Thursday, December 30, 2010

Happy Song Series: PARTY LIFE

This song gives me and Robert great memories of a recent trip in Laguna Beach, California. When this is played, we look knowingly at each other and we are instantly reminded of the great time we had there.























Hope you enjoy this music video of 'Party Life' by our good friend QUEST. We are so proud of him!


PARTY LIFE from Treb Monteras II on Vimeo.

I think Treb Monteras II did a great job directing. He has come a long way from the video he directed back in 2006 of the song 'Wherever You Are' by South Border .



If you look hard and close enough at 4:33, you will see a little cameo by Robert walking through the hospital halls holding a bunch of balloons. Blink and you will definitely miss it!

Do you like PARTY LIFE? Join the QUEST.

The 2011 To Do List

I hardly look at this as a list of 'resolutions' or even 'faith goals'
(I do have faith goals which I will feature soon);
but in 2011, I would love to see myself do the following (in no particular order):



It's been almost four years since we got married, I want to be able to finally assemble our wedding album.

Make photo books of every vacation we will have.

Caption the photos I upload on Facebook.

Get back to my most comfortable weight. That's about 10 to 15 lbs! I will do it through the best means: eating healthy and exercising consistently.

I was getting the hang of running my own household (and I loved every minute of it!) and cooking dinners until we had to pack, take off and live with the in-laws. While I enjoyed this season in my life, I am now ready to being a full-time homemaker again and re-learn running a household, planning a menu, planning a budget and cooking meals daily.

I think I play decent in Words With Friends, Scrabble, and Boggle. I am not naturally competitive but I would love to see myself play better with word games. If you play any of these games, you are more than welcome to humble me every time!

Be intentional about drinking at least 8 glasses of purified water everyday.

I believe God blessed me with a singing voice but always hesitated to use it. I have zero musical knowledge. I don't know how to read notes. I don't know how to blend with the melody. I have terrible rhythm. I hardly remember any kind of lyric. I am just going to step out in faith and hope that I can join a worship team despite my setbacks. I don't want to do it for myself but my Father made it known to me to take this step. I want to make Him proud!

With that being said, I would love to learn one new song I can sing by heart every month. Do you have any suggestions? I want to hear them!

Now that we are starting to slowly build a new permanent home, I will finally fully embrace the world of eBay, craigslist, Priceline, Groupon, Living Social, garage sales, flea markets, and mad couponing!

Be better at sending handwritten birthday cards (the traditional kind) to family. I think it's so sad not to have time for it.

Develop at least a general interest in sports and local news. My husband loves being informed in these areas and I think it would be nice to find new ways to engage with him.

Do an in-depth personal Bible study every quarter. The deeper and grittier, the better!

De-clutter my Twitter timeline! I love staying connected with people. I don't have issues with it. But I do want to find more effective ways to make my timeline easier to read.

FINALLY:
A good habit we will continue to do in 2011: Prayer and fasting with Robert and list down our faith goals at the beginning of the year. Then we do it again in June to evaluate our goals and seek the Holy Spirit's direction.


How about you?
Share with me your 'to-do' list for 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Link Love: December 29, 2010

Sending a lot of link love your way before the year ends! You will find tons of information on skin care, hair style, blogging, writing, and great reading material. Enjoy!

5 Sure-Fire Winter Skin Moisturizers Under $15 by BellaSugar
When it comes to hydrating skin dried out by cold wind and indoor heating, you don't have to go high-end to get something soothing and highly hydrating. Perfect choices for a budget-conscious person like myself!



Get Natasha Bedingfield's Sweetly Shaggy Hairstyle by BellaSugar
The stylist who created Natasha Bedingfield's messy look, Caile Noble of the Serge Normant at John Frieda Salon in LA, gave a step-by-step breakdown on getting this look right. This was the basis of my new hair style.

6 Reasons Why I Am Thankful for Blogging by BLOGGINGPRO
Andrew G. Rosen resonates by own feelings why I am grateful to be given an opportunity to have a voice in this crazy, online universe.

