Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sad News

Can't say much now but I just found out the mother of a friend passed away.  Found out from a mutual friend, I still haven't spoken to my friend directly, and, therefore, can't give any details.

Losing a parent, for me, is still one of the most painful experiences a person has to go through.  I would like to ask you to say a prayer for my friend and that she may allow God to comfort her at this most difficult time.

tumblr.

I keep on telling myself that the last thing I need is another social networking account.  I have been doing work with tumblr. and I just couldn't resist signing up myself. 

I am not convincing you to sign-up yourself.  I just wanted to let you know my tumblr. account now exists and I really, really like the way it aggregates all my social networking updates.

My next to-do:  customize the theme.  I am still looking for a design that is clean and neat.  So far, the basic template is satisfactory to me.

If you care, visit my "tumblog" at http://happysammy.tumblr.com/.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Confessions of a Shopaholic Movie

I loved The Shopaholic series and read all of Sophie Kinsella's books. I think Rebecca Bloomwood is one of the most charming chick-lit heroines of our time.

I got really excited when I heard several months ago that Confessions of a Shopaholic will be filmed into a movie.

I saw the first teaser trailer on TV during the premiere of 90210. Na-sad ako. I was disappointed that Rebecca Bloomwood was re-written as an American for the movie instead of the original British character found in the books.

I will still probably watch it but I am not as excited anymore. An Americanized Bex just feels, well, really different.

What do you think of the changes in the movie version?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Mama Linda's Knee Replacement Surgery

Today was Mama Linda's appointment with the knee surgeon. We (me, Mama, Pops and Robert) all went together so we can jointly be there for Mama and learn more about the surgery that the doctor has asked her to undergo at the soonest possible time.

Mama is scheduled for surgery on October 28th. She in going to undergo knee arthroplasty -- more popularly known as knee replacement.

Knee replacement is surgery for people with severe knee damage. Knee replacement can relieve pain and allow her to be more active.

When you have a total knee replacement, the surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone from the surface of her knee joint and replaces them with a man-made surface of metal and plastic.

The doctor said that recovery period is three months -- sessions with the physical therapist thrice a week and home therapy twice a week.

Please keep her in your prayers!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Charice on OPRAH

I taped it a couple of days ago but didn't get to watch it until last night -- when all of us could sit down together.

My heart beamed with pride as Charice -- so cute and charming -- sang so beautifully and told her story on Oprah.

Here is a clip from that episode. I am sure the rest of it can be found on YouTube. Isn't she adorable?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Days 26 to 30: A Recap

Today's Bible Verse
“Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”- Isaiah 46:4

Day 26
Robert made a new best friend – Reggie. He spent the entire day with him. He really wants a dog as sweet as Reg.
From Atlanta, GA

Tito Ramon and Tita Lorna took me and Robert for early dinner in Golden Corral. They have been so good to us during our stay in Atlanta.
From Atlanta, GA

We talked about stuff like how they met and everything. I am glad Robert brought up this question because it never occurred to me to ask them. It was fun getting to know them in that aspect.

Later that evening, we went to iHop with my cousins. We were just enjoying our last night together before heading out to Tennessee the following day.
From Atlanta, GA

Day 27
We headed out to Nashville today. It was hard saying goodbye to family. We jointly said a prayer before we left.

We stayed in Nashville the entire afternoon. Robert needed to complete some paperwork in Every Nation.

We ran into Pastor Ariel Untal of Bethel Memphis and we told him we were planning to head out there to start raising our ministry support team.

Pastor Ariel suggested that we follow him on his drive home to Memphis and stay at his home. That was really a thoughtful gesture!

Midway through our drive, Pastor Ariel took us to a restaurant called Casey Jones. It was good, old-fashioned country buffet. Robert absolutely loved it!

Day 28
Today was our date day. Robert took me to the Delta Fair and Music Festival in Memphis. We have similar little carnivals like this in the Philippines – but this is my first time to go see one here in the United States.

Our most fun time was watching Gavin DeGraw’s concert. We were really impressed by him!

Days 29 and 30
These days were joy-filled days in Memphis. First, we truly love the new church plant there. The leadership team of that church are so dedicated to the health and growth of the congregation.

Second, they welcomed and treated us like family! We have said this before and we will say it again – nothing beats Filipino hospitality!

Third, we were in tears because several members of the community made a decision to partner with us by committing monthly financial support to our ministry in the Philippines.

Robert always tells me this and it is always true – when one works in alignment of God’s will and purpose, the blessings just come pouring in!

This month truly elevated my sense of community with my brothers and sisters. If there is one big lesson I learned – that is probably it.

I have been pretty much content being by myself, working and doing ministry when all my other priorities are done.

There is nothing wrong is working that way. However, I recognize a real danger in getting way too consumed with my own concerns and relying on my own energy to accomplish what I need to accomplish.

God has taught me to immerse myself more in the lives of others and making sure they know that they are loved by Him. When I started exercising my life this way, God made sure my own concerns got taken cared of. Isn’t He awesome?

