Sharing my faith and my life one day at a time.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Walkway: Reflections on the Stations of the Cross

On Palm Sunday, I decided to start the week in a reflective spirit by going over Bonifacio High Street and check out Church Simplified's Walkway, which is a modern, interactive version of the Stations of the Cross. Each station has a story to tell on how Jesus Christ willingly went through that painful journey so that He may take our place for the redemption of our sins.

A station looks like this.

It tells a story of a significant point in Christ's journey with the Cross.

Then it is followed by a reflection question and an action item.

Every time I read the Gospels and visualize what Jesus Christ did for me, I break down and cry -- not of sad tears but of the feeling of this overwhelming, passionate love that can only come from a God that cares about me so much.

Walkway will be at Bonifacio High Street until the evening of Easter Sunday. I highly recommend that you set aside a couple of hours going through each station.

Have a blessed Holy Week!

What Happens When You Break a Little Boy's Heart

Okay, this blog entry is not as terrible as you think it will be. I actually have something funny to share with you.

One of my favorite blogs to read everyday is Carlos Whittaker's Ragamuffin Soul. His latest entry talks about "Single Ladies, Parenting Manuals, and Fatherhood," in which he says:

In fatherhood there are wins…and there are losses…
This my friends falls right in the middle.
It is a win because my 3 year old son now knows the devastating effects of singing Beyonce in front of his father.
It is a loss because with 6 words, I accidentally crushed his little heart!
He apparently loves the song Single Ladies by Beyonce.
Little did I know how much he loves that song.
I was simply making a point that he, in fact, is not a single lady.
And check out my daughters faces. One is pissed and one is devastated at what just transpired…

Where’s that parenting manual again?

Too precious and too funny! Have a blessed Holy Week!

Monday, March 29, 2010

For Sale: Window-Type A/C (SOLD)

We are selling our LG window-type, manual-control air conditioner. Here are some specifications:

(W=472 x H=312 x D=378mm) Cooling Area = 9-12 sqm
(W=18.6 x H=12.3 x D=14.9 inches)
power input=555 watts / cooling capacity = 6,000 kj/hr / EER=10.8

The price of the A/C unit is at P4,500 only. For pick-up in Mandaluyong City until April 2nd. If interested, please send an e-mail to robert [dot] samantha [at] gmail [dot] com.

For Sale: Light Brown Side Table (SOLD)

We are selling a light-colored side table. An excellent buy. Heavy and durable. Diameter is 24 inches and height is 23 inches.

Price is P1,500 only. For pick-up in Mandaluyong until April 2nd. If interested, please leave a comment or send an e-mail to robert [dot] samantha [at] gmail [dot] com.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

For Sale: Full-Size Bed Frame + Mattress (SOLD)

SWe are selling our full-sized (also known as "double") bed frame with a mattress. Overall dimensions are 54" wide x 75" long. The height from floor to top of bed frame is 14.5 inches.

Bed frame is painted dark brown. Its four feet allows some extra storage space underneath. Costs P5,000 for the frame and mattress combo.

This is available for pick-up in Mandaluyong until April 2nd. If you are interested, please leave a comment or send an e-mail to robert [dot] samantha [at] gmail [dot] com.

For Sale: Dark Brown Side Table (SOLD)

We are selling a dark brown side table. The dimensions are: 16 inches in width; 13.5 inches in length; and 20.5 inches in height. It is very durable but it needs a new paint job.

Price is P700 only. For pick-up in Mandaluyong City until April 2nd. If you are interested, please leave a comment or send an e-mail to robert [dot] samantha [at] gmail [dot] com.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

For Sale: Refrigerator (SOLD)

We are selling our white National refrigerator. I do not know the specified cubic feet for this model so I just manually measured the height. It is about 3 feet and 10 inches.

It is still in great working condition. The maximum temperature still causes the refrigerator area to freeze. The price is P5,500 only. For pick-up in Mandaluyong City until April 2nd. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to robert [dot] samantha [at] gmail [dot] com.

Friday, March 26, 2010

For Sale: Throw Pillows (SOLD)

We are selling four pieces of throw pillows. The dimensions of these pillows are 15 x 15. The colors on the pillow cases are a combination of brown, grey and blue. We are willing to throw in additional free pillow cases if all pieces are bought.

