Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

This is our first Christmas tree! I bought and decorated our tree while Robert was in Beijing. It made me look forward to his homecoming!

I made sure the decorations matched the color scheme of our home. I also put little silver picture frames with photos of our family. And most of all, I put lots and lots of presents under the tree!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

An Afternoon with Ms. Joy Muleta

I had a wonderful afternoon having coffee with my "ninang" Ms. Joy Muleta. Actually, it was coffee for me and mushroom soup for her.
We had hours of great conversation -- catching up, sharing "wife" and "life" experiences, and having several good laughs!

For the past two (2) years, she has patiently mentored me in many crucial areas of ministry. I am extremely grateful for all the wonderful things she has taught me. I have grown so much as a woman and as God's child because she showed me what Jesus truly thought of me.

There is absolutely nothing like spending an afternoon with a seasoned woman of God! When you get the chance, please visit her Multiply site.

Thank you my mentor and friend!


Monday, October 22, 2007

BusinessSummaries.com

"So, Samantha, what do you do?" I have been asked this question over and over again in the past couple of years and I can never seem to give a cohesive answer.

Let me begin by describing briefly the company I work for. The name of the company I work for is BusinessSummaries.com.

Let's say you have been meaning to read popular business books like "Good to Great," "Getting Things Done," or "Freakonomics." The problem is, you barely have the time to sit on your favorite spot and read through the whole book.

What BusinessSummaries.com does is summarize a business book into 8 to 12 pages. For the busy individual, 12 pages is something he can read through in as little as 15 minutes.

The summaries are written in a way where the key points are listed down so that the reader will have better memory retention of what the book is all about.

Individual subscriptions go for $69.95 a year. Within the given year, a subscriber receives 1 new business book summary every week. A total of 52 new book summaries in a year.

On top of this, a subscriber also gets an access to the online library of past business book summaries. We currently have 500+ titles in our archive.

Each week, the new summary is e-mail to every active subscriber. It comes in PDF format. However, there are other formats to choose from. Aside from PDF, each summary comes in audio, video, PowerPoint, MindMap, PDA and HTML formats.

If you want to subscribe or sign-up for a free trial, click here now.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

My Custom-Made Life Planner

Those who know me very well know that I am an organized nuthead. Although my life, my home, and my work are still not at its most orderly, it is very much on its way!

My biggest challenge this year was finding that perfect planner/organizer that will seamlessly get my life in order. I am a new wife who needs to attend to her husband's needs (most of them food-related!), I am an employee with very crucial responsibilities, and most of all I am our Father's daughter who finds joy in serving Him and spending time with Him.

The very overpriced (did you really think it was free?) Starbucks planner used to be enough during the days when I was single. Now being happily married means having to juggle a crazy schedule. My husband gets invited to a lot of social gatherings and other activities. Merging his schedule with mine was the biggest married challenge, I must say!

And then there are other matters that need my attention like menu planning, grocery shopping, calorie counting, budgeting, church matters, goal projections, work to do's and Christmas too!

Although I find delight at the though of tackling these matters, I was overwhelmed at the thought of keeping different notepads or planner just to ensure everything is attended to. I tried searching for a trusty planner in every office supply shop I could find. All I came across was the same old notebooks with calendars and some space for notes.

I started reading Donna Otto's book "Get More Done In Less Time," -- a great home organization resource. I picked it up at the resource center of Victory Ortigas. The first couple of chapters talked about how she had the same problem as mine.

Her solution was, make her own planner! As I read through the book, she guided me into making my own personalized forms that according to the demands of my life.




Here are the results:

This is the first page containing important personal information just in case I lose it. Blurred on purpose of course!


My year-at-a-glance page. So that I can immediately see which date belongs to what day. And see which ones are available.


My month-at-a-glance page.


My week-at-glance page.


My very important TODAY PAGE. You will that there is a space for appointments and to-do, to-buy, and to-call lists. I make sure that this gets filled out before I go to bed. I feel less overwhelmed in the morning.
You will also see how I made my tabs: Calendars, Nutrition, Budget, Church and Christmas.