I love this quote:
“To live in and contribute to God’s dream of community is the reason you were born. It is what you were created for. Neglect this, and you will die a failure.” John Ortberg

God never intended for any of us to go it alone. Moreover, we cannot pursue spiritual transformation in isolation.

Jesus started the church so the Christian community could teach and encourage one another; so we could become the people God wants us to be.

Our spiritual health is closely tied to our involvement with other believers. During this process, I realized that He truly wants to use me more in ministry – more than He ever did before. He truly changed my heart. I could not even find it in my heart to resist the calling.

Check out this interesting fact:
Not only is our spiritual health at risk if we are unconnected but our physical health is as well. The famous Alameda County Study showed that unconnected people were three times more likely to die than those who had strong relational connections.

Another Harvard researcher noted that when an unconnected person joined a group, “you cut your risk of dying over the next year in half.”

In addition, a Journal of the American Medical Association report showed that people who were connected in groups were four times better at fighting off illness caused by the common cold virus. Doesn’t it make sense to get connected?

My husband and I just entered a season in our lives that requires us to share more of our faith and invite other people to partner with us in the work that God has called us to do in the Philippines.

I am finding myself (to my own surprise!) embracing this season with exhuberance and joy that can only come from Him.

I will definitely keep you updated on how raising ministry support is stretching our faith and character. These are going to be exciting times!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Days 20 to 25: A Recap

Today's Bible Verse (one of my favorites!)
“Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”- Matthew 28:18-20

Day 20
Our cousins were eager to bring us to a hotdog place they have been going to for years. The name of the place is Skip’s.
From Atlanta, GA

It is located by Avondale Estates in Georgia.

First of all, the hotdogs were really good. I was kinda full when we went there so I just grabbed a bit from my husband’s sandwiches.
From Atlanta, GA


But let me backtrack my story for a bit. When ordering, Robert saw “John 3 16” on the menu and he asked the man behind the cash register – “What do you know about John 3:16?”

And he answered “…that’s what we live by here at work.” And he gave the biggest smile while saying that.

Robert then looked at his name plate and it said “JESUS.” He asked, “Is that your name?” The man answered, “Yes but will a small ‘j’.”

We ended up talking to him some more and shared with each other the love we have for Christ and living lives for Him. It’s amazing to find that instant connection in a place where you least expect it.
From Atlanta, GA


Day 21
Believe it or not, it was my first time to eat authentic Mexican food! The closest we have to Mexican in the Philippines is Mexicali – which is really not that close.

The fajitas were DELICIOUS!
From Atlanta, GA

Went bowling after dinner. First time to bowl since we got here in the US. As usual, I did terribly. It was so much fun though!
From Atlanta, GA

Day 22
Walked around Little 5 Points in Atlanta. My cousin got me a really pretty maxi dress! Can’t wait ‘till I wear it for a special occasion! Thank you Nick!

Went to WISH and saw these old-school white/blue/red Reeboks. Got it for a really, really good price. Thank you Robert!
From Atlanta, GA

Little bummer: My G9 broke today. Well not really broken but I might have touched the lenses the wrong way and it froze on me and won’t come back to life.

However, I REFUSED to be upset about it and prayed that God will take care of it. He knows the joy I find it taking nice photographs and decided to trust that He will never want to steal one of my biggest joys.

Day 23
Thanked God for the efficient customer support of Canon. Wrapped my beloved camera and sent it off to the factory center in Illinois.

While at it, I wrote a nice letter to whoever will receive it and hoping to put a smile on that person’s face.

Day 24
Jesus, the man who we met in Skip’s invited us to attend the Sunday service of his church. It was a Spanish service and we have never been to one before. We really looked forward to it.
From Atlanta, GA

We had such a wonderful time. The more we get to know Jesus, the more I respect this man. I have met many great men of God – and I must say, his love for our Father is one of the purest I have ever seen.
From Atlanta, GA

I was so inspired by the way he worshipped Him! Robert was also given the chance to speak for a bit about what God is doing in the Philippines and the kind of work He has called us to do there.
From Atlanta, GA

After service, the senior pastor of the congregation – Pastor Adam Portal took us out to eat – Mexican food again! Yoo hoo!!! I have a new found love for Mexican food.
From Atlanta, GA

Today, I couldn’t stop thanking God for continuously bringing new people our way to meet, get to know and spend time with.

Day 25
Went to see Jesus and his wife Elvira for dinner. He wanted to know the kind of ministry work we do in the Philippines and was interested in helping out.
From Atlanta, GA

They took us to eat in Bahama Breeze. Never had Carribean food before so this was a first again. Loved their lemonade, chicken salad and key lime pie!
From Atlanta, GA

I took a bite out of my husband’s Cuban sandwich and that was delicious too.

One again, Jesus and his wife touched my heart with their stories of finding their way to America, their marriage of 20+ years and their love for the Lord.

They also pledged to support our ministry in the Philippines. What a blessing!

I was, again, through Jesus and Elvira, inspired and motivated to be the best person I can be for Him.