50 Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing Skills by SMASHING MAGAZINE
Smashing Magazine collected over 50 useful and practical tools and resources that will help us to improve our writing skills.

The Lure of Public Productivity by catalystspace
I just loved Pete Wilson's insights on John Piper's recent announcement to step down from his ministry role to work on his marriage. I also can't wait to visit his church when we move to Nashville!

The God Who Is There by THE GOSPEL COALITION
In February 2009, Don Carson presented a 14-part seminar entitled “The God Who Is There” at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. This series will serve the church well because it simultaneously evangelizes non-Christians and edifies Christians by explaining the Bible’s storyline in a non-reductionistic way. Full audio and video are available for free on the website.

My Twitter Toolbox by Chris Brogan
Brogan has mastered productivity in using social media tools. His in-depth description on how he uses and manages his Twitter account has challenged me to evaluate how I interact with mine.

3 Ways to Groom Your Eyebrows by EVERYDAY with Rachael Ray
Everything any girl needs to know about having well-groomed eyebrows. Ladies, this is something we must be on top of every day.

How to Grow a Leader by CHURCHLEADERS.COM
This one page PDF article by KidLead gives parents practical tips on how to develop the leadership qualities of their kids.

Catalyst Dallas
The famous (and rightly so) Catalyst Conference is opening its third location in Dallas, Texas on May 11 to 13. The theme is 'Take Courage.' We are praying about being a part of this gathering.

God Uses Critics to Help Us by Josh Harris
Being criticized is a good thing! My constant prayer is to always receive them graciously and never have the desire to 'put anyone in their place.'

Preaching Notes Series by Josh Harris
This is a great learning series. Why? Josh Harris was able to obtain manuscripts of preaching notes by well-known preachers such as Mark Dever, Mike Bullmore, C.J. Mahaney and Tim Keller.

13 e-books to Put on Your Brand-New Kindle by Michael Hyatt
Kind of biased because most books are from the publishing company that he leads but since I have read 10 out of those 13 titles this year, it is still a great list to look at!

15 Books That Have IMPACTED Me Personally by Perry Noble
Great reading list! Just started reading #13 -- The Grace of God by Andy Stanley. I love how it is making an impact on me as well.

5 Books I Want to Read Before 2011 by Neli Atiga
And another reading list worth sharing! I got 'Decoded' by Jay-Z for Robert on Christmas and we just started  going through it. I cannot say I am a hiphop expert (because I'm not) but I have found myself really connected to a couple of songs in that genre in 2010. One them being 'Not Afraid' by Eminem. While a lot of Christians give a lot of grief to fellow believers who listen to hiphop, I love listening to a person's life story and being exposed to the kind of pain/suffering he went through.

iPad Guide: 25+ Essential Resources for Your Apple Tablet by Mashable
The ultimate, non-manual guide to one of the best inventions! I got my iPad in April 2010 and it is now an indispensable tool to my work and personal productivity.

Get Started With a Reading Plan by YouVersion
Ready for a new Bible reading plan for 2011? This link is a great starting point.

Lasting Student Ministry
A 64-page e-Book for youth pastors that has been buzzing with great reviews. Bought this for Rob and excited to learn from the wisdom of great 14 youth leaders.

(Note: I have a new 'feature' on this blog called 'On The Radar.' You will see it on the right side of the blog. You will discover more links to valuable content that I feel is worth sharing right away, instead of waiting for it to be featured on 'Link Love.' Hope you enjoy the stuff I share with you!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What I Missed This Christmas

Ensaymada

Filipino street children singing Christmas carols

Christmas lights in Ayala Avenue

Bibingka

My Mom's raspberry trifle

Noche Buena 
(A traditional Christmas Eve feast)

Parols
(Homemade, elaborate Filipino lanterns)

Puto Bumbong

Boracay
(Where we always head to right after Christmas)

Karaoke
(Both in party rooms and in the comfort of my home)


Home bakers pulling out all the stops to sell their glorious, edible creations

My home church's Christmas services

The endless Christmas parties and gift-giving!

