Monday, March 28, 2011

Why I Do Not Commit To Weekly Meetings

I am currently in a season where I wear many hats.

Okay, come to think of it -- I always wear many hats!

I am God's daughter. I am Robert's wife. I have a full-time telecommuting job managing online content. I help my husband in his ministry to high school students in Franklin, TN. I do my best to maintain healthy, active, loving relationships with my family and my best friends. I am trying to make new ones because I am new to this city. I have a heart to mentor high school and college girls in their relationship with Jesus.

When I lived in Manila, I pretty much took on similar roles, if not more.

I don't know about you, but seven days in a week is not a lot. And in my opinion, it can be taxing if I am not intentional about determining my priorities, managing my time, and carefully assessing my commitments.


At the beginning of 2009, I expressed to God my concern on how hectic my schedule felt. It seems like weekly meetings took up most of my time. I could hardly sit back and truly bask in what was most important to me.

This conversation allowed me to hear one important word that my Father was telling me.

SIMPLIFY.

Consequently, this word became the word that defined my 2009 ... and beyond.

First I had to decide which roles I am committed to acting upon daily (in its proper order).

1) I am God's daughter.
2) I am Robert's wife.
3) I am a full-time, work-from-home online content manager.

Just these three roles alone can consume most of my 16 waking hours every single day. I am sure a lot of women can resonate with this.

Therefore, I needed to be more selective on what I commit to on a weekly basis. After a lot of thought and prayer, I knew in my heart that I can only commit to meetings that fully feed my three primary life roles.

1) Worship service -- every Sunday, 10am
2) Youth service -- every Sunday, 6pm
3) Dates with my husband -- we try to change up the day every week but we are intentional about setting aside time for this.

Discipleship groups, social events, and other kinds of meetings are left to attend to every two weeks or once a month. And sometimes, if it can be managed without physical meetings, once every quarter.

It has been two years since I have applied this personal principle and I am the first to "rave" to you that it has done wonders to the quality of my life.

First, I am able to fully focus on the responsibilities that my priorities entail: God, my husband, my home and my job. Second, the more infrequent (but consistent) meetings with people have become more meaningful because there are lot more important things to catch up on.

I am not saying you should replicate my choices on how I approach commitments. But I do encourage you to take some time out of your busy week and discern what your priorities are and what should take up most of your time. It might be the most liberating time-management decision you will ever make.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gone Are My Sundays ...

Oh how I loved my Sunday afternoons!

Sundays (1pm onwards) meant a long nap and a time to catch up on my favorite TV shows.

Yesterday, those days are gone.

And it is gone for best reason I can think of!

We started our very first youth meeting (ever!) in Bethel Franklin.



When I was in high school, I wish someone reached out to me and loved me the way Jesus did.

I had a really rough memories with my "religious" leaders in high school. They seemed to be more concerned about my good works rather than the needs of my heart.

It really messed up the way I saw God -- thinking that He was like that with me as well.

I am grateful that He rescued me; and by His grace and mercy, restoration became possible.


I consider it a privilege to extend that same grace and mercy to today's high school students.

Being a teacher of Christ-like love puts me in the position of actually being the student.

A season of giving and learning.

Always worth losing Sunday naps for!

Note:
RUSH Franklin meets every Sunday at 6pm in Bethel Franklin
1753 Players Mills Road Franklin TN 37067

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dressing My Way Back Into Spring!

Dresses are my favorite piece of clothing above all else. 

Today, I am thrilled that spring is right around the corner.

I can wear cute, lightweight dresses again.

I can finally feel like a girl! I am done with layers, bulk, and restricted movements. I welcome floral prints and lighter colors.

Here are some dresses on my radar for spring 2011.





















How about you:
What are you looking forward to wearing in the spring?


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Soul Surfer

I am looking forward to watch this movie when it comes out next month.

Here is what the movie's website says about 'Soul Surfer.'

Soul Surfer /sohl serf-er/ – noun; 1. A term coined in the 1970s, used to describe a talented surfer who surfs for the sheer pleasure of it. Although they may still enter competitions, a Soul Surfer's motives go beyond winning.



