Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Crafter Ever After Link Party

video


Hello everyone!


I want to give away a bunch of stuff just to celebrate this Easter season!  

Here are the prizes!  Tadaaaahhh!!!




These are perfect for the crafter in you!

2 sets of these go to some lucky people :)



Prize List

Brush Pen - perfect for calligraphy
Paper set - comes in a variety of designs perfect for origami or other crafts
Paper stationery set - beautiful traditional Japanese prints that are so nice to use as material for projects as well as origami
Scarf - I love the design on this fabric!  Tie around your straw hat when you go to the beach, or just wear as a bandanna
Elastic scarf - for the neck or hair or just for an accent to your outfit
Washi Tape - what is a Japanese giveaway without this?
Chalkboard - so cute and portable!  Nice for your desk or for the family announcements, as a signboard or display
Curtain - The design on this short curtain is so funky that you can just hang it on your wall to make it less boring :)

Likey?  Then... Joiny!

Sponsoring a link party featuring YOUR CRAFTS!  Just submit your link below.

Best one will get the prize!

The other set of prizes will go to one of my followers.  I'll raffle all of you off!  So fingers crossed!

This contest is open worldwide!


Ends May 8, 2017.


Here are some Facebook entries I received:




Carla Murillo made some paper roses





Claire Mercado-Obias made a necklace out of paper bag handles!




Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Easter Thoughts



Happy Easter!

We have new life in Christ through His eternal sacrifice on the cross.  We are recipient of His divine mercy!  How can we not rejoice?!!

Since getting married, I cannot help but be grateful for the "new life" I also have, both, as a newly married person and also as someone living in another country.

God has been faithful in this bright and new "adventure of faith"!  It's only right that I shout out His bounteous blessings to the world! 

Despite all the challenges I knew I'd face, moving to Japan... learning the language, adjusting to married life, trying not to get lost on the train or run over while biking... I can hardly believe it but it's just a BREEZE!  I was expecting I'd be depressed, maybe confused and alienated, but I'm none of those things!

Before moving here, my husband and I were talking about which apartment would be best for us.  Since both of us love playing the guitar, we were apprehensive about the neighbors getting bothered by the noise.  My husband said it would be nice if we had a sound-proof apartment.  I said, "let's pray for one!"  He said, "They're expensive."  Well then I said to myself, "I'll still pray."

Well, my husband got an apartment but it wasn't sound-proof.  But then, after a few months, before I got my visa to settle here, someone knocked at the door.  The realtor said, "We are going to sound-proof your apartment!"

It was due to the airplanes that would habitually fly over us (which didn't bother us).  The US airbase nearby was going to pay for it.  Wow!  Isn't that awesome?  They also wanted to change our door which was the only old-looking thing in the apartment.

Then, I needed to learn the language quick!  I would spend hours in the supermarket just looking at labels wondering what things were.  So I looked online.  Either they were very expensive lessons or too far away or didn't happen during my free time.  I tried doing self-study but I was getting nowhere with it.

I prayed again asking the Lord for a FREE class (!!!)

Lo and behold, there was a volunteer class - on a day I could go - just 10 minutes by bike - and totally FREE!!!

As a bonus, the church started a Japanese class and it was virtually free (had to pay for the book) too!  So I have 2 classes nearby :))))))

When I was praying the other day, God reminded me that my lifestyle in Japan is one I've been dreaming of in years past.  It's a more active lifestyle as we don't have a car... so we have to walk or bike everywhere (yay, smaller thighs).

As I've gotten older, I've noticed that I've also been wanting to go somewhere cooler.  Manila's sweltering heat and traffic have made me pine for a simpler, more quiet lifestyle.  That is exactly what I have now.

Even my fear of cooking has subsided.  I now look forward to trying out new thing and no longer shudder at meat (!!!).  I love cooking for my husband.  He is so appreciative of all my efforts.

Just yesterday, God provided another blessing.