And most of all, I missed this:

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Different Christmas

I hope you all had a beautiful, wonderful Christmas -- in however way you celebrated it! Robert and I had a lovely time. I was happy that he is spending it with his family and in his childhood home after years of celebrating it overseas.

It was definitely different for me because I did not get to experience the usual Christmas traditions I have become accustomed to practicing in my 30+ years of living in the Philippines. Nevertheless, it was a Christmas filled with hope and possibilities for me!

The only kind of Christmas I really knew was the sunny, tropical kind. My idea of getting dressed for Christmas was to be in a cute, pretty sundress. What a treat to wake up on Christmas Eve seeing this.


I used to deplore snow and the general concept of winter being a pleasant season. Today, I am finding myself getting used to it and appreciating the beauty it brings to my surroundings.

It still isn't my favorite time of the year but I realized what a $28 (thanks to fabulous coupon combinations!) thick, down jacket can do to make me less miserable. I can, today, humbly admit that my dislike of the cold weather was a product of a heart that refuses to embrace change.

Our church had a solemn Christmas candlelight service. I have a funny relationship with Christmas songs. I find them too boring to play on my iPod but I do enjoy singing it with a body of believers who lovingly honor the birth of Jesus Christ.


After the service, Robert took us to a property in Papillion, Nebraska which is famous of its elaborate outdoor Christmas decorations. It was quite a fascinating sight! We saw gingerbread men, a choir, folks skiing, drummer boys, the nativity scene, Snoopy, snowmen, a carousel, elves, helpers, and even a moving Santa Claus by the door (which I thought was a teeny bit creepy because it looked so real). If you live in Omaha, this is worth making a trip to.


I love giving presents! Probably one of my favorite things to do during the holiday season (aside from writing and mailing Christmas cards). And I am not going to lie, I love getting them too! It's not really about what I get, but the thought of someone thinking of me when they see something. Yes -- I feel really loved that way!


And of course, Christmas in Nebraska is not complete without my MIL cooking a delicious lunch! She roasts the best turkey -- I promise you! You think turkey white meat is dry and bland? Wait until you taste hers! It is soft, juicy and tasty. Her turkey should win awards.


Robert and I would like to thank family and friends who have thoughtfully sent gifts, cards, text messages, e-cards and made phone calls to wish us a merry Christmas. We really felt your love and I hope we were able to express it to all of you how much we love you back. The true meaning of Christmas is most felt when God's children take their time to express their love for one another.



If there is anything I can pray for you as you usher in the new year, please send them over to me! Hope you all felt the wonderful love of Jesus Christ this Christmas.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

May the birthday of Jesus Christ
fill your home with joy,
your heart with love
and your life with laughter.


Tell me:
What does Christmas mean to you?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Identifying Emotions in Marriage

One my most cherished times in this season of exploring, discovering and learning is being a part of a "journey group" for married couples. Robert and I have always wanted study God's Word with other like-minded people who acknowledge God's standards for marriage. We are really grateful that we got the chance to complete a series called "Staying in Love" by Andy Stanley for the fall semester.


Today, I want to share with you the biggest lesson that I learned from this Bible study series.

Don't you think it is interesting that no couple wants to fight and yet we have not met anyone who has completely avoided it? And it seems like the failure to communicate and address these disagreements leads to another fight, and then another fight, and then another fight ...

And the next thing you know, a married couple who used to be head over heels in love are now growing apart and has completely given up on any kind of resolution.

Unintentional or not, we all bring emotional baggage from relational hurts in our pasts. It is only inevitable that our spouses will say or do something that will trigger an unpleasant emotion that will consequently generate anger in our hearts.

I just love how the Bible warns me on how this is likely to happen in our marriage:

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." (Proverbs 4:23)

Andy Stanley's commentary on this Bible verse proves to be even more helpful:

"We need a proactive strategy for doing this. We're good at monitoring our spouses' behavior, but we're horrible at monitoring what's really happening in our own hearts."

