Thursday, January 22, 2009

“Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.
Acts 14:17

As if it’s not enough that He provides for all that we need and even more, always at the right time, God goes as far as involving Himself even in the little exciting details of our lives. He finds ways to make us smile. He prepares delightful surprises for us.

Like cold weather on a sunny day.

Finding the book you’ve been looking for forever in a second-hand bookshop, almost in mint condition.

A compliment from someone who never says anything nice to anyone.

Finding an old friend on Facebook.

Discovering that the top you’ve been eyeing is now being sold for half the price.

Someone coming into your life when you least expect it.

Monday, January 19, 2009

My New Year's Resolutions

Every year, before we start our church’s annual 7-day Prayer & Fasting, I make sure to complete my faith goals for the new year. Faith goals are NOT New Year’s resolutions. They’re things I’m believing God for, things I know I can’t make happen on my own. That’s why they’re called faith goals, because they require you to believe that even though you can’t pull it off for yourself, certainly God can.

I love making faith goals. But I also love making the other kind of list. The one most of us usually make at the start of the year, a list composed of the things I resolve to do for the year.

I’m not posting my faith goals here but I think I need to make my resolutions public so I can be held accountable. Feel free to ask me how these things are going, to keep me on my toes. :-)

1. I resolve to read more this year, to spend at least an hour everyday to read.

2. I resolve to get back in shape by working out regularly. At least four times a week, I need to do some kind of physical activity that will get my heart rate up. The goal is to lose at least 30 lbs. (OMG) I’ve done it before. No reason why it can’t be done now.

3. I resolve to smile more this year. Someone remarked just last night how much better I look when I smile. Being a grouch never helped anyone.

4. I resolve to sleep earlier and wake up earlier everyday. I’m failing this already. :(

5. I resolve to blog more and write on my journal more.

6. I resolve to plan more get-togethers, to really learn how to throw a party. I am super bad at thinking of themes, games, and other party stuff.

7. I resolve to get to know more people this year. Not just meet them but really take the time to know them. To remember names. To make people feel special by paying attention to them. Sometimes that’s all it takes to make a difference in someone’s life.

8. I resolve to spend less and save more, to know how much I have and never spend more than I can really afford. This is even harder than sleeping and waking up early.

9. I resolve to be more productive and organized not just at work but even in other areas of my life.

10. I resolve to be more open. To allow others to know me. To put myself out there, even if it means risking getting hurt.

What about you? Do you have any New Year’s resolutions for 2009?

Loving this now

I am totally loving the new mineral foundation I bought. It’s by Smashbox. And it’s called Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder.

My problem with makeup, foundation to be specific, is that I don’t like to look lighter than I really am. I actually prefer that I look tanner than fairer.

I’ve been using the L’Oreal mineral foundation for quite some time because it’s got good coverage for my not-perfect skin but I find the shade to be too light and too ashy for my complexion. So I always have to pile on another layer of darker mineral makeup (from Revlon).

My co-worker Marie Calica, who happens to be the beauty editor of Marie Claire Philippines, suggested Smashbox as far back as summer last year when I told her about my problem. But of course, being the cheapskate that I am (I’m not likely to spend more than a thousand for any makeup product), I delayed trying it until another co-worker, Haze, raved about it before the Christmas break.

So when my L’Oreal mineral foundation ran out last Thursday, I decide to go for it. I had to shell out P2,950 for it (gasp!) but I love it! I love the shade, I love the packaging, I love that it has 21 grams of mineral powder (the L’Oreal one only has 10g), I love that it has a cute kabuki brush, I love that it’s matipid to use. Hopefully, it will last me three months or more. If it does, wow, then it’s definitely a keeper.

I am also interested to buy Smashbox’s O-Gloss. My Mom bought the O-Glow blush, but I don’t see too much of a difference from other cheek tints. I think it might be better suited for lighter skin tones. O-Gloss has won both Allure’s and Sephora’s beauty awards and was also one of last year’s winners of the Cosmo Beauty Awards so I’m confident O-Gloss is another must-buy.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Humor me by reading on as I try to process some things today.

Have you ever started a friendship with someone and spend meaningful times with that person then have that season end? Why do some friendships grow and why do some fizzle after a time? How can connecting with somebody be so easy then all of sudden have things become stunted, unnatural, difficult?

Friday, January 16, 2009

What I learned these last seven days

As I’ve mentioned in my last post, we just concluded our 7-day Prayer and Fasting today. The last seven days were powerful and exciting. Hearing the testimonies of breakthroughs today (like our church mate, soprano Alexis Edralin being healed of leukemia) was awesome. You can’t help but be amazed at how our God works.

Anyway, I thought it would be interesting to document some of the things I learned in the last 7 days. So here goes.

1. Be open. This seems to be the operative phrase for my life in 2009. If I am to walk in faith this year, I need to be open. I don’t have to know exactly where I’m going for as long as I trust Who is leading. Step by step. Day by day. I don’t know what the future holds but I am certainly open to anything.

2. The walls I thought were there were walls I made up. I don’t want to make excuses anymore. There are a lot of things I have not been able to do in my life because I was too scared to do them. I was too intimidated, too insecure. There was always an excuse why I couldn’t, why it wasn’t going to happen, why it was not possible. I failed to remember that even if I couldn’t, it says in the bible that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”(Philippians 4:13) Even when things seem impossible, it says in the Bible that “with man it is impossible, but with God all things are possible”(Matthew 9:26) and “everything is possible for him who believes” (Mark 9:23) I’m tired of making excuses. This is the year to walk on water.

