Thursday, January 27, 2011

A New Generation of Filipino Talent

I am completely fascinated at the fact that Filipinos and Fil-Americans (Americans with Filipino descent) have been getting a lot of media attention in pop culture in the past decade. Here are some that come to mind.

apl.de.ap - member of The Black Eyed Peas

Arnel Pineda - lead vocalist of Journey

Brilliante Mendoza - best director at the 62nd Cannes Film Festival

Cristeta Comerford - White House executive chef since 2005

JabbaWockeez - the first winning group of America's Best Dance Crew

Manny Pacquiao - the best fighter of this generation

Monique Lhuillier - fashion designer known for her bridal and red carpet gowns

Nicole Scherzinger - lead vocalist of Pussycat Dolls

Vanessa Hudgens - lead actress/singer in High School Musical


They continue to be great at what they do -- giving the world a glimpse of how Filipinos are naturally talented in sports and in the arts.

This new decade shows a lot of promise for a new generation of Filipinos and Fil-Americans. Here is a list of exciting, young talent that I believe will only continue to shine brighter.

Ali Ewoldt - was cast as Maria in the traveling Broadway tour of the 'West Side Story.' I personally saw her performance and she was spectacular.


Bruno Mars - popular singer-songwriter and producer. Famous for his hit song 'Just The Way You Are.' His vocals are also featured on songs like 'Nothin' On You' and "Billionaire.'


Charice - a Filipino singer who got recognition because of a YouTube video showcasing her extraordinary vocal talent. Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah Winfrey saw the beauty of the voice and the story behind it. Today, she is the first Asian singer to have a song on a Billboard top ten chart. She also has a current guest role in the television show 'Glee.'


Danica Magpantay - the first Filipino model to win the prestigious Ford Supermodel of the World 2011. This sweet, young lady is also part of the youth group that Robert used to serve in Victory Fort.



Darren Criss - plays Blaine in the popular television series Glee. Definitely my favorite character on the show. He sang the cover of Katy Perry's 'Teenage Dream' and became the bestselling Glee song on iTunes.


Hailee Steinfeld - a young actress who played the character of Mattie Ross in the critically-acclaimed remake of 'True Grit.' She also recently received an Academy Award nomination.


Shay Mitchell - plays Emily on the popular ABC Family show 'Pretty Little Liars.' Incidentally, the actress who plays her mother, Nia Peeples, is also part-Filipino.



Steven R. McQueen - best known for his role as Jeremy Gilbert on the CW show 'The Vampire Diaries.' I found it really interesting that his grandfather is Steve McQueen, who was first married to a Filipino-born actress before being known for his second marriage -- to Ali McGraw.


I am so excited to see them succeed! There is no doubt that there is still a whole lot of young Filipinos out there that are yet to be discovered. Our country is filled with untapped talent!

Tell Me:
Are there any rising Filipino stars that I missed out on?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Navigating Through Unfamiliar Waters

Have you ever been in a place where the life -- the ONLY kind of life -- you have ever known suddenly just ended? Today, that is the very place I am in.

Photo Credit: http://forevernevernalways1.blogspot.com/


Manila, Philippines. Born there. Grew up there. Studied there. Gave my life to Jesus there. Met and married my husband there. Family and best friends STILL living there.

And then suddenly, the 30+ years of doing life, connections, relationships, and speaking the language connected to my home is gone. At least for the time being.

My husband and I relocated to Nashville, Tennessee exactly 12 days ago. We were temporarily living in Omaha, Nebraska (with Robert's parents) to raise support for our 2-year missions work assignment in Manila.

As we were wrapping up this fundraising/equipping season of our lives and getting ready go back home, God had something else in mind. He made it clear to both of us that Robert has a new (and very unlikely) missions field: the high school kids of Franklin, TN.

There is something so beautiful about experiencing hope and excitement when you get that clarity from God. As we settled in this new city, our Father has been so sweet in letting me and Robert know, "Thank you for trusting Me." He surely didn't have to -- but because of who He is, He did!

Everyone has been so generous, sweet and thoughtful to us. All the kindness that we have been experiencing is inspiring us to do the same for others.

In the midst of this unquenchable enthusiasm, I am also boldly confessing to you: 
I am terrified.

As I navigate my way through these unfamiliar waters, I find myself asking these questions:

Will I ever feel at home in a place that is nothing like the city I'm from?
Will people see past my ethnicity and see that I can potentially be, above all else, a spiritual sister?
Will I ever be mentored (in the most sincere, non-obligatory way) by someone who has gone on this journey with Christ far longer than I have?
Will high school girls ever trust me, knowing that my high school experience is way different than their existing one?
Why is everyone so skinny?