GUILTY AS CHARGED!

I have come to the realization that when I get angry, I often blame my husband for being the source of that anger. I have since learned that my default reaction should always be a thoughtful examination of the condition of my heart.

As a married couple, both of our hearts must be anchored on God for us to be in an emotionally healthy place. If we proactively "guard our hearts," we can address disagreements with civility and a genuine determination to resolve issues so that it does not creep up again and again.

When you find yourself starting to get heated up that can possibly brew a fight, I recommend taking these steps.

1) Calm down. Have a seat. Take a couple of deep breaths.

2) Pray. Pray hard. Ask for the power of our Great Counselor, the Holy Spirit to navigate through your feelings and thoughts.

3) Identify what causes the anger. It is not enough to vent to your spouse, "I am mad" or "I am frustrated with you." It is also not healthy to express these feelings on a social network status because you need to let it all out. Or worse, you just keep it all in and let it kill you inside. It will not resolve anything. Go into specifics. Communicate these emotions. Think of words that precisely describe your feelings. Looking for sample statements?

"I am frustrated at the fact that you leave your clothes lying around. When you do that, I feel that you disrespect the work that I do to keep our home clean."

"Your lack of affection leaves me feeling undesirable. And that makes me resentful. The more I resent, the angrier I become."

"Sometimes I feel like you are too bossy and controlling with me. When you do that, it reminds me of sad memories of childhood when I watched my father do that to my mother. Remembering these days hurt me deeply."

"You do not have to question my decisions all the time. I feel belittled. I wish you can trust me more and know that my reasons are always of good intentions."

"It makes me mad when I see you spend almost all of your time caring for our children. I think you are a wonderful mother but I cannot help but feel neglected."

"I feel really judged when your parents are around. Their actions make me feel like a terrible wife/husband. I wish you would stand up for me more and honor me in their presence."

"When we spend time with these group of people, I feel so left out. I would love it if you were more intentional about filling me in some of the details so that I feel a little more included."

"I need help. I need some form of assistance. I thought I could do it all but I am too prideful to admit it. I don't want to keep on pretending because it just puts anger and frustration in my heart."


Do these statements sound familiar? I am sure most of us have felt this one way or another. However, we overlook the desire to be deliberate about identifying the source of the anger.

The more specific we get in identifying our emotions, the better we communicate our feelings to our spouse.


If you find yourself needing to communicate something to your spouse:
"Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ." (Ephesians 4:15)

If you find yourself on the receiving end of something that is being expressed to you:
"Christ uses critics to guard our souls from self-destructive tendencies. We gain ears to listen to others when we gain ears to listen to Him. Critics, like governing authorities, are servants of God to you for good." (Romans 13:4)

Let us challenge ourselves with this concluding statement from Andy Stanley:

What's inside of you is coming out. And it's not coming out because of who you are with, but because it was in you to begin with. If you want to stay in love, you have to pay attention to what is in there, so that you can own it. You have to have a plan to guard your heart--a plan that begins with thinking about and identifying specific emotions and then communicating them. Will you commit to this plan?

Do you want to know more?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Review: START! The Bible for New Believers

In a recently written entry called "Books to Help You Jump-Start a Relationship with Jesus," I highly recommended THEMESSAGE//REMIX Bible as your starting point in getting to know God's Word. Today, I have another Bible recommendation that I have seen to be very good for anyone who wants to start reading the Word.

START! The Bible for New Believers (Edited by Greg Laurie) in the New King James Version serves as a great tool for people who have never read or studied the Bible before but really has the heart to get it started.


One of the great things about this Bible is that it has two preliminary sections before you start on your first chapter. The first is "The Plan of Salvation" and the second is "The Secrets of Spiritual Success." Both are great articles that you can read before immersing yourself in the Word -- it was a great source of encouragement for me and I am certain it will do the same for you!