3. God opens doors but it’s still up to us to do the walking. I can’t tell you how many times God has opened doors for me just this week . They were clearly wide open doors but although walking would have been a no-brainer, I still had to muster up the courage to go for it. It is no wonder God had to tell Joshua FOUR times in Joshua 1 alone to “be strong and courageous.” The fear will always creep in. But if we have faith and believe that God “will be with you(us); … will never leave you(us) nor forsake you(us)” (Joshua 1:5), it becomes easier to take the first step.

4. Prayer calms me. I have to admit I wasn’t praying as much as I should have been the first few days of fasting. I was too busy not eating, it seemed. By Monday, I could feel that something was terribly wrong. I was jittery and not at peace at all. I talk to God all the time. When I wake up, while I’m in the shower, as I get out of the house, when I ride a cab, while I drive, when I get to work, when I get on the bus to go home, when I ride a cab from the mall, when I’m about to sleep. But pockets of prayer, for me, are not enough. I need TIME to pray, to just go into a room, be alone and pray.

I also need to pray for others. I have had many people, especially those who are new in church, tell me that they wished they knew how to pray like I did. Well, believe it or not, I could not pray for anyone out loud to save my life back in 2004, when I first started attending Victory. So, in January of 2005, the first year I joined Prayer and Fasting, one of my faith goals was to receive the gift of intercession. I have no idea when I actually learned but I found myself praying for more and more people and I was even quoting scripture I didn’t even know I knew at the time. So last Monday, I told God I will not let this day end without praying for someone. So I prayed for someone. The next day, I was very tired and very down because of something that happened at work. When I got to the prayer meeting, I was listless. Something was going on inside of me. I knew right then I had to pray. So I did, not for myself but for two people God led me to pray for that night. I left the Victory Center with joy in my heart and energy that kept me up until 2:00 A.M.

5. This is going to sound funny but when it gets cold, wear socks and double up on blankets. I have never felt so cold in my life. I remember going to the south of France when I was 11 and experiencing snow for the first time. Yes, it was cold, but I knew I was going to be cold so I was ready with warmers under my jeans, layers and layers of clothing, gloves, very thick socks and snow boots. Who would have thought we’d need to wear cold weather clothes in Manila! My blanket in the condo where I stay is flimsy. I don’t have airconditioning there and that’s why I never thought to bring thicker blankets. So I was freezing for a good 7 days. Until I realized I could wear socks to sleep. Then another realization hit me: I could buy a cheap, thick blanket. I didn’t even know they sold blankets in the grocery! Good, thick ones for only P199! That night, I slept comfortably with double blankets and thick socks keeping my feet warm.

My point? There are times in our lives when unexpected things happen. It gets cold in Manila. Go figure. But these things happen and most of the time, we are not ready for them. So we settle for suffering. We suffer through cold nights thinking “gosh, this is just my lot in life.” You forget your socks are in your closet, just a few steps away from where you’re shivering. You forget the malls sell blankets of all kinds and the mall is just right next where you work.

We always have a choice. It says in John 10:10 that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I (Jesus) have (has) come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Life to the full. Sounds good, right? Granted, it may not always be comfortable, may be downright cold, even painful sometimes. But many times we forget that God is always there. And we have a choice. Do we go on suffering through life or do we choose God who “is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.” “Though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging,” God promises to be with us. Cold, sleepless, fearful nights or safe, warm, and secure knowing that God who created the universe is surely bigger than all your problems and issues combined. Hmmm… Tough choice, huh?

Sometimes all we have to do is ask.

In my anguish I cried to the LORD, and he answered by setting me free. The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me” -Psalm 118:5-6

Thursday, January 15, 2009

New Year Updates

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since end of December. So sorry. I have been crazy busy since I got back to work last January 6.

Here are some things that have been happening in my life:

1. I have a new iPod! Yay!!! It’s a silver Nano and I bought this nifty iPod nano case in pink. I’ve already watched two movies on my new nano and listened to hundreds of songs. I love it!

2. Today is Day 7 of my church’s 7-day Prayer and Fasting. This is the first year I actually got through the whole seven days, made possible only by the grace of God. The past seven days have been so powerful. There’s just a joy in my heart, knowing that this year will be a year dedicated to the Lord, from start to finish. Can’t wait for next year’s Prayer and Fasting.

3. On Saturday, we will be having our first Discipleship Convergence in Ultra for the leaders of Victory. I’m excited because they’ll be announcing the start of a new program we’re launching based on this book, which I bought earlier in National Bookstore, and some changes that will be happening in the way we do things in church.

4. I am currently listening to an audio seminar by David Allen called Getting Things Done Quickly, based, of course, on his best-selling book on productivity. I tell you, it has greatly improved how I do things. It feels so good to start the year being able to do the things that I have set out to do. The system is simple and it makes o much sense. If you can borrow a copy of the book or buy a copy, do so! You will still have to do the work, though. Haha!

Okay, that’s about it. I’ve got to hit the road to make it to Galleria on time.