Monday, September 27, 2010

Going East and Then South ...

Robert and I are set to go on another road trip starting early Wednesday morning. Being on the road and going from city to city is something that I always look forward to because it really does amazing things to our marriage!


When I am with my husband inside a vehicle for hours, we get to do the following: play games, talk, laugh, reflect, resolve conflict, pray, hope, listen, and dream. I love it when God orchestrates trips like this because it gives the three of us the chance to re-connect and take a look at our commitment in making this marriage glorify Him more. If you are married and have never been alone with your husband outside your home for long stretches of time, I suggest that you give this a chance!

We will be in these cities in the next two weeks:

Kansas City, KS (Visit IHOP and good friends Nards and Pinky Payba)
St. Louis, MO (Visit good friends Adnan and Adisa Sabic)
Memphis, TN (Visit Every Nation Memphis Church)
Nashville, TN (Visit Every Nation headquarters and good friends Eddie and Amy Anstey)
Atlanta, GA (Attend Catalyst and visit my family)
Dallas, TX (Attend the wedding of good friends Danny Cawl and Carolina Contreras)

Please pray for us as we travel through the day and occasionally through dark evenings. We are excited, to say the least, about the days ahead of us!

This also means that the blog will be updated less often as I go off and experience & enjoy life offline. Sitting on a desk everyday isn't always a good thing! My online life will mainly consist of tasks that I will be doing for my job and probably a random status message.

If you would like to stay in touch in the next couple of weeks, you may always follow me on Twitter, Google Buzz or Plurk; or view my latest photos on Picasa or Flickr. I always reply to direct messages and e-mails!

See you!

Dresses On The Fall 2010 Radar

Loving these dresses right now!


From: Topshop


From: Rent the Runway


From: Topshop


From: Dorothy Perkins


From: Warehouse

Can you tell I love London-based retail stores? Fall is the best season to play dress-up!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

To My Hubby

Sometimes I'm absentminded,

Sometimes I'm kind of cross,

Sometimes I maybe act as if I think that I'm the boss...

Sometimes I'm kind of quiet, especially when I'm worried.

Sometimes I'm just plain "sungit" when I think I'm being hurried ...

Sometimes I act a little spoiled,

Sometimes I'm moody too!

But there's one thing I always am --

And that's in love with you!

























Robert, thank you for being the kind of husband who is patient with a weird, dorky wife like me. Thank you that your genuine love of life and people rubs off on me everyday!

I can't wait to celebrate all of your future birthdays in this lifetime and in heaven!

I love you so much! Happy birthday!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Update: Damaged Luggage and Contents + Lessons Learned

To those who read an old blog entry called "Damaged Luggage and Contents" -- you will see that one (1) piece of my suitcase and some of its contents got severely damaged on our Delta Airlines flight from Omaha to Manila. If you are curious on what took place, please read that old entry by clicking on this link.

For all travelers out there, an account on how this incident was resolved might help you. I sincerely hope it never happens to any of you but in the event that it does, I hope I can point you in the right direction.

Here is a copy of the e-mail that we sent to Delta Airlines the day.

from: Robert Johnson
to: mnlll@delta.com
date: Sun, Jul 18, 2010 at 7:54 PM
subject: Damage Claim Form - Robert and Samantha Johnson

To whom it may concern:

We are Robert and Samantha Johnson. We flew Delta with the following flight information.

DL 2909 OMA MSP 17 Jul 01:00PM
DL 0619 MSP NRT 17 Jul 03:10PM
DL 0173 NRT MNL 18 Jul 06:40PM

We are filing a Damage Claim Form based on the condition of 1 piece of luggage that we claimed as we arrived in Manila last night. It was severely damaged and many of its contents were destroyed as well. Attached are the scanned copy of the filled out forms.

Here is the list of damaged property with description and cost.

1) T-shirt, yellow, M, Old Navy, XL, cotton, $10
2) Panties, assorted colors, F, Hanes, 5, cotton, $14
3) Sundress, red, F, Old Navy, M, cotton, $20
4) Pants, black, F, Warehouse, 14, cotton, $45
5) Jeans, blue, F, Zara TRF, 6, denim, $50
6) Sneakers, grey, F, Converse, 5, rubber / canvas, $70
7) Luggage, blue, unisex, Delsey, EverLast rip stop poly, $220

TOTAL COST OF DAMAGES: $429

We took photographs of all damaged items and all forms of identification that were attached to the damaged piece of luggage. All photos can be found on this link:

http://picasaweb.google.com/robjonfire/DamagedLuggageAndContents#


We hope that you find all documents and pictures sufficient to support our claim. We are in complete faith that the damages that were sustained while in your care will be properly reimbursed at the soonest possible time.

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail us at robjonfire@gmail.com or you may call us on the following numbers:

Manila: +63920-XXX-XXXX
US: (402) XXX-XXXX

Looking forward to your attention to this matter.