The next helpful thing about reading through this Bible is that it has several features that provide assistance in helping you know more about the basics of spiritual growth that is Biblical. What features am I talking about?

1) Bible Book Introductions -- All of us can use an overview of a book so that we know what we are reading about, right? This helped me out a lot!

2) Live -- I found little articles all throughout the Bible that reminded me on what it means to live for Jesus Christ.

3) Grow -- There was an abundance of key tips and principles on how to live a faith-filled life.

4) Know -- Ever wish you had a Faith 101 class? These sections help you strengthen spiritual foundations.

5) Learn -- Ever wondered what certain Bible verses mean? You will find a lot of commentaries on important passages to help you comprehend important lessons in God's Word.

If you would like to grab a new Bible to read to help you start the new year, START! is really a great tool to implement this goal. It's very effective for new believers and also very easy to read for those who have always stayed away from the King James Version because of intimidation of the language. This is, in my opinion, a new, improved, and very readable version!

A free download of the entire Gospel of John from Start! The Bible for New Believers and additional details are available by visiting http://www.thestartbible.com.

Start! The Bible for New Believers is available in paperback, jacketed hardcover, or Leathersoft cover options. A Start! The Bible for New Believers New Testament Edition is also available in paperback.

Hardcover: $24.99, Leathersoft: $59.99, New Testament Edition: $7.99

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, December 13, 2010

You Love Him But He's Married

The death of Elizabeth Edwards last week gripped my heart in a way that I cannot even begin to explain. In the midst of a war with cancer, she battled an even more difficult war in the last few years of her life: a marriage that was permanently crippled by her husband's infidelity.


I am blessed to be married to a man who takes God's high standards of marriage seriously. This is a significant responsibility that should never be taken for granted by any husband.

His heart breaks for men who foolishly decide to leave their wives for another woman, thinking that this will fulfill an emptiness in their hearts that truly only God can fill.

I, on the other hand, clearly feel for wives who has experienced severe rejection from their husbands. I know a lot of you agree when I say that nothing can make a woman feel uglier and more insecure.

However, my heart grieves most for all the women out there finding themselves entangled with a married man. It is a choice no woman should ever have to make because it's life that literally walks away from the will of God.

If you can identify yourself as this woman, I have some thoughts that I would like to share with you.

1) Perhaps the most common reason that everyone uses for getting involved extra-marital affairs is that the husband has been sexually and emotionally suffering in his marriage for a long time. "They have been having serious problems before I even came along," you say to yourself.  Therefore, you cannot possibly be responsible for a marriage that falls apart.

My friend, while it is true that the marriage has probably been going through a lot of problems before you came along, you are taking away that crucial opportunity for the husband and wife to have no choice but to cling to God so that He may perform miracles on their marriage. It is never your job nor your place to be the source of the solution.

2) When a man is having problems with his marriage, he has two choices:

(a) walk away because he feels he has done everything according to his own strength and it's time to give up

or

(b) recognize he cannot do it on his own and humbly recognizes he needs God during this time.

Is the man who would rather take the first option really that much more attractive?

3) You are loved and created beautiful in eyes of your heavenly Father. You probably do not believe that right now.

You probably think that man will give you the best love you can ever have. It probably boosts your self-confidence that a man would prefer you over his wife.

It aches so much in me to even think that you believe that. Your God loves you and wants a relationship with you. Part of His plans for you is to give you a single, honorable man who has no eyes for anyone else except you.

Jesus wants to give you the marriage of your dreams. A marriage that involves you, the man He created for you, and Him.

Choosing to be with a married man is literally telling God: "I do not believe that You have someone for me. I do not trust You in this area. I would rather have faith in what this man is offering me than what You are willing to give to me."


My friend, I do not wish to place condemnation in your heart. You are not an awful person. What's awful are the lies that you choose to believe because you have given your heart to a man who does not know what 'honor' really means. And I do not even blame you for believing him.

But I promise you this: there is freedom in walking away from these lies and start moving into a place of truth. I cannot even begin to tell you how beautiful life is when you start allowing Jesus Christ to fill everything that your heart needs.

