A lot of people have been asking me what Pursuit is all about, and sometimes I find it hard to describe it in just one sentence. The standard answer is, “We’re a community of (female) creatives who live to bring God glory through our creative passions, our businesses, our homes and our lives,” but if I could sit down with you for an hour, I could describe it in a dozen more paragraphs! So I post these recaps of our gatherings to give you a picture of who we are and what we do. I hope these posts answer your questions with great detail! :)
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Because He First Loved Us
When for some reason the Lord brings talented, creative and passionate women together in one place, expect beautiful things. Also, an instant sisterhood, even though most of us have only met each other that day! We had our Pursuit Manila gathering last February 21, and here I am, one week later, still in a state of hangover. I have enough praises and stories (and photographs!) to last me a month, really. That is, until I see these women again.
We called the gathering “Because He First Loved Us“, the reason why we do any of these to begin with. The February gathering is special because it’s the month of love, and we want to take that opportunity to celebrate this Love that’s so great it moves us to love others even in difficult situations, to find beauty in the ordinary days, and to have courage to pursue our God-given passions.
We worshiped together (lead by sisters Jam & Jem), because as I have realized from the first gathering, no matter how different we all are, we share this same language of worship and passion for God. And that’s how we want to begin our gatherings, our own way of “seeking Ye first” before anything else. And so we did, and it was the beginning of another blessed and memorable afternoon.
We stopped to smell the flowers (and make head pieces out of them)
Suddenly the room was filled with this faint smell of flowers, the beautiful sound of kindred spirits getting to know each other, and a little bit of friendly competition. :) Although making these flower pieces was already fun as it is, we upped the ante by awarding the best flower halo maker with a special gift—this book by Rebekah Lyons, Freefall to Fly, sponsored by our awesome friends from OMF Literature.
Shout out to Fretzie, for winning the book, which by the way we’re all free to judge by its cover. :) Although we commend Fretzie for her masterpiece (go girl!), everyone did an awesome job with their own floral pieces. We took LOTS of photographs of ourselves wearing them, and everyone was just beautiful!
We feasted on yummy crepes and tea
We enjoyed a sumptuous buffet of make-your-own crepes courtesy of our friends from La Creperie Moderne, our gorgeous event venue.
Incidentally, we didn’t get to take a lot of photographs of that buffet table, LOL. We were all so hungry, and those crepes were, hands down, the best kind! Shout out to Lyn of La Creperie Moderne for taking care of us, and to Christine, who owns this lovely place.. You guys, sobrang thank you. <3
At that point, I feel like we can all go home already, tummies full and with new-found friends. But the best were yet to come.
We listened to beautiful music and stories of faith
We listened to Julianne Tarroja, whom you most likely already know for her song “Grateful” (among others) and her upcoming album Ashes to Beauty. A new friend and sister whom I met personally when she signed up for the first gathering, Julie came that afternoon to inspire us all with her story and her music. She sang Beautiful Things (Gungor) and Grateful, which naturally became our anthems that day.
I looked around and saw some of the ladies wiping tears off their eyes listening to Julie. Not only is she a truly gifted storyteller and musician, God has mightily used her to bring across His message of love to all of us. Thank you, Julie! More ha. ;)
And then there was Stef Juan, former Managing Editor of Hola Magazine Philippines turned Book Editor (there’s a longer job title that I can’t remember so let’s just call her a book editor haha) at OMF Literature. I say, that shift in career already speaks for itself. Heart on her sleeves, she shared God’s Word and her testimony, and we all could relate to the joys and the pains and the challenges that she’s gone through in pursuit of her calling. Just the kind of inspiration we all need. You’re a blessing, Ate Stef. Thank you!
We took home yummy and craftsy and handmade gifts
Some acknowledgments should be in place. Everyone took home a little something through the generosity of our Pursuit sisters and friends:
- Custom cake jars from Nica of Sweetness Overload
- Floral arrangements and floral halo materials from Cheeky Bunas
- Nutella Rocks and Oreo cheesecake from Bettina of Bake Bites
- Handmade letter rings from Hannah of Signetura
- Handmade lettering made by Elle Battung
- Washi tape and arts and crafts from Jenny of Art & Sky
- Book giveaways from OMF Literature
I’m not sure I can ever say “thank you” enough, y’all! May the Lord bless the desires of your hearts, your businesses and your personal pursuits tenfolds! :)
More special mentions:
- Overall styling and creative direction by Bea (grabe lang, as in, she really poured her heart out in that place!) and event coordination and planning by Karen (also my sanity!) Hay. Love you two!!
- Sheila and Jamie for being our (on-the-spot) little photographers that day. How convenient is it that we have two super talented photographers around, eh? :)
Finally, the women of Pursuit Manila
I’m normally horrible with names but this time, my best effort—
Left: Marj, Abbie, Fretzie and Nessa
Right: Jasmine, Vicky, Julianne, Elaine and Madz
Hannah, Jam, Jamie, Jem, Nica, Sheila
Left: Kaity, Jude, Peachy, Ira, Lorby, Charlyn (the mommies!)
Right: Cheeky, Isobelle, Jenny, Stef
Bea, Karen and me. <3
These names probably wouldn’t mean anything to you if you weren’t there last Saturday, but as for me, I want to remember each name, each face. I know in my heart that someday I’m going to see these women (all of us!!) doing something HUGE for God and living our God-given dreams, if not already. And I’m super excited to witness what the Lord is going to do, and honored that He would let me journey with these passionate women here in Manila, not to mention the hundred others around the world.
I’ve said a handful already, I know. So I’d end this post with these words written by Abbie, one of the ladies who attended the gathering.
“Over the years I’ve learned that life with God is all about taking steps of faith and leaving comfort zones in order to find Him in the scariest, most uncertain of places. I find that whenever I’m comfortable and secure in my own ability to run my life, I miss out on tapping into God’s power and presence and His ability to come through for me and use my weakness to shame the strong.
Now I find myself even more inspired to pursue all that God has for me. I know that now is the time to be brave with the One who left His comfort zone to die on the cross to give glory to His Father in heaven and to save me from myself.
I don’t want to be fearful. I want to be brave. I don’t want a comfortable life. I want to pursue that which is eternal and everlasting.”
I’m fully aware of the fact that I’ve overused the word “beautiful” in this post, but there’s really no other way to describe what the Lord allowed us to see that day. So much love and beauty indeed.
Haaaay. (Catching my breath.)
There you go. Pursuit Manila February gathering, over and out.
All of the photographs in this post are taken by Sheila Catilo.