My husband works at 2 locations and we live in the middle.  The work he has at night is an hour away on a crowded train during rush hour so after some time, he was saying how much he wanted a class nearby.  I thought, well then, let's pray for that.  He said that would be next to impossible because all the companies who need his services are downtown.

Still I prayed... and then ....

He got an offer to work near our apartment!  Only a 15 minute walk away, so he can come home by dinner time!!!  Hurray!

The only problem was that he couldn't find another person to take over his remaining night work ... so we prayed again.

So yesterday, someone took the work of his hands.  Hooray!!!

God indeed meets us where we are.  When the disciples walked away from Jerusalem, (and in turn, walking away in disappointment of Jesus' death,) Jesus walked and talked with them.  He stayed with them.  He opened their eyes in the breaking of the bread.  He revealed Himself to them.

After which, the disciples headed back to Jerusalem.  They were no longer disenchanted, but knew Jesus was alive!  He is the living God!  He meets where we are and loves us so!




Saturday, April 15, 2017

Easter is here!

Do you love Easter! I do! It's when all things dark and dreary are cast into this marvelous, unvanquishable light!

Jesus is risen! God, in His infinite love and goodness restored man's relationship with Him through Jesus' ultimate sacrifice on the cross.


Sin and death has no more power over us as Jesus has taken it all upon Himself so we don't have to! If we but allow the risen Lord to come into our hearts and lives, we will be a new creation!

Thank You Lord for what You have done for us! Undeserving though we are, You've loves us with an everlasting love and divine mercy so that whatever we have done in our lives, You will still welcome us -forgiving us with open arms.

Happy Easter everyone! May we have the fullness of life God desires to give us!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Joyful in Hope



I chanced upon a Pins of Light online retreat today and got to thinking a lot about suffering, loss and disappointment.  I don't always have these things in mind but as I was doing the retreat, news of my dad's back pain reached me and worried me (being based far from home).


When everything is going great, it's easy to be joyful in hope.  But when things take a turn for the worse, the normal response is to ask, "Why?"  


These days it's easy to get disheartened.  Gas attacks on innocent civilians including children in Syria, extra judicial killings in the Philippines, a big earthquake that they say will happen here in Japan soon.... are just some of the reasons.


But as Christians, we aren't called to be on Good Friday mode all the time.  We are called to walk in the light of Christ and that light is HOPE!  We are an Easter people and we walk in the knowledge that Jesus rose on the 3rd day.


Despite the gloom of today, we can look to a bright tomorrow.


Look at Elijah.  In my humble opinion, Elijah had everything going for him.  He called down fire from heaven and God sent fire.  He asked for rain to stop the 3 year famine and God sent rain.  He would converse with God just like you would with a friend.  He had God on his side!  Imagine that.  (1 Kings 18)


But when queen Jezebel sentenced Elijah to die, he fled around a hundred miles in fear.  He prayed for God to take his life.  Of course God did no such thing.  But the point is, anyone can get discouraged, fearful, despondent and all those heavy emotions.  Even Elijah.


By the way I was so blessed to visit Elijah's cave on Mt. Carmel in Israel and one could not imagine how someone could take refuge there, let alone live there for years.  The Carmelites stayed there too and founded the order in the 12th century.


Sometimes we do go into our caves and brood.  The good thing is that we know what happens when a cave, a tomb is emptied of its power - the sting of death is no more!  All because He left the cave on Easter Sunday!


Death and sin and this world's darkness are only temporary in the framework of eternity.  They are tools in God's hands to show His glory.


I think of my Dad today and I pray for him in the hope that all his pain is not in vain.  I pray for persecuted Christians all around the world.  I pray for the perpetrators of terrorism, that one day, God's love will reach them.  I pray for people to know of His inexplicable, divine mercy.


So today and these days are days of joyful hope.  Each affliction must be met with patience and we must be faithful in prayer as we await the Lord's coming - in our hearts as well as at the last day.


Blessed Holy Week to one and all!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Deeper Faith

Do we long for deeper faith? It's something we probably never really thought of having a longing for.

