove in particular was a beautiful place to reflect on life.


December is here, and it started and ended with two 3-day trips. I loved Baguio; I loved Ilocos; and the people I spent my travels with. These were a breakthrough for me as well because I had suffered from severe motion sickness since childhood. But I did not feel nausea on the tortuous ride up Kennon Road and La Presa in Baguio, or on the 14-hour long drive from Laoag City to Zambales. And I enjoyed both trips all the more for God’s provision and protection.

Looking back at 2015 humbles and awes me. I remember something I heard from the year-end message in Victory Vigan which I think is apt for the last day of an eventful year.

The opposite of gratitude is not ingratitude, but a deep sense of entitlement.

If ever I should think that all the blessings and miracles and breakthroughs I had this year were something to be deserved, that would be an embarassing sense of entitlement indeed. Instead, I choose to end the year with a prayer of thanks, for God has made good on His promises and more. Because of who He is and what He has done, I have the audacious faith to believe for more. Thank You, Lord, for brewing the best 2015 I myself could never have imagined. Thank You, as well, for 2016.

Happy New Year!

About the Contributor

Estel Grace Masangkay is a creative writer, cat-lover, and CBTL habitué who is working on her first novel. She is currently serving as volunteer staff at Victory Olongapo under Every Nation Philippines.

This contributor is a customer of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®.

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  1. Ronald says:

    Wow congrats Estel. Your so amazing writer. God bless you. More writings to come.