Sincerely,
Robert and Samantha Johnson





We received a telephone call the very next day by Delta Airlines' Manila office. They confirmed that they received my e-mail and that they will forward it to Delta's Atlanta headquarters for processing. 


44 days later, we finally received an e-mail from Delta Air Lines Baggage Claims. Here is what was written.


from: Delta Air Lines
to: xxx@gmail.com
date: Wed, Sep 1, 2010 at 12:06 PM
subject: File Reference: J889742 (KMM3227811V60718L0KM)

Dear Mr. Johnson:

Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience resulting from Delta’s recent mishandling of your baggage. We look forward to working with you to resolve this matter and you can expect to receive a substantive response from our office within a maximum of 60 days.

We are working hard to improve our response time to mishandled baggage claims and apologize for the length of time it might take to settle your claim. If at all possible, please refrain from the re-submission of duplicate claim forms if we are slow in responding.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,
Customer Care Baggage Claims
Delta Air Lines





On September 10th, we received another e-mail confirming that Delta will reimburse the damages.

from: Delta Air Lines
to: xxx@gmail.com
date: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 10:55 AM
subject: Delta Baggage Claim: J889742 (KMM3393724V33448L0KM)

Dear Mr. Johnson,

I was sorry to learn about your damaged luggage. We regret that you encountered any difficulties as we place constant emphasis on the careful handling of our passengers' property.

You are entitled to reimbursement for the cost of damaged suitcase and clothing, and our check for $429.00 will be mailed under separate cover.

Please accept our apologies and give us the opportunity to do a better job the next time you travel.

Sincerely,
Tressala Allen
Claims Manager
Central Baggage Service





On September 18th, the check finally came in the mail. 




Here are a few lessons that I learned from this incident.



1) If I can afford a luggage with hard casing, I will definitely invest in it. In fact, I will start saving up for it. It is better to buy something that can withstand long, international flights we have been accustomed to taking.


2) I should always be mindful of my initial reaction when I see a damaged suitcase. This is a great opportunity to react graciously and not cause any one else to "stumble." Instead, be alert and use your camera to take photos immediately and document every detail. The pictures will speak for itself.


3) God does not get glorified when we focus on who to blame. Believe it or not, the airline did not maliciously intend to destroy my belongings. Yes, it is their responsibility to ensure my things are unharmed but accidents do happen.


4) Give the person-in-charge a chance to help. Do not take away the dignity of that person trying to assist you. Approaching that person with kindness is so much better because it blesses him/her. Who wants to serve a customer who responds in anger? 


5) Patience goes a long way in waiting for that final resolution. Sure, I could have called and followed-up repeatedly during that long wait. I had every right to. I just knew that ultimately God was in-charge and the check will arrive at the most perfect time, just when we really need it. And it did! Just in time for Robert's birthday and our upcoming 2-week road trip.


6) Thank everyone who helped resolve this incident. Yes, they were doing their jobs and I am, in no way, required to thank them. But I still chose to do so. I do not like overlooking an opportunity to affirm someone on a job that was accomplished. These people probably encounter disgruntled customers all day, every day. Do not miss the chance to bless someone this way.


7) If something similar happens to you, please declare the true value of the items that were damaged. If you cannot remember how much they cost and lost the receipt, you can always look it up on the Internet and have a good idea on how much it costs. An honest declaration is simply the right thing to do.


8) Give 10% of the check away. It does something to a person's soul when he/she is in the habit on regularly giving away part of his/her income. In my case, I always part with at least 10% of whatever money comes my way. It helps build my faith and lessens any of my selfishness. For this particular check, I am giving it to the church who is nourishing me at this season of my life.




Thank you for allowing me to share a bad story with a happy ending!

Looking For a 1 Bedroom Apartment to Rent?

A good friend of mine is currently looking for someone to rent his 1-bedroom apartment in Pasig City. I thought of helping him out by posting it on this blog and maybe one of you is looking for a nice place to stay in a great Metro Manila location inside a secure condominium complex. Bonus: the community has a great pool and fitness facility!


















Please check out the pictures below for have an idea of what the place looks like. It is fully-furnished and the rental includes parking for 1 vehicle.

If you are interested, please leave a comment along with your full name and e-mail address. I will connect you directly to the owner of the condominium unit. Serious inquiries only please!



Sunday, September 19, 2010

Hip Replacement Surgery: Thank You!

I did not want this weekend to pass by without taking advantage of the opportunity to thank everyone who called, prayed, and came to visit my father-in-law, Ronnie, after his second hip replacement surgery.







The surgery was a success and Pops is recovering quite well. He is getting to move around a lot more and I know he should be back in normal walking form soon.

Thank you to everyone who thought of him during this time! I know that he is grateful. We are too!