Bethany has become a source of inspiration to millions through her story of determination, faith and hope. Born into a family of surfers on February 8, 1990, Bethany jumped on the board at a young age.



Bethany entered her first surf competition—winning both the short and long board divisions at age eight. On Halloween morning 2003, Bethany was attacked by a 14-foot tiger shark, which bit off her left arm and seemed to end her career as a rising surf star.

After losing more than 60% of her blood and undergoing several surgeries, Bethany began her recovery with an unbelievably positive attitude. Miraculously, just one month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water.

Two months later, Bethany placed fifth in the Open Women's division surf competition and just over a year after the attack she won her first National Title. In 2007, Bethany realized her dream and turned pro.

Bethany has since participated in numerous Association of Surfing Professionals and World Tour Events with her major highlight being a second place finish in the ASP 2009 World Junior Championships. "It has been an incredible journey for me and now, I'm just so excited to share it!" says Bethany.

"Bethany's story is so powerful," says Soul Surfer Director Sean McNamara. "Most people would have given up after what happened to her, but not only did she make an amazing return to surfing, she excelled at it, and has turned her life into an inspiration for people all around the world.

She is someone you look at and think, 'If she can do all the incredible things she's done, I can set the world on fire, too.'" says Sean.

Bethany's Official Website: www.bethanyhamilton.com

Monday, March 7, 2011

When You Feel Other Women Overlook You

Have you ever been in a situation/place/community where you are filled with desire to offer these: 

your talents, 
your skills, 
your wisdom 
your life lessons

and most of all, 

your heart 

And yet feel ignored, overlooked, underestimated?

That feeling where you just feel invisible and not worth getting to know?

Christian Women Online

I have come across a lot of women in throughout the years who have so much love to give.

They genuinely want to share whatever they have to other women.

They want to use their God-given gifts to make the world around them a better place.

They would do anything to have an opportunity to make a difference in just one other woman's life.

They are grateful for all the talents God has given her with and cannot wait to find a place to glorify God with these.


And most of the time, they are just waiting to be asked.

In the perfect world, everyone is stepping up and just doing it.

Sometimes it's really not that easy.

Even in the spirit of availability, no one is taking up on the offer.

Or worse, they do get a chance to try and they just end up feeling completely out of place.


I have spent my entire Sunday afternoon in a conversation with God; trying to process what seems to be a common cause of heartache among women and their relationships with each other.

My own burden is deeply rooted in my early years more than anything else. I was never the favored one in the family. In elementary school, I still clearly remember instances of being 'shut out' by girls I considered best friends. In high school, you had to get 'asked' by people in my class if you are good enough to meet with the rest of the crew in a place called 'the white house.' In college, there was a university-wide culture where you had to prove yourself (by doing a lot of stupid things in my opinion) worthy enough to be a part of an 'exclusive' club.

(Disclaimer: These facts don't make me bitter today. I have embraced my past with a lot of acceptance which makes me understand why I am who I am in the present. Believe it or not, I am grateful on how God used these experiences to shape the woman that I have become.)


A collective observation of knowing many women for decades has given me a grieving heart to ask my Father how He feels about this. Sadly, we all still experience this even in adult life.

I can openly admit that I have been both the overlooker and the overlooked. Female friendships are so delicate; a lot of times difficult to navigate. I am still a student -- and not a very smart one most of the time.

But I do want to be better at this. I do want to be a reflection of Jesus' unconditional love and gentleness even in the midst of the 'politics' of female relationships.


Wait for it in an upcoming blog post:
What to do when you feel others overlook you.


But I do want to hear from you first! What is your take on this matter:
Have you ever felt overlooked -- at home, in school, the workplace, church and in social communities?
Even in the midst of being overlooked, do you respond with a gracious heart?
Do you think the church is better at not taking someone for granted? Or is it just more 'fake' in doing it?
Have you every been the overlooker? Was there an attempt to justify it?
What do you think Jesus would do in both situations?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Verse Download: Lavish Affection

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy." Titus 3:4-5

Earning salvation that has nothing to do with what I can accomplish with my works. I know and have accepted this a long time ago -- but there is always a need for me to be reminded of this when I get caught up crossing off my to-do list.