Each throw pillow is available at P150 each. For pick-up in Mandaluyong City until April 2nd only. If you are interested, please send an e-mail to robert [dot] samantha [at] gmail [dot] com.

For Sale: Curtains (SOLD)

We have six curtain panels that are for sale. All are three-months old only. It's like getting brand new ones for a bargain.

The dimensions for each panel are 86 inches in length and 38 inches in width. Each panel costs P250 only. For pick-up in Mandaluyong City until April 2nd.

The curtains are available in these colors: dark brown, gold and dark blue (2 panels for each color). If you are interested, please send an e-mail to robert [dot] samantha [at] gmail [dot] com.

For Sale: Wall Mirror (SOLD)

We are selling our large wall mirror that was used as a decorative item placed above our couch. It has a dark brown wooden border.

Dimensions are 38.5 inches in width and 26.5 inches in height. We are selling it for P2,000 only. For pick-up in Mandaluyong City only until April 2nd.

For Sale: Dark Brown Couch

We are set to move out of our apartment next week and plan to move to a new one when we come back from the United States in July.

Robert and I agreed that we will sell some of our belongings before we move out. The first one that I am sharing with you today is our well-loved dark brown couch.

It was in an original green color but was newly re-upholstered and padded to dark brown in March 2007. We have a hard time letting go of this piece of furniture because it is so comfortable and have taken my best naps here.

The dimensions are 78 inches in width; 13 inches in seat-to-floor height; and 42 inches in depth. This item is for pick-up only in Mandaluyong City until April 2nd.

If you are interested, please send an e-mail to robert [dot] samantha [at] gmail [dot] com.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Book Review: Living Life in the Zone

As part of the Booksneeze blogger book review program, I picked a book that I normally won't buy from my favorite book shop. The title of the book is "Living Life in the Zone: A 40-Day Spiritual Game Plan for Men" by Kyle Rote Jr. and Dr. Joe Pettigrew.

However, I do have a few good reasons why the title was attractive to me.

  • I love any kind of discipline that takes place for 40 days. It's very Biblical!
  • I am married to a former professional athlete who will appreciate the sports-themed language of the book.
  • I am married to someone who loves God and does full-time ministry to athletes of all ages.
  • I always desire to know the heart of my husband and what concerns him in his walk with God.

As turned the few pages of the book, I was very delighted to see how each day is neatly divided into seven sections -- perfect for men who process thoughts and ideas into compartments! And, I am kind of like that too!

  1. Thought of the Day - a single guiding statement that sets the tone of the devotional for the day
  2. The Coach's Corner - discussion of a life lesson based on God's Word
  3. The Game Plan - a Scripture-rich text that explains what the Bible has to say about the matter
  4. Playmakers - real-life examples of Godly men who demonstrated the day's topic
  5. Time Out - discussion questions for personal or small group reflection
  6. Today's Assignment - specific action items for application purposes
  7. Home Field Advantage - a space for notes and journaling

I love that this book is packed with rich, practical lessons that any men will find easy to read. I can give this to a long-time believer or to someone just trying to get to know the Jesus because the topics are timeless. I even enjoyed it so much that I found myself reading through multiple chapters in a day! I also plan to save copies of this book to give as gifts as I am completely certain that it will be well-received.

Last of Two Parts: Good Manners Will Never Go Out of Style

In this blog entry, I will continue to discuss certain situations that call for our good manners. If you want to read the first of part of this series, please click here.

Here are some more opportunities for all of us to show consideration, respect and kindness for other people.

8) Avoiding excessive PDA and arguments in public
I am not repulsed by affection. In fact, I am expressive with how I show my love for Robert. The key word is "excessive."

While the word "too much" is totally subjective, it is best to keep the physical touch and baby talk to a minimum. There is a place and time in showing intimacy with your husband (or any type of romantic relationship); and usually it's best done in private.

If you are part of a romantic couple and find yourselves participating frequently in social gatherings, please try to avoid being caught up in your own lovey-dovey world that makes you oblivious to the conversations and activities around you. Here's the thing -- it can get so intense as to be deeply uncomfortable to those around you. I personally don't know where to look and it feels too awkward to be witnessing so personal an act.