A deeper faith is something we should desire. With faith, nothing is impossible! Through our faith, we overcome and we have victory in our lives!

Deeper faith for me today is holding on to God's Word that says "by His stripes, we are healed."

I've been coughing and wheezing and snorting and sneezing for several days now and I have not been able to cook for my husband much.

I believe that God wants me to believe without seeing and to already thank Him for my recovery before I actually see it!

To God be the glory! Thank You Lord for my full recovery!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Things We Can Do for Lent

Today I believe God's love nudged me in a strong way.


As I approached Lent, I recalled previous seasons feeling like I flunked it. I would make a lot of resolutions and then I wouldn't be able to do everything I wanted to.


But God in His faithfulness isn't holding a score card. He is truly wonderful and His mercy is without limit.


I went to mass and as I received communion, feeling so unworthy of God's goodness, the Eucharistic minister (unwittingly) gave me 2 Hosts! It has never happened before and the church was packed to overflowing so I'm sure it wasn't for lack of communicants.


I believe God was telling me something. He wanted me to feel welcome and to be reminded that it's not my good deeds that will win me the crown of salvation but only my faith and His grace!


So I am greatly encouraged to begin Lent quite ambitiously. But then one shouldn't boast or else we lose all spiritual benefit!


Suffice to say that I'm going to share some tools so your Lenten journey will be blessed. I will also share with you some inspiration points from my journal.


Let's read up on what the Pope said.  He's a man with so much wisdom and heart!  His simple reflection on Luke 16's parable of the rich man and Lazarus holds precious truths.


Sign up for an online retreat from Dynamic Catholic with do something creative and memorable this Lent!


Sign up for an everyday Lenten reflection from Flocknote.  


Join Creighton university's 2017 online retreat and experience God's grace in our daily lives.









And now for the most awaited portion of my post (oh really now?)... you're getting a sneak peek into my journal.



These are from notes I took during our community's conference.  I'm part of Ang Ligaya ng Panginoon community (The Joy of the Lord) here in the Philippines.  The community has been around since 1975 and I've actually been a member for the most part of my life.  It's truly a place where we see God's face in the love we have for one another.





So... I won't be talking about everything on here, but just 1 or 2 points.



If you're a Christian, then automatically you are also a missionary.  Whether you stay at home and feed 11 cats or find yourself in an airplane more than on land, you are still a missionary.  You're called to bring Christ to the world. 



So even if you can share your faith only on the computer, then do that - because every person needs to know they are SO VERY LOVED by God!  (That's what's meant by participating in social media).








This year, we want to obey God's call to "enlarge our tent".  We want to be channels of faith to the world, not just our own little worlds!


I love the quote from Schindler's List - indeed when we love people, we are able to save them and ourselves too!






Put out into the Deep!  Duc in Altum!  These words have been speaking to me forever!




Sorry my fingers must be tired already.  These pages seem a lot messier than the previous ones, but they still remind me of what's essential - unity!




Some of us get really riled up about politics.  We get to say silly things and ruin relationships.  Let's stand up for what is right but still be loving and respectful of others' opinions.




It's a war out there!  There are forces tugging at us every day!  Let's be grounded in God's Word.  When posting on social media, we should be able to say it face to face.  That's a good guideline.






Holiness seems to be such an unreachable goal.  We were inspired to take that first step and climb the mountains of life to reach holiness!  It's what God wants!  He is an all or nothing God.



So we can!  We can be saints!  Isn't this a perfect thought for the Lenten season?  Let's keep climbing and reaching for the Lord.  He is stretching out His hand to us in love and pulling us up!  He will fight our battles for us, we only have to be still!


Wishing all of you a blessed Ash Wednesday and Lenten season!


Saturday, February 25, 2017

Notebook Craft Project







Got time for a 10-minute craft?



Just recently I got a whole bunch of used paper from the office just to save these from the trash bin.  They were a bunch of bond paper with writings on the back. I also got a bunch of old receipts we no longer needed - without knowing what to do with them.