Please talk to someone today. There is a way out. And that path is the best first step to freedom you will ever make.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Gifts of Compassion Catalog

It is two weeks before Christmas and I have a confession today: I have not gotten a chance to complete my Christmas gift list. It's just been really busy lately because of major transitions going on right now and honestly, I have been feeling moved to think of gifts that really make a difference.

God has blessed us generously this year and I never take for granted that Robert and I have always more than we ever needed. That's how good our Father is!

The harsh reality of this fallen world is that not all of our brothers and sisters have everything they need. How wonderful it would be if we really make this Christmas about giving more and not getting more!

You probably remember a previous blog entry that I posted about the beautiful girl from Guatemala that we are sponsoring through Compassion International. If you are thinking of other ways to support children through this wonderful organization, I am happy to share with you today the Gifts of Compassion Catalog.



WHAT IS THE GIFTS OF COMPASSION CATALOG?
An on-line catalog of gift alternatives for friends, family and clients. No crowds, no lines, no stress - just a gift that will help make a difference in the life of a child living in one of the poorest communities of the world.

These gifts help provide clean drinking water, medical treatment, disaster relief, food supplies and much, much more for Compassion-assisted children and their families. Meet real needs and bring real joy with a Gift of Compassion.

Gifts include mosquito nets, soccer balls, chickens, goats, water filters, farm equipment, clean water and more. Gift prices range from $10 to $5000. There is a tangible gift for every gift budget!

Today, I hope that you consider taking gift-giving to another level. Make a needy child's Christmas extra-special this year through a Gift of Compassion.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Books to Help You Jump-Start a Relationship with Jesus

Lately, I have been in several periods of long, extended conversations with Jesus. It's been great and I look forward to more moments with Him.

My recent times spent with Him put an impression in my heart that there a many women out there who are hungry for a relationship with God but simply do not know where to start.  There is a genuine, pure desire to get the ball rolling and all they need is a recommendation to the right direction.

While I refuse to impose any kind of formula on anyone, I do have a list of suggested reading materials that can help you (or a friend that you know) get started on knowing who Jesus really is. Here are a few books that made a difference in my spiritual walk.

THEMESSAGE // REMIX Bible
Do you find yourself wanting to read the Bible but too intimidated to start it? The best Bible version to get yourself started is The Message//REMIX. God's Word comes alive in an easily understood language. Eager to establish the discipline to read it every day? I recommend grabbing The Message//REMIX Pause: A Daily Reading Bible -- that will walk you through the entire Bible in one, two, or four years.



3:16 The Numbers of Hope by Max Lucado
If you know nothing of the Bible, start here. The message of the book will give you hope and hunger for the God who is alive and and crazy about you.



Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
This book is a series of beautiful narrations on how Jesus became fully alive to the author and to his friends Laura and Penny. If you desire to know what it is like to have profound encounters with God (especially if you never experienced it), Don Miller's honesty will make you feel someone gets you.



Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge
Is your heart looking for a place to come to terms with the fact that you are a princess: your heavenly Daddy's girl who will always remain precious in His eyes? "Captivating" is a book that will capture your soul and will lead you to a path of acceptance that you are God's beloved.



Loved: Stories of Forgiveness by Rebecca St. James
Do you feel like the bad choices you have made in the past (and continue to make) is preventing you from pursuing a relationship with Jesus? It is not God's desire to leave us feeling burdened by guilt. May these stories encourage you to start believing that God forgives us every time we ask -- with complete, unconditional love. Definitely not because we are "forgiveable" but because of who He is: a Father eager to shower mercy on His children.



One 2 One by Steve Murrell
Is there a need for you to push a spiritual "re-set" button, start from scratch, and get to know God all over again like a child on her first day to school? One 2 One, in my opinion, is the best tool to use with your Bible and re-educate yourself on what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. I highly urge you to go through this book with a friend who loves God!