Good manners dictate that you be very considerate of those around you and try to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Remember, people want to spend time with you and are actually happy that you're in love. You do not need to try too hard to let people know how cute you are together.

However, PDA is actually more tolerable than arguing in public. It is just too awkward for the people witnessing it.

Bottom line: Holding hands, an occasional hug, and saying "I love you" once in a while are generally okay. Arguing is never acceptable at any time in public.

9) Giving advice only when asked.
I know I am not an expert on a lot of things. And because I don't know a lot of things and I am surrounded with people who do, I am not afraid to seek advice.

However, what happens when someone offers us advice when we aren't really looking for one? Future brides, expectant/new mothers, people with illnesses, and public servants are more prone to getting a variety of "two cents" from different self-proclaimed experts.

Most advice given come from a place of love and concern. The intentions are often good and the quality of advice is actually valuable.

However, we all must endeavor to be good listeners above everything else. People need someone who encourages them rather than someone telling them what to do. Chances are, they will eventually realize that you are someone they can run to for wisdom.

10) Staring
Really, if someone stares at you -- is it ever a pleasant experience? It's really a simple reminder for all of us: it is rude to stare at any time and any place.

Yes we all can admit that people-watching can be a really fun way to pass some idle time. If you can't help but admire the person across you, just glance quickly and start looking elsewhere. Feel free to look up and take it all in, but keep your eyes moving and never pause to lock in on any one individual.

11) Acknowledging text messages
I am certain that most of us have had the experience of sending an SMS and wondered if the message was ever received or not. In the most recent times, it seems like a lot of cell phone users who use text messaging cannot just be bothered to respond; or they don't know how to reply; or simply don't want to incur an extra cost by responding to a text message.

However, it is most polite if we respond to all text messages as soon as we can even if the message contains to reply that is declining a request. It is much better to decline a someone's request than to deliberately avoid or keep someone guessing what your reply is. If you have not made up your mind as to what to answer, please send an initial response stating you are still figuring out what to do.

12) Returning borrowed items promptly
Have you ever been in a scenario where a person made all these efforts to see you because they needed to borrow something from you? However, months pass and you don't see the exact same effort being exerted in to returning the item?

I believe we are all somewhat guilty of being on both sides. It is never too late to change the "borrower's habit."

It's best to subscribe to this simple rule: return as soon as we are done with the item. Inserting a short thank you note with the item is a plus.

13) Remaining positive in social network updates
Today, Facebook and Twitter have become everyone's favorite web destination on a daily basis. I personally find it amazing how easy it has become to connect with friends from way, way back and see how they are doing.

While it is great to see good news and positive updates, we also get the "pleasure" of seeing people who use status updates to frequently vent, point out someone's failure and spell out expletives that are better left unwritten.

We already know the traditional rule of not airing one's dirty linen in public. Please be reminded that it is never okay to discuss private or embarrassing matters in public, especially relationship conflicts.

I really hope we can all learn from each other as we conduct our lives that is pleasing to both God and to our brothers & sisters. Please share your experiences or other etiquette issues that I may have missed.

One last thing. If you find yourself  being a "victim" of other people's bad manners, we have also have a choice of being gracious about it. I do hope we decide to be forgiving and if the matter needs to be addressed, I hope that it will be done in the spirit of love.

"A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense." (Proverbs 19:11 NIV)

I have a couple of excellent resources on good manners. One is, of course, from The Emily Post Institute. Another is a blog on etiquette "horror stories" guaranteed to make you laugh: Etiquette Hell.

Enjoy and love life!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First of Two Parts: Good Manners Will Never Go Out of Style

Is good behavior ever overrated in social and business situations? I think not.

While I love technology and convenience, sometimes these become reasons why people alter their behavior and consequently overlook appropriate, considerate and tactful responses to certain situations.

Call me old-fashioned but I am still a big fan of being intentional about good behavior in all situations. I also strongly believe that this kind behavior is always a representation of Christ-like character.

I made a list of situations that represent the common courtesies of life. Maybe we (that includes myself!) can learn a thing or two and hope that we are more mindful on how to act properly in different life situations.