I cannot become worthy of God's love or deserving of His forgiveness. If I catch myself trying, I have sit at His feet and give it up.

Yes, it does slip in -- that little lie that deceives me into thinking I can add to what God has already done. It has become convenient to blame my past. Studying in academically competitive school. Working for bosses who did not care about my name but only the numbers I produced.

While the history is valid, I need to start taking responsibility for my choices.

I choose to fully accept that my Father's approach His relationship with me is so radically, dramatically different than the relationships I have been used to. His love for me is a free gift that can never be earned by anything 'good' that I do.

It feels liberating to get it over and over again!

His affection for me knows no bounds. His forgiveness cannot be exhausted.

His willingness to die for me did not just happen once in Christian history but is a constant, ongoing reality.

Today, I lay aside any notion that if I 'do well' today, God will love me more; or that if I fail, He will love me less. I get butterflies when, at the end of the day, His love for me is already complete. And not only is it complete, it overflows.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Obsessed with Everything Blue and Brown!

It has always been my favorite color combination and still is to this very day! I have been really obsessed lately with design inspirations for the home in these colors.


























Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Oscars 2011 Recap

Watching the Academy Awards is one of my favorite times of the year in terms of following pop culture! My friend Varsha had a really nice movie room in her apartment complex that was reserved exclusively for our Oscar viewing pleasure.

Here are some moments I found particularly remarkable.

The acceptance speech you don't want to be remembered by. Melissa Leo tends to be over-dramatic with her acceptance speeches as I have noticed in the recent awards ceremonies. The Oscars were not an exception. Sadly, she resorted to the F-bomb to communicate the depth of her feelings.

NY Daily News


Knowing how to poke fun at himself. Christian Bale is a serious actor who deserved his best supporting actor win. He remarked that we will not use the word Melissa Leo inappropriately used in her acceptance speech since he has done more than his share in the past -- referring to the on-set verbal rant he threw a couple of years ago.

Reuters


Painful to watch. This years' hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway created a lot of buzz and I admit that I expected them to do a stellar job. Sadly, jokes fell flat, a whole lot of awkward pauses, and the chemistry we all saw in the promos did not translate into the actual awards night. Franco seemed out of it and disconnected, while Hathaway became a giddy, nervous little girl. It's almost funny to think that her most comedic moment was the "Brown Duck" which was a filmed parody of the "Black Swan." I think the writing was bad to begin with; the hosts knew it, and they coped differently: Franco lost interest and Hathaway did not want to give up without a fight.

Why Fame


People I wanted to take over. People clapped and stood up when former host Billy Crystal entered the Oscar stage. I wonder how much of it had to do with relief? He will always be my favorite Academy Awards host in recent history. Sandra Bullock's lines as she announced the nominees for Best Actor was impeccably delivered. Which makes me wonder, should they have hosted together? I know, I know -- just wishful thinkin'!

MTV


Just plain creepy. Bob Hope's hologram.



Where's Cee Lo? No, his songs were not nominated but that is the very question my husband asked while watching Gwyneth Paltrow's very uptight performance for Best Song.

Reuters


Seasoned and flawless. Celine Dion singing 'Smile' during the film montage of artists who passed away. Do you think Eddie Fisher and Corey Haim should have been a part of it? Do you think honoring Lena Horne was an attempt to lessen the blow of an all-white list of nominees?

Just Jared


Absolutely charming. Kirk Douglas and Colin Firth. Don't you think so?

Babble

Fun Unzip



Most overlooked. The beautiful Annette Bening. I wonder if she will ever win an Oscar?

Boncherry


Favorite quote. "My father always said to me I'd be a late bloomer." David Seidler, 73, who won the best original screenplay award for The King's Speech. Love it!



How about you? What was your favorite Oscar 2011 moment?