One Month to Live by Kerry & Chris Shook
This book poses a personal challenge for you and me. What would you do if you knew you only had one month to live? It's a great question to help you identify what really matters in your life. I have done this book with other women. It is a great discussion tool in a group.




The Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian
I grew up thinking that I can only pray certain memorized prayers. It almost felt like talking in my own words was not allowed. This book threw away all kinds of misconceptions I had about having a conversation with God. I have since experienced complete freedom in knowing that communicating with Jesus is open, all day, every day!




Reminders before going out and buying these books:

  • If you had to pick one book out of this list, I strongly recommend The Message Bible. In fact, treat all the other books as supporting material to the Bible.
  • Think of a friend whose walk with the Lord is inspiring to you. Tell her about your desire to have a real relationship with Jesus Christ. Ask her what books helped her get to know the Lord better. Inquire on how she grew by knowing Him deeper.
  • Enjoy this season of discovery. Don't try to figure everything out. Ask questions. If you are stuck on one verse, stay on it until you feel you completely understand it.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Looking Pretty in the Winter

Growing up in a hot, humid tropical country allowed me to embrace a lifestyle of cute sundresses that matched with glowing, moisturized skin. Today, I am in a season where bright, orange leaves are turning into gray and temperatures have dropped severely.

Yes, winter is finally settling in and I have a confession to make: I feel least beautiful in this season.

My skin has turned itchy and seems to have lost its golden luster.

My hair is dry and limp. I am unable to style it because it's always covered in thick, knit hats to keep my head warm.

It's been really difficult to work out. I prefer exercising outdoors, taking in the sight of beautiful trees and soaking in my quiet time.

I am not the kind of person who is content on complaining and continue on doing so. I find joy in seeking opportunities to make positive changes.

In this case, positive changes mean: MAKEOVERS!

Here are some little changes I plan to make to put some holiday cheer into my look.

1) Get a haircut. My last trim was July. That was five months ago. The ends are dry and it needs to be healthy again. Here is the picture of the new style I am going for. I love Natasha Bedingfield.


2) Liven up my hair color. Normally, I go for a permanent formula. However, I just want to bring back health to my dry hair. I will most likely go for a dark brown "glaze" and do it myself. If you're looking to boost your color or bump up your highlights, choose a gloss or glaze with "semipermanent" color (like John Frieda Luminous Color Glaze, $10).

3) Start using a gradual glow skin moisturizer. I don't need a tan in the winter. But I don't need to look pale and gray either. Jergens Natural Glow daily moisturizer will help me to stay golden throughout this cold, dry season.

4) Go to a waxing salon. I am very adamant about not having excess hair. Especially in my face. I would love to have a clean canvas when I start putting on some holiday makeup!

Teach me: What do you do to give yourself a little holiday makeover?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Book Review: Becoming a Woman of Simplicity

I am a woman who enjoys writing down my prayers and thoughts in a journal. I get most inspired when I get my hands on a book that requires me to reflect on different parts of Scripture and write down what God is telling me.


I recently had the chance to go through the book "Becoming a Woman of Simplicity" by Cynthia Heald. The Bible verse on its cover spoke directly to me:

"I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." - 2 Corinthians 11:3

Reading this verse affirmed something in my heart that Jesus loves pure, uncluttered devotion. I knew that there is real danger for me to complicate this relationship by committing myself to a lot of spirit-building activities. There is nothing wrong with that, but I should not lose my focus on what really, truly matters to Him.

I found delight in getting up early in the morning, brewing a hot cup of coffee and with two books (this one and the Bible) and a pen. Every day, I read one chapter of this Bible study and it pointed me to relevant Scripture for me to chew on.

If you believe that you are a woman who needs to detox herself from all the activities that life demands, "Becoming a Woman of Simplicity" is a terrific book to lead you on a journey that will help you determine what is truly important in expressing your love for Christ.

I concluded this study realizing that living a life of simplicity is not merely a choice I can make, but it is necessary in moving forward in my relationship with Him.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."