1) Being on time.
I believe punctuality is representative of a person's reliability. While chronically late people have already made a joke about how they will be tardy for life, I believe that it is never too late to develop the habit of being on time. It is respectful of other people's efforts to meet you and spend time with you.

2) Saying "thank you."
The most traditional way of doing this is through a heartfelt, handwritten card -- which I believe is still the best way.

I, on the other hand, believe that people are made differently. Other ways a person can express gratitude is through e-mail, SMS, IM or a private message on your favorite social network. The most important thing about saying thank you is that it has to be personalized, sincere and expressive. Nothing is more awful than a general mass thank you or a casual, verbal, impersonal "thanks."

What situations require a personal expression of gratitude? Here are some.

  • When someone gives you a gift
  • When someone throws a party or shower in your honor
  • When someone hosts you at their home and extended their hospitality to you
  • When someone visits you while you are ill
  • When someone interviews you for a job opening
I cannot stress enough the importance of personalizing your thank you. Just think about this. If a person went out of their way to do something special for you, a couple of minutes of your time is nothing when it comes to expressing your gratitude.

3) Staying a few feet away when standing next in line.
Defiance of this basic social rule is the one that probably frustrates me the most. There have been many occasions where I am at the grocery checkout line and many have failed to respect my personal space. As if standing way too close to me will save them minutes of checkout time!

When you are in queue in an ATM machine, a fast food chain, or a check-in counter in an airport, the same rule applies. Give the person in front of you the space he/she deserves to conduct his transaction. The time you save from standing too close isn't that much and won't make a difference.

4) Using mobile phones sparingly in social gatherings.
In an SMS-obsessed world, the use of the mobile phone has turned even the most polite into disconnected, withdrawn dinner party guests. It's bad enough to excessively send text messages during intimate social gatherings but the recent popularity of smart phones has made a lot of people too comfortable in checking their social network updates almost every second (and even play with installed applications!) instead of having a real, live conversation to the friend sitting next to them.

While I personally don't think there is anything wrong with attending to phone calls and text messages that require immediate attention, it is important to stay focused on the purpose why you attended a social gathering in the first place: to interact with people.

5) Share milestones and big news to family and best friends in person.
Have you ever had the misfortune of finding out a close friend's promotion, engagement or pregnancy over Facebook? It's not so much that it's rude. It's hurtful. Big news are still best shared in person with your family and best friends. If face-to-face is impossible, a personal phone call, e-mail or text message is also very thoughtful.

6) RSVP promptly.
RSVP is a French acronym that means "Respondez S'il Vous Plait" which is translated in English to mean "please respond or respond please". People who host formal or casual gatherings have become dependent on asking who is coming or not. Why? Because hosting is expensive, time-consuming and a requires a lot of heart.

As an invited guest, it is only considerate to respond to an invitation at the soonest possible time. A host went out of his/her way to include you in an event; show respect by letting him/her know the status of your attendance. If you are not sure, please let that person that your answer is a maybe. It's much better than ignoring the invitation completely.

And if you do say you're coming, please show up. I was at a wedding recently and found it sad to see so many unclaimed dinner place cards. It was hard for me to believe that adults will say that they are coming (at the expense of the married couple) and not attend at all.

7) Pregnant?
No matter how sure you are based on a glance, never assume that a woman is pregnant. If you are eager to know if she is, simply ask how she is doing. Chances are she will share the happy news immediately.

This is just the first of two parts. Have you experienced any of these situations? Do you have any stories to share? I would love to hear about them in the comments section.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Taking a Break

Blogging has been slow lately because I have been on vacation with Robert in one of our favorite places on earth.

Blogging will be slow for the rest of the week as we decided to extend our stay for a couple of more days. We are blessed that expenses on our trip has been way below the budget and we can extend without hurting our pockets. I am also grateful that I can work from here!

We also want to take advantage of this time alone, renew ourselves and prepare for the next three weeks which will be very busy!

Hope you are having a blessed week!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Birthday Thank You

Enough about the cell phone drama first. Ever since I started this blog, I made a personal commitment that this will be place of happy thoughts, faith-building, and encouragement. If there was something sad to write about it must be something that affected me on many levels.

The awful customer service encounter I had with SMART Communications warrants a blog entry but I just don't have the energy right now to re-live every horrific detail.