So I thought maybe there was a way to make them look nicer while they were waiting to be used.




Since I know myself and that I have a weakness for thinking I don't have all the materials I need and buy much too hastily - I purposely looked around the house for stuff I had and then used them for this project.  I suggest you do that too!  It might save you some time and money!


So basically I had all of these around so I didn't need to buy anything!  Weeeee!







MATERIALS:


Burlap

Rope
Paper 
Brads
Paint brush
Paint
Hole Puncher
Scissors


I actually have a paper cutter so that was really nifty to use.  I must say that you don't really need perfectly cut pieces of paper unless you're giving this to someone.  You're recycling!  (excuses excuses)






1.  Cut the paper to the size you want your pages to be!  Silly me, I wasn't able to take a picture of me cutting the burlap but it's similar to cutting the paper anyways except, make it twice as big - as it will cover your whole notebook.







2.  Punch holes for the brads to go through.   I made a notebook and a little notepad so - for the notebook, I made 3 holes and for the notepad, just 1 hole.  You can make as many holes as your dear heart desires.





3. Here comes the most fun part!  Painting!  You can use whatever type of paint lying about.  If you plan to wash this, use fabric paint of course.  I actually used calligraphy ink because I'm going away and it might dry up before I get back.  I don't really know what will the effect be - but at least I didn't have to go out and buy some paint.






4.  Go on and attach everything to everything!






5.  This is how the back looks.  Don't want them to be sticking out that way?  You can glue gun a piece of ribbon or duct tape it (really?) :)





6.  This is the back of the notepad.  The burlap is in front and at the back portion to make it a little bit stronger.






7.  Tadah!  Finished notepad.  That was fast!  For the notebook, I just tied some string to secure (but not really necessary.








I joined the Craft blog parties at Paper Sweeties!  Thanks for hosting y'all!




Monday, February 20, 2017

10 Reasons I am Against the Death Penalty





Dear Reader,


The issue of the death penalty has come up again recently and is presently being debated on at  


10 Reasons I am against the death penalty... (aside from the fact that it is morally wrong to kill someone).


1. If the person was wrongly accused, a reversal of the verdict cannot bring the person back.


2. Studies show the death penalty doesn't reduce the crime rate. U.S. research show that regions with no death penalty have consistently lower homicide rates compared to states with it in place.



3. People with insufficient funds, being unable to get good lawyers can easily be convicted.


4. If we, as a nation approve this bill, our taxes will fund this act, making us co-perpetrators. A quote says it well, "Why do we kill people who kill people to show killing people is wrong?"


5. I don't want to give the government the power to kill people. 

Sorry I still have trust issues.


6. "Imposing a death sentence as a consequence of killing wrongly perpetuates a cycle of violence in our community," said Rev. Rene Robert who worked with criminals with mental health issues and was eventually killed by one of them. He asked that the Governor “take whatever action is necessary” to prevent any person convicted of his murder from being executed. “During my life," he wrote, "I want to feel confident that under no circumstances whatsoever will my death result in the capital punishment of another human being.”



7. Some victims and their families have expressed that healing didn't take place when the criminal was killed and some even experienced regret.


8. "Revenge" isn't a good idea.


9. I believe you can still find God even if you are a hardened criminal and have a changed life (even behind bars).


10. Of course... LIFE is sacred, a gift from God that only God has the right to take.



What do you think about the Death Penalty?


Friday, February 17, 2017

Feathery Friend




"He who fashioned the heart of each,
he who knows all their works." Psalm 33:15


As I was looking out the window today, a bird fluttered by.  The years peeled away and I was taken back to 2006, when I took in a baby bird, close to death and nursed him 49 days to finally "leave the nest" and fly away.  (see below)


Our family named him Squirt and he went everywhere with us.  I taught him how to fly and to look fierce (see video above) so as to ward away predators.  He would perch on our shoulders and eat bananas from our hands.  He was truly a part of the family.