Proverbs 17:17
A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need. (NLT)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Artist Behind the Dress

I recently went to a wedding where two of our good friends got married. I was beaming with happiness that day not only because I felt God's overwhelming presence that day but also because I was wearing a dress that I absolutely felt beautiful in.

If you don't know me by now, I am these two things.

1) I love dressing up. When I unsure of a dress code, I prefer to be overdressed than look sloppy.
2) I will look for any excuse to wear a dress over a pair of jeans or shorts.

I think that is why Jo Rubio has become instant friends when we were classmates in high school. I didn't like Math very much, which allowed us to secretly "escape" during those boring trigonometry lessons by having him sketch fantasy dresses and I would dream of wearing them.



15 years later, he turned out doing what he has always been good at: designing and making beautiful dresses! He made a stunning creation on the most important day of my life: my wedding.







It is still my most favorite dress to this day!



He also created the wedding dresses of my girlfriends in high school. Here are a couple of them.

Irma.



Tammy.



Now back to the wedding I said I went to. I was part of the bridal party and naturally, I asked Jo to create my dress for that day. I am sharing this with you today because I was so proud of his work and I felt it every time someone asked who made it. It's about time you all knew the talented person behind it!










If you are based in Metro Manila and looking for someone really talented to make your dress, Jo is wonderful to work with! Not only is he talented, he is the most down-to-earth person you will ever meet. He knows how to listen and his goal is to make you feel like a million bucks.



Interested in connecting with him? Please leave a message in the Comments Section and I will make the personal introduction!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Golf Tournament Coming Up!

Do you live in Omaha or in a nearby city? Do you love golf? I would like to take this opportunity again to personally invite you to a golf tournament that my husband Robert is organizing.

For more details, please a look at the official poster below.


If you are trying to play golf before it gets too cold, this is a great opportunity to do so. But more importantly, it is going to benefit something that we clearly know God has called us to do in the next couple of years.

My husband is in ministry full-time and is currently a missionary to the Philippines. I have a full-time job in web marketing but I also have the heart in helping him reach out in the city of Metro Manila.

This golf tournament will help us raise funds for the next chapter of our assignment in the Philippines. We are set to do missions work in Manila for the period of January 2011 until July 2013.

If you would like to know what we exactly do there, please click on this link.

The money that we get to raise during our trip here in the United States will help towards expenses such as housing, transportation, health care, Bibles, books, local missions trips, sports programs, outreach activities, mentoring/counseling sessions and other open doors that will allow us to reach out to lost souls, empower the next generation of leaders, and help the poor.

Here are ways you can help in our golf tournament:

1) Play a round. I am not sure how many gorgeous days we have left in Omaha that is perfect for a golf outing. If you want to go out and have fun -- this is an awesome opportunity. And you are helping lives in the process!

2) Form a team. The more the merrier! You save on the registration fee if you decide to create a 4-man team.

3) Volunteer. We need people to help us spread the word and make the event run as smoothly as possible. We could use the extra hands and smiling faces!

4) Donate. If you are physically unable to play or volunteer but have the heart for the nation, donations are welcome! You can either donate prizes (which will be given away in a raffle) or sponsor a hole (any amount will do!). A PayPal donate button is available at the end of this blog post.

5) Pray. We need people who can pray with us that the weather will be great, that people will enjoy their time at the event and be blessed to see what God is doing in the Philippines.


Thank you for taking the time to read this specific blog post. It means a lot to me that you care enough to hear about our journey here. Be blessed today!










Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What's In My Work Bag?

This is another one of my "confessional" blog posts where I disclose details only a close personal friend would probably know. Today, I am going to share with you what's in my work bag!

First, my choice of work tote is a large Longchamp Le Pliage in gray. It's durable, easy to clean and very roomy!


On days where I would rather "walk" to my favorite coffee shop, I use a pink/brown book backpack as my traveling work bag.


Aside from alternating the bags that I use, I also alternate laptops. I own both a Macbook Pro and a Dell Inspiron. I love both workstations and use them depending on the kind of work I have to do for the day.


Here is the "stash" found in my bag on a typical work day.


This is the laptop sleeve that I use. Do you expect anything less girly?


I've also been accustomed to bringing my iPad with me all the time. I've had it for about 5 months already and it has helped tremendously in putting order in my life.




On days I work at Borders or a public area (and I use this time to go on errands as well), I usually bring my lightweight Nike tote bag. I try not to use plastic bags on days I run errands and this has been useful in carrying extra stuff I pick up along the way.


And here is my overstuffed wallet! I have so many cards and pictures in it that it barely closes.


My iPod Shuffle.


A cellphone that I hardly use. I don't miss my hectic phone in Manila at all!


The only protein bar that I like eating. It tastes like Snickers!


And of course, my camera, which ironically does not have a picture of itself because I can't take a picture of my own camera! How about you, what's in your work bag?