Yes, these questions have gone through my mind as my world turned upside down. I hope you don't misunderstand me. I love Nashville. In fact, when we were praying about it, I was thrilled immediately. It took some time for Robert to get to that point.

What I am trying to point out is something we all go through when we desire to follow Jesus every day of our lives. It is hard to trust God. It is especially hard to trust Him when He calls us to take a leap of faith and do something crazy.

I do not know what lies ahead but I do know this: He will not let me down. Countering my silly questions with a new level of faith is the best part of this journey. I want nothing more than to trust Him with all my heart and lean not on my own (very ignorant) understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

Now that the confession is done and over with, I have to excuse myself because I have some growing up to do!

Do tell:
What do you need to entrust to God today?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Link Love: January 21, 2011

Bringing in the new year with lots of great finds on the web that has helped me live better! Lots of great links to home management, cooking, marriage and fitness.

Enjoy!

Simple Mom (Life hacks for home managers)
I am not a 'Mom' but I am definitely a rookie home manager in this season of my life. I love learning home management tips and this website is definitely a great resource.


When Has a Preacher Crossed the Line into Plagiarism in His Sermon? by The Gospel Coalition
A very helpful article for ministers who preach from the pulpit.

3 Bloggers Every Serious Blogger Should Be Following by Michael Hyatt
Michael Hyatt is excellent is pointing all of us bloggers into the right direction.

Life As Mom (On the road to joyful motherhood)
Another 'mommy' blog but it has been so helpful in giving me new recipe ideas that do not require a lot of time, money, and energy.

Appreciate It
An online 'bulletin board' that showcases what people are thankful for in 2010. Go and post what you are most grateful for!

A Good Man is Hard to Find -- But I Did by meghmiller
A wife's sweet and loving tribute tribute to a husband on his birthday.

How We Shared Content in 2010 by ReadWriteWeb
Interesting summary of how we shared our lives and our thoughts online. Whatever your opinion is on the social network, Facebook still ruled.

6 Suggestions for Increasing Your Daily Productivity by SavvySugar
This was a good read for me at the start of this year. With so many things going on in my life, this helped me get myself together so that I am effective in executing my work tasks.

Can I find a cute bag for my 17" laptop? by simply stated.
I do not have a 17' laptop but the bags showcased in this bags were just too cute! Had to share it.

5 Things You Must Do To Get Your Blog SEO Ready For The New Year by TENTBLOGGER
Are you eager to optimize your blog in 2011? TENTBLOGGER gives great easy-to-follow advice.

10 Ways Business Leaders Can Turn Ideas Into Execution by Mashable
A great article on 'the execution gap.' The execution gap is a perceived gap between a company’s strategies and expectations and its ability to meet those goals and put ideas into action. The tips give wonderful ideas on how to minimize this gap.

How To Roast A Chicken by Tip Junkie
Yay! A very useful guide on how to master this classic dinner recipe. Four simple steps plus several variations. I can't wait to make one when the fast is over.

Free Ways to Unlock Creative Energy by Stephen Brewster
Are you in a creative slump; lacking inspiration and source of brilliant ideas? Stephen Brewster gives the boost that you just might need.

I Am Not An Island by Alece on a deeper story
Don't we all crave for meaningful, Christ-centered relationships? I know exactly how Alece felt.

Let's Break Bread by Humble Ambitions
A self-confessed novice in bread-making teaches women the steps to make fresh bread from home.

A year of Moving More and Eating Less in scrapbook pages by Cathy Zielske
I was so inspired by the way this lady documented her year-long weight loss.

skinnytaste.com
One of my bigger goals this year is to cook healthier. Right now, Robert and I are on the Daniel Fast and it has helped us so far (aside from its spiritual benefits) in feeling lighter and cleaner. This website is a good resource for low-fat recipes.

Orange and Carrot Summer Salad by Ang Sarap
I just love this salad! And I love this blog and its delicious (mostly) Filipino recipes. Next month's menu will most likely come from this site.

POO-POURRI
I finally found something that really eliminates embarrassing bathroom odors!

Print Friendly
Have you ever come across at a web page, found it really valuable and decided to print it? What happened when you did? I bet you ended up printing tons of unnecessary pages, when you really only needed a page of that content. What's the solution? A website called 'Print Friendly' -- where it turns a web page into a compact printable document. This will save you a lot of time, paper and ink.