I was suddenly taken back to the porch of our home, telling Squirt to go and live his life. I was afraid that one day, one of the cats living outside our house would catch him.  I couldn't ever live with that memory, so like a mama bird, I told Squirt to fly away.


On a day like today, I'm missing my feathery friend.  He was like a "son" to me.  Despite my lack of sleep checking on him (seeing if he was still alive), and poop ridden bed (covered in brown paper), I would be elated by his progress such as, having a bird batch by himself in the middle of the night.  I did research and found that a bird was an adult once he started "talking". Indeed, Squirt did. He was a talkative one, not chirping, but talking.  You would only know what I mean if you heard a bird talk.


In my heart of hearts I'm wishing that Squirt knew how much I cared about him and miss him.  Sometimes I regret letting him go so fast.  


But I take comfort that whatever love is in our hearts - that we give away - even to the wee creatures of the earth, is never wasted.  God knows all that we do out of love.  He created our hearts with each having the capacity to love greatly.  He knows all that molds and breaks our hearts.


I know not one sparrow falls to the ground without our heavenly father knowing.  He loves each of His creations even more than I love Squirt!  


God knows each of our loves, and never forgets.







Thursday, February 16, 2017

Use What You Have

Sometimes I see a piece of art that just inspires me so much that I want to buy all the materials the artist used to create that piece.

I find myself at the art supply store looking for the exact brush or nib or brand.

Then a bad thing happens, I won't use what I bought!

Has this ever happened to you? Well consider yourself patted on the back if it hasn't.

All too often I buy something and realize I already had something similar.

So, in reminding myself with this graphic to USE WHAT YOU HAVE. Don't go looking for what you don't have - but look at what you already have!

For all you know, you're only meant to use these exact materials to make a piece that is uniquely you!!!

This goes with life too! We may think, "if only I was thinner.." or "smarter" or "more creative". No, use what you have, be who you are (with all the flaws) and what you have will become beautiful! (Or already is!!!)

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Our Greatest Love



I fell in love with a song today and after buying the song sheet online, just had to do some calligraphy! It talks about our greatest Love ever!




O beauty ancient, O beauty so new
Late I have loved Thee and feebly yet do.
Though You were with me I was not with You.
Then You shone Your face and I was blind no more.

My heart searches restlessly and finds no rest 'till it rests in Thee.
o seeker You sought for me.
Your love has found me;
I am taken by Thee.

I sought this world and chased its finer things,
Yet were these not in You, they would not have been.
My ceaseless longing hid the deeper truth,
In all my desiring, I was desiring You.

Lord in my deafness You cried out to me.
I drew my breath and now Your fragrance I breathe
O Fount of Life; You are forever the same;
O Fire of Love; come set me a flame.

(from Prayer of Saint Augustine, song by Ed Conlin, 
composed after he read The Confessions)


Happy Valentines' Day everyone!  May we experience the greatest love we could ever have in this life!


Saturday, February 4, 2017

Begin


Life is short!  Begin to reach for your dreams!  #goals

Calligraphy with a Ballpen




You don't need expensive brush pens or oblique pens with nibs to have fun with calligraphy. All you need is a ball pen! See what any pen or anyone can do with a little practice!



Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Women's Rights by a Woman



A girl is underage and finds out she is pregnant.  She knows she will face being ostracised by the community and all her plans for the future will be affected by this child.  She is faced with a decision, does she say yes or no?


She said, "be it done unto me according to your Word".  She is Mary, the mother of Jesus.


Now if she said no, we wouldn't have the Saviour of the world now would we?


Suffice to say,  the occurrence of an unwed, underage girl carrying a child isn't new.  But the question is, should the State be able to take the child away if the mother doesn't want the child?  Is the State the author of life?  Is this a matter of a fetus and not a child?


Everyone knows that what they say is just tissue is a child so let's just do away with that silly argument.