My weekly meal planner. Got to feed the hubby stuff he likes and stuff that are good for him.



Here is my grocery shopping list form. Easy to take out from the binder and bring with me to the grocery.

The trick is do different forms on a trial and error basis on your computer. Do not get frustrated when it doesn't serve its purpose right away. It takes some time to customize forms that perfectly fits your lifestyle.

I strongly suggest that you read the book because it has tons of sample forms there. You can copy the forms until you feel the need to modify. If you would like to take a look at my own forms, leave a comment with your e-mail address.

Happy organizing!










Friday, October 19, 2007

An Inexpensive Do-It-Yourself Christmas Tree Skirt

Nothing excites me more nowadays than finding ways to decorate our home with Christmas decorations! Since the color scheme of our home is my favorite blue and brown combination, I decided to start looking around for blue, gold and silver ornaments.

My goodness, decorations are expensive! I kind of expected it but I was still surprised somehow.


A glittery flower ornament for P59.95? Are you kidding me? That means if I get 10 pieces, it will total to P590.


Ridiculous! And we all know I will definitely need more than 10!


In SM Department store, I saw this beautiful blue and white flannel tree skirt. I imagined how lovely it will look with our tree and how it will perfectly match our home's colors.


My heart sank when I saw the price tag. P999. I felt like that price was too step for something I will use for only 1 season.


Ok, maybe more than 1. But how can I be 100% sure that we will still be living in the same apartment with the same color scheme?


Men... yes, women like changing color schemes when they move houses. We like changing our look or haircolor too. But that is a whole different story altogether.


Anyway, I asked the helpful lady at the department store if they had any cheaper tree skirts. She said they had, but they all came in the traditional red and green color combo.


Walking away disappointed, an imaginary light bulb suddenly turned on! Round table cloths! They can work!


I immediately walked over to the table linen section. I looked for the smallest white round table cloth I could find.


Cha-ching! P379.75 only! I wanted to jump for joy but decided to just do that in my head. Yay! We now have a tree skirt!


Here is what I plan to do:


1. Cut the hole of the center of the cloth. Finish the edges by sewing it. If I am too lazy to do that, I will just seal the edges with colorless nail polish. Mostly likely I will be doing the latter.


2. I will cut across the cloth: from the end to the center. Will seal the ends too with colorless nail polish.


3. Wrap the base of the tree with my impromptu skirt!


I do not, by any means, have Martha Stewart skills. I panicked a little bit and wondered if my 3-step plan will work.


Wimpy me Google-d it and see if anyone did it already. My search did not yield any significant results but I did come across Kattitudes.com.


She "upgraded" my idea to embellishing them with ribbons! Beautiful! Very clever! Now I plan to dig in to my mom's big box of ribbons. I know she has blue and brown and maybe even polka-dotted ribbons. I just know it!


I am excited to go home and decorate our very first married Christmas tree!


Explosion in Glorietta Mall

I was in the gym today, running on the treadmill, when my good friend, Kathy, texted, "Hi. I heard about some trouble in Glorietta. Everyone okay and accounted for?"

A few more text exchanges later left me in shock on learning about a bomb exploding in Glorietta 2 -- in the bridgeway that connects the mall to Landmark department store.


According to news, it was NOT a gas leak as earlier reported.


I expressed my gratefulness to God for keeping me safe today. I could have easily went there. I have been going to the mall a lot more often lately since Robert is away.


I am grateful that He decided to preserve my life and allow me to enjoy my solitude at home and at the gym, where I was safe.


My prayers and hugs to the families of people who died and got injured. I cannot even begin to imagine what you are feeling right now.


An eyewitness took several pictures of today's bombing. I do not know him personally, but if you would like to look at this pictures, please click here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sorry, Blame It On Me

I got off work at 6 in the morning and immediately caught a taxi cab. One thing I like about working graveyard is never having to battle through rush hour.