Today, I just want enjoy the blessings God has placed in my life especially these past three weeks. I celebrated my 34th birthday last February 25th.

I don't do big parties. I feel like I don't get to spend time with everyone. But I love several little get-togethers with different groups of friends. I feel like time spent is much more valuable in intimate settings.

I am really blessed to have gotten the chance to spend time with my closest friends in the past three weeks in celebration of my birthday. To those who are close to me, they know that I feel most loved when friends want to have quality time with me.

Dinner at the women's life group that I lead

Dinner with college best friends in You Jie Xiao Chao

Dinner with Robert in Brazil Brazil

Watched RENT the musical with Robert

Had my favorite Dulcelin mango torte given by my sister Maia

Had another dessert favorite: Red Ribbon ube cake given by my parents

Spent with closest friends from high school: Irma, Cathy and Aileen

I also tasted the best cassava cake I ever had. Thank you Cathy!

Had a birthday get-together and make-up lessons with my Tuesday brunch small group

Had dinner with my other best friends Maricar and Charms. Maricar cooked a wonderful meal!

I am so grateful that I was able to spend time with people who mean the world to me. I also cherish all the cards, texts, phone calls, Facebook messages, and gifts that I received. 

Thank you Monique, Rhea, Maia, Mom, Irma, Cathy, Charms, Ganns, Dennese, Jeff, Camille, and Tristan for the lovely and thoughtful presents! Words cannot express how blessed I am by your gesture!

Please pray with me as I start this 34th year of my life. God has been faithful and loving. My desire is to always seek His will in all things -- big and small. And when He is clear with me with His will, I just want to follow Him completely.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Rebuilding My Phone Book

Yesterday was an interesting day. My cell phone has been in the Nokia service center since the second week of February. It's been shutting off on its own since about the week I started owning it.

Photo Credit:

I finally got fed up and it took it to the service center for repair since it is still under warranty. I am glad that Nokia issued a service phone in the meantime.

Twenty two days later, Nokia finally sent a message and let me know that the newly-repaired cell phone is ready for release. When we finally reached the service center and the phone was handed to me, I inserted my SIM card and realized that it was still shutting off automatically.

I informed the customer service guy that the problem was still existing. After testing the unit with other SIM cards, he concluded that it is the SIM card that is defective after all and not the phone.

I asked him why my own SIM was working perfectly in the service unit that they issued me. He said that they got a technical bulletin from SMART Communications that some SIM cards might not work with some Nokia phone units and unfortunately, mine was one of them.

I sadly left the Nokia center with a heavy heart and dreading the trip I have to make to SMART to request for a new SIM card. I was not looking forward to do it because my subscription plan is under my father's name and not mine -- which I know will make things very difficult.

Before walking over to the SMART business office, I decided to make a stop at the Apple Center in SM Mega Mall to have someone look at my mother's iPod shuffle. It hasn't been working so she wanted me to have it checked.

I lined up for a bit and decided it was taking too long to get help. I decided to start working on my SIM issues since the need is urgent.

As I walked out of Apple center and reached for my book bag and tried to get my mobile phone, I discovered that it was gone! I thoroughly searched through my backpack: wallet (check), camera (check), iPod (check), makeup bag (check).

But the cell phone was definitely gone. Another girl in the same area discovered her phone was stolen too.

All I could do at that point was to ask Robert to stand in a corner and pray for who ever stole my cell phone. At the start of this year, I made a commitment to God to completely love others.

"Loving others" is also applicable in this situation.

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you (Luke 6:27-28).

I feel so sad for that person. The pleasure of taking something that's not yours will forever remain a mystery in my heart.

But I am also using this time to trust God, knowing that whatever was lost, He will lovingly give back to me.

This is just the first part of a weekend-long horror story. The story just gets worse as I tried to go to SMART and recover what was lost. But I will save it for another blog entry.

In the meantime, please send an e-mail to happysammy [at] gmail [dot] com with your phone number. I am trying to rebuild my phone book (again) this week.

Thank you to everyone who has sent me messages of concern and cared enough to cheer me up. You all DID put a smile on my face and it's these times that God shows Himself (through you) and lets me know how much He loves me. At the end of the day, I am still very blessed.
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