DIY Life
We have a new apartment here in the United States. Living here is very much different than in the Philippines. One big difference is that in Manila, we had great access to freelance maintenance work that practically cost nothing. Here, it costs an arm and a leg to get something simple done. DIY Life is my go-to website to home projects that I can learn to do myself.

The Comfort of Cooking
Another recipe resource! I am at a season of learning how to cook again. This blog has new recipes that are easy enough for someone like me.

Lunch It, Punch It by Craftzine
Crafty blogging pal of mine Andi is part of the group behind Lunch It, Punch It, an iniative to pack your lunch 10 times before going out to eat. Whether you're hoping to eat healither or save money, Lunch It, Punch It posts recipes, roundups of favorite lunch bags and more. They've even made their own punch cards you can print out to keep track of your lunches.

Remodelista
The website describes itself as "The sourcebook for the considered home." We are currently living in a virtually empty apartment and we are looking forward to rely on this site as a reference for many future decoration ideas.

DailySpark.com
The best website for the latest news and updates on nutrition, fitness and food.


Happy reading everyone!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Preparing to Fast

My husband and I are going on a 21-day period of prayer and fasting. We will be following the fast based on the book of Daniel (chapters 1 and 10) as we seek God on this new chapter of our lives.

Photo Credit: revelife.com

We love going on a fast at the start of the year but this one is a very special time for us. We are going to a place where what lies ahead is unknown. There is fear: fear of not being able to control what's going to happen; fear of whether we made the right decision; fear of not having enough money; fear of not being able to survive tests of faith.

All we know at this point is: what a great time to be able to trust God completely! And as much as there are things to be scared of, there is way much more that we can believe in!

I will be blogging on Bible verses, quotes, insights, prayers, and observations in a random fashion (as opposed to my usual, carefully-thought-out blog entries). I am really excited to enjoy the love and goodness of my Father!

Some of what I will share might not make sense at all to you but I hope my experience will be able to speak to you at some point in the next 21 days. If you are currently in a period of prayer and fasting I would love to hear from you as well.

Some preparation thoughts:
What am I looking for?
Do I sincerely want to seek God's face?
What am I crying out for God to do something in me that He has never done before?

Friday, January 7, 2011

On The Move ...

Robert and I are moving to a new city next week. That gives us only a handful of days to pack, say good bye to family/friends, do banking, arrange forwarding mail, prepare for a 21-day fast, drive, look for an apartment, continue on working on my full-time job, and expect God to come through as we take on this very exciting (and very scary!) transition.

Photo Credit: teeth.com.pk

I will not be blogging as much. This makes me sad because I really enjoy staying in touch with you all. However, I know this will be a great time to give my "offline" life the focus it needs as we make really big changes in our lives.

I am excited to pray for you especially in my fasting season. I have received specific prayer requests from some of you and trust that it is not forgotten. If you would like to connect with me and stand with you in prayer, please send me a comment or an e-mail anytime.

I am humbly asking for your prayers as well. I am excited to seek more of God and celebrate who He is during this time. If you can pray for me whenever you get the chance, I will truly appreciate it.

In the meantime, you will see updates on Listening to His Voice's Facebook page, my Twitter timeline, and my 365 Project on flickr.

See you later!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Book Review: Boundaries

I know, I know -- for someone who reads a lot of books on Christian living, I am late in reading this classic bestseller (over 2 million copies sold) by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. Truthfully, the cover of the older version was so unattractive to me.


When Zondervan released an updated version with a fresh, new cover, I found myself looking forward to read it. Don't you love the how it looks today?


I have always been fascinated with behavioral patterns of people (I have an undergraduate degree in Behavioral Science) -- especially my own! This book offers an abundance of lessons in this subject matter.

I have been following Jesus Christ for about seven years. Four of those years include being married to a man who serves in ministry full-time.

This way of life can be really tricky because unlimited demands seem to be consistently attached to this choice. And in most cases, guilt seems to be the 'punishment' when a person defines limits.

Here are some personal experiences where boundaries seemed non-existent:

1) Phone calls to me and my husband very early in the morning or very late at night. While emergencies are are definitely an exception, most calls do not seem to qualify under this category.

2) Unsolicited opinions on how we do life, ministry, money, and marriage. Please don't mistake this with not wanting to be teachable, because we love being taught and mentored. I am talking about statements that seem to judge with very little basis. Example: "Everyone is having babies. You are the only couple who hasn't." -- yes, someone told me this out loud at a -- of all places -- a party.