As the taxi was moving on Shaw Boulevard, this song started playing on the radio. And suddenly an oh-so-familiar nasal-y voice started singing:


As life goes on I'm starting to learn more and more about responsibility
And I realize that everything I do is affecting the people around me
So I want to take this time out to apologize for things that
I've done things that haven't occurred yet
and things that they don't want to take responsibility for

I was thinking "Ugh! There are just so many things I can't stand about Akon!" I am not a big fan of nasal sounds to begin with.

And then memories of that infamous YouTube video started flooding my mind again -- where he tried to display a simulation of a sexual act on a 14-year-old at a club. Interestingly, this 14-year-old girl is a preacher's daughter.

And then I started thinking about another YouTube video where he toss a 16-year-old boy off the stage.

I was about to kindly ask the driver to turn down the volume as it was stirring up feelings of disgust and judgment. And then Akon starts singing these lines:


I'm sorry for the hand that she was dealt
And for the embarrassment that she felt
She's just a little young girl trying to have fun
But daddy should of never let her out that young

I'm sorry for Club Zen getting shut down
I hope they manage better next time around
How was I to know she was underage
In a 21 and older club they say

Why doesn't anybody want to take blame
Verizon backed out disgracing my name
I'm just a singer trying to entertain
Because I love my fans I'll take that blame


Even though the blame's on you
Even though the blame's on you
Even though the blame's on you
I'll take that blame from you

Then I started thinking, what does it truly mean when I say "Sorry, blame it on me?"
I have always felt that the most authentic "Sorry" is when it means "I am truly remorseful for causing any kind of hurt."

That's it period. Just a genuine repentant heart. It does not matter who is right and who is wrong. Or who picked the fight and who was provoked.

And isn't it the most beautiful thing if all of us are truly committed to forgive and be forgiven? No one keeping tabs on who offended whom.

Funny, because Akon says "Sorry, blame it on me" but went on and on about who is really to blame. So was he really sorry after all?

The good news is I have a choice to focus on that One Person who took the responsibility, took the blame of all our unrighteousness.

He did it without pointing fingers at anyone even though He had every right to do so. He did it because He cannot stand any minute longer seeing us walk in shame.

He did it because He loves us.

Today, instead of corrupting my thoughts thinking on how horrible Akon is, I will make an honest attempt to emulate Jesus -- humbly taking on my life's cross, without any desire to right those have wronged me.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Sitting In The Corner Of A Coffee Shop

I went to Gateway Mall this afternoon. I promised my best friends (who are actually more like family to me) I will watch their games.

My friend Kelly's team was playing against my friend Noy's team. I did not cheer for 1 team harder than the other. I just enjoyed seeing them in their role-model glory.

As I was walking through the mall and looking for Christmas decor inspirations and Christmas presents, I saw a nice, little empty corner in Figaro away from the traffic of mall dwellers.

I immediately ordered a nice iced cappuccino, sat down and took out the book I have been reading.I read a few good pages of The Way Of The Shepherd.

I am not going to talk about the book at this time until I am done. However, reading through it has given my heart this overwhelming sense of gratefulness.

At the start of the year, I prayed to God that He would lead me to people who are willing to find out how much He has done in my life.

Although I always lived a fairly normal life, I made some pretty bad decisions. What God did to me was stretch out His hand, helped me stand up and told me that I am not meant to live a "fairly normal life."

He created me to live an EXTRAORDINARY LIFE! Through the kindness of a lot of people, I was able to go into an awesome journey of knowing myself all over again -- not defined by my past nor by any man-made label.

If I can just write down every miracle He has done in my life and with the people I love... or perhaps I will soon!

Back to my prayer, I told God that I am hungry to tell anyone who would listen on how much I am in love with Him and how much He loves me more.

Today, as I was reading the book and having a conversation with Him at the same time, I was suddenly humbled on how many people I have become friends with this year.

People who were gracious enough to listen to my love story with God. I told God how grateful I am for bringing them into my life.

Every person I was specifically thinking of in my prayers --- they are all now parts of my life in a big way!

It's crazy but then again this is Our Father we are talking about -- so it is really not that crazy. But you know what I mean.

I can't wait until my next coffee shop stop!