We all started small.  It takes 18 days after conception for the heart to beat.  Then, after 10 days, the baby's eyes, ears and tongue are formed.  God probably worked on the baby's sight, taste, hearing and touch first so he could already experience the world around him.  Recent studies show that babies could smell even before he is born.


So a baby has life in his but his mother has the right to do away with him?   Let's look at the right for a minute.


Everyone is exposed to Women's Lib, Women's Studies, Girl Power and all that.  Does getting ahead in life, pursuing your studies, getting a career, getting married first, having others' approval worth killing your own flesh and blood?


What women have a right to is - to know that abortion is not just the death of a child but the death of the mother's spirit.  You will not come out of an abortion unscathed.  Oftentimes, young women are made to think it is a good thing (because our "rights" often are).  They go to Planned Parenthood and they are not dissuaded to go through with it.


The woman says yes to abortion and just like that, it's like she steps into the time of the Judges, 1140 BC when pagan tribes would routinely sacrifice their own children.  Looking back at the story, brings a lesson.  When the Israelites would fall for the pagan practices of these people, they would be defeated by their enemies, subjugated and enslaved.


56 million abortions after Roe vs Wade has led Pope Francis to describe this as a "throwaway culture".  It's a culture of death.  


It's a time to end abortion.





So today is the Day of Prayer for Legal Protection of Unborn Children.  Let's pray as well for the mothers who are making their decision about the child in their womb right now.


Saturday, January 21, 2017

Making Your Own Cards

Handmade cards hold a special appeal nowadays. Most of the things you see around are machine made and produced in bulk - so something you spent time and energy on is treasured all the more.

Due to the busyness of life, people send their greetings and messages via e-mail or Facebook chat.

You cannot keep an electronic message in your scrapbook though. You can't see its paper age and can't show it to your grandkids.

Its also a must to send thank you cards after your friends and family celebrate a milestone such as a wedding.


Here's something I made for my friend Mimi. She is a fantastic friend. When I told her that we lacked entertainment at the reception, she called up some of the guests and they whipped up a charming song and dance number!

I did some calligraphy on the card cover and made the envelope from the same paper.

I used a Memory Keepers envelope maker but if you don't have that, you can use theselayout guides.

Decorating the card cover is the probably the most intimidating part of the process.

If you don't do calligraphy, an easy fall back method would be collage.

These are beautiful examples...

Design Sponge

Luulla

Dried Flower Magic

I hope you were inspired to go ahead and make your own greeting cards! It's an extremely enjoyable weekend project!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Stretch Out Your Hand



A man whose hand was withered came into the assembly.


This man was unable to write, point, eat or do anything useful with his hand.  He probably went into the synagogue to pray and was not expecting much.  He saw Jesus there but didn't even approach him.  He didn't care to ask him for healing - as it was the sabbath.


For a people steeped in tradition, healing was work and work was not allowed on this holy day.


Jesus, was being watched by the crowd.  Somehow they knew He would do something different today.  


Then Jesus called the man with the withered hand forward - in front of everyone.


"Then he said to the Pharisees,
"Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath rather than to do evil,
to save life rather than to destroy it?"
But they remained silent."  (Mark 3:1-6)


God was so grieved when the Pharisees couldn't answer.  They didn't know what was right from wrong.  They only knew - the way things always were.


It makes me think - is there something in my life that grieves God?  Is there something that needs to be changed?  Is there something that seems right but actually isn't?


Jesus was not afraid of the consequences of doing right.  He knew what the Pharisees would do once the healing took place.  Doing right was still above self preservation.  Jesus expects this from us - to do right despite whatever inconvenience or challenge arises from it.


Once we do right, someone's life changes.  Once we do right, someone is empowered to also live right.  


When Jesus healed the man, He also healed us - He also stretched out our hand to others in need - and to do what is right.  He stretched our hand to others whom society might call the untouchables.  He stretched our hand to the outcast in school. He stretched our hand to the dirty, dying and destitute whom others treated with disdain.


Thank you Lord Jesus for stretching our hand!

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