3) Needy 'friendships' where I am sought when a 'crisis' is going on and yet never hear a word and find out how I am doing.

4) Not getting paid at work on time and expect a stellar job performance every single day.

5) Getting comments on my weight and appearance.

6) Leading life groups where the meeting time is almost never honored.


I love people. I genuinely care about relationships. With this being said, I believe it is important to set parameters lovingly in order to maintain healthy interaction with one another.

While it is easy to judge the people (we shouldn't) who crossed boundary lines in the instances I mentioned above, I wholeheartedly believe it was a result of my own lack of enforcement on what is acceptable or not. I would rather stay silent and avoid initiating tension in relationships.

I am humbled to read this book. It is pushing me to a process (which is still ongoing) to reflect on how I live my life, how much I give and when it is time to establish what is not okay.

I confess that I still struggle with it. I still retreat to being silent and just not deal with it. If I do deal with the issue and speak up, guilt still gnaws at me like a ferocious yet invisible monster.

Today, I am beginning to understand that God wants me to have wisdom in establishing boundaries because it is necessary to do so in this fallen world. This book continues to bless me and teach me. It is an uncomfortable journey but I know it's time to take it. The timing could not be any better -- we are moving to a new city next week and I look forward to finally starting a life with more defined 'boundaries.'

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Zondervan 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, January 3, 2011

What Was The Best Gift You Received This Christmas?

Today is a great day to share what we got for Christmas! While I do not consider myself materialistic (I love handwritten letters & cards above everything else!) -- I am fascinated by innovative products and cool inventions that make life easier.

I must say that my husband, Robert, is one of the best gift-givers I know. He knows how to surprise me and picks gifts that say "I know you well and I know the way to your heart." Therefore, I am truly blessed and I don't take that for granted.

This Christmas my dear husband gave me three, very clever gifts that I feel are worth sharing because you might get some new gift ideas -- for a friend or for yourself!

The City Flat by GAP
Have you ever walked out of your home with fabulous high heels and end up regretting it after a couple of hours because your feet hurt so badly? Does an extra pair of flats sound like a good idea but it is always way too bulky to carry with you around?


The City Flat by GAP is an amazing solution to this problem! These flats are made of soft, pliable leather and has an elasticized opening, so it fits like a glove and is ridiculously comfortable.

The best part about it? It is foldable and it comes with a small drawstring bag! Robert got me the black one (which is the best color to start with because it matches practically everything I own) but it is available is many, many colors and textures!

Big bonus: these are the perfect pair to wear through airports!


Pandora Charm Bracelet
I am a sentimental person. Therefore, it is no surprise that I have always wanted to build a charm bracelet to signify important milestones of my life. However, I always dismissed this task and mentally put it on my "someday" to-do list.


I was so pleasantly surprised when Robert gave a Pandora starter bracelet with its first charm! The first charm is a cross -- which is symbolic of our move to Nashville next week (more on that in a future blog post). I am excited to add more charms to this bracelet as we experience more milestones and breakthroughs in the future!




Keurig Special Edition Brewing System
The Special Edition Brewing System brews a perfect cup of coffee, tea, hot cocoa or iced beverage in under one minute at the touch of a button. Featuring chrome accents and a blue, backlit LCD display, the Special Edition brewer allows you to program water temperature, set the digital clock and Auto On/Off.



With the choice of three cup sizes, the Special Edition brewer offers a removable drip tray to accommodate travel mugs. I love the concept of a one-cup brewing system -- because it ensures coffee is always fresh, never stale!


The tiny, portion-controlled K-Cups allows the user to try different varieties of drinks -- something most of us cannot do when we purchase bags of ground coffee beans (we are kinds stuck with that kind for the allotted period of time).


I look forward to using this on my daily work-from-home routine. The cost per cup is about 50 cents -- far cheaper than the $4 cups we buy from coffee shops.





Tell me:
Any clever gifts that you gave or received this Christmas?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The 365 Project

The 365 project is a photography project where you document a year of your life by taking a daily photo. I discovered this little activity online the middle of last year and I made a mental note to start it on the first of January of 2011 -- which is TODAY!

The very first photo on my 365 Days of Happiness
My project is entitled '365 Days of Happiness' and you will find this on my flickr. If you would like to follow my daily photo journal, you may subscribe to its RSS Feed.

Happy New Year everyone!