Sunday Morning Thought: Grace

Image from Pinterest

There was a time in my life when I used to think GRACE was what it says in the photo - a little prayer you say before a meal. And there were those people I know who were named Grace. When you look through a dictionary, grace is (1) elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action, (2) a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment, and (3) favor or good will. But we all know God's grace is more than those things.

As my faith in God evolved and my situation changed, I found myself praying more and more for grace - every single day. It's like an armor which will shield me from the enemies.

In fact, I pray for grace more than patience. A wise woman in my small group shared how she stopped praying for patience and prayed for grace instead. When you pray for patience, God will not give you patience but He will give you the opportunity to practice your patience. Now that scared me and decided I will also ask for grace. Let's just say, patience has not really been my strongest trait.

Now what's all the fuss about grace?

Image from Lamplight via Pinterest
It is by God's grace that we have been saved - not because I have been good or have done good things. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
I pray for grace when I have to get through a situation I do not really like. So I may handle the situation and not let myself look like an embarrassing fool.
My day to day life as a stay-at-home wife and mother is exhausting on its own, I ask for grace when I have to deal with my very active toddler who tests my limit every so often. I also need grace when my husband has to work late nights or when he has to go away on business trips.
There would be instances when I feel like the grace is wearing off, I need to be reminded how God's grace is sufficient and how His power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Every time I say I cannot or do not want to, in reality I can because -- 
And God is able to make all grace (every favor and [a]earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need [b]be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation].
- 2 Corinthians 9:8 (Amplified Bible)

The sign is right all along, grace is a way to live. May our every day life be filled with God's grace.

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Sharing My Favorite Printables

Printables are stuff which one can print on their own. I find those related to home management very helpful. As I read blogs, I see several versions of a printable and I choose one which style and format fits my lifestyle.

What I do with printables is I print them then either laminate them or put them in a card case so I can write on it using a non-permanent marker and when I'm done I could easily erase what I wrote then I'm ready for a new day or week. It saves me ink and paper, too.

Still clueless on what printables are? No need to wonder anymore as I'm sharing my favorite free printables..

A Daily Page or Checklist

From Life's A Journal via Pinterest
I love how it has a space for goals, daily to-do's, appointments, tasks, fitness goals and even a checklist to keep track of the number of glasses of water one takes in.

I have searched around for many versions and Life's A Journal is the one I like best.

Weekly Calendar
From Arian Armstrong
In a weekly calendar, I prefer that my week starts on a Monday.

Menu Planner + Grocery List


From Craft Sew Create
Menu planner and grocery list in one page saves me time. I love this version as it already has categories in the grocery list section.

Notepad
From Arian Armstrong
What made this notepad more cool is that it has one of my favorite Bible verses, Philippians 4:8-9.

Birthday Calendar

From Lemon Squeezy via Pinterest
I'm currently using one where each month is on a separate page. I like this version as it consolidates everything in one page.

Should you wish to get copies of each printable, please click on the link below each photo. It will direct you to its website and you may download them in jpg or pdf format. These are all free, so print away.

I know this would help you, especially the homemakers, as much it helped me.

Have a great day everyone!
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Finding Myself in...Pinterest

I have discovered Pinterest. So far I like it and it has proved very useful for me. As I am visual person, it helps having all my ideas in one place or it is called a "board" in Pinterest. 

All I have to do is browse through other people's posts or in Pinterest it is called "pins." Most of the members have excellent ideas. What I do is grab what interests me and I "repin" it in my own board. I created several boards such as places I want to visit, style and fashion, ideas and tips for the home and so much more. 

Sharing with you posts/pins that describes me --

From louise m via Pinterest

From Lisa via Pinterest
I know I have this gift -

From Lotta Metsarinne via Pinterest
Now, attention all husbands! This one is for you.

From Deidre Maxwell via Pinterest
Here are a few ones I can relate to --

From Marion Monica via Pinterest
From L'dell Martin via Pinterest
From Katey Walton via Pinterest
As it turns out, I am an introvert.

From Margo Marshall via Pinterest
Last week at small group, we talked about being a Barnabas and in simple words, this sums it up.

From Megan Gaudette via Pinterest
Lastly, this tugged on my heart a bit.
From Corey Ahern via Pinterest


Follow me on Pinterest, I am irmaloveslife.

By the way, if you want to try out Pinterest, send me an e-mail at irmaloveslife@gmail.com and I will send you an invite. That's the only downside as it needs an invitation to get in. That's probably the trend right now - look at Google+.

Have a great week everyone!
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Breathtakingly Beautiful

Have you ever had one of those moments when your jaw literally dropped while looking at a view? Simply because the view was breathtakingly beautiful. I had my I-don't-know-how-to-describe-it moment where all I could think of was how amazing our God is for creating such a landscape.

So what sceneries made my jaw drop?

Lake Louise in Banff (Canada)

View of Ch√Ęteau Lake Louise
I am so blessed to have seen this scenery twice. The first I laid my eyes on it, I literally had no words to describe what I saw. It was that beautiful. The second experience was eating lunch at Fairmont's Chateau Lake Louise while enjoying the spectacular view. I had the chance to walk around the lake and admire the scenery.

Niagara Falls - Canada side (Canada)

Niagara Falls
Canada is a country blessed with picture-perfect sceneries. Another one which took my breath away was Niagara Falls. My memory of Niagara Falls was from the movie Superman in a scene where Christopher Reeves flew over the falls. I had no idea the falls were gigantic. It made me stop and just admire what God has made.

Sunset in Boracay (Philippines)

Image from Flickr
I firmly believe that the sunset in Boracay is the most beautiful. Other would say the one in Manila Bay is. But there is something about watching a sunset while sitting down on the beach, feeling the finest and whitest sand on your feet, and sipping a cocktail drink with an umbrella on it or an iced cold beer. Now that is the life.

El Nido, Palawan (Philippines)

Big Lagoon
Jed and I made one of the best decisions to go to El Nido Resort for our honeymoon. The experience was worth every centavo of the money we paid. I have no words to describe how beautiful that part of the Philippines is. My favorite activity was going around the lagoons in our kayak. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.


Now, what places made you drop your jaw out of its magnificence?
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I Am A Potter Geek

Last Sunday, it was the end of  an era for me when I watched the last of the Harry Potter movies. I started being hooked on Harry Potter when my sister introduced it to me back in 2001. I clearly remember that it was around Halloween. She was done with the first book and I had nothing to do so fine, I read it, too. I really did not give it much thought at first. Come on, what's so special about a little boy who has magic? I guess I spoke too soon as the moment I turned those pages I was sold.

I remember running to the bookstore to buy the succeeding books when I finished the first one. I had to go to Ho Chi Minh City that time and guess what kept me company - my Harry Potter books. It was definitely a point of conversation. My boss then knew about the books as her wife read it to their sons. At the airport, I saw people with their heads down reading Harry Potter. The lady who checked us in at our hotel in HCMC  recognized the book which I had to put down at the counter as I had to sign my name in the hotel card.

Oh, and I would reserve ahead of time when the new books would come out and I would bring them around with me despite the size and weight. 


The popularity of Harry Potter was phenomenal. When Book 6 came out, I was reading it slowly - yes, I love my books - then it happened someone told me the ending. I was furious. So furious. That when the final book came out, I locked myself at home and would not come out until I finished the entire book. I got to practice speed reading then.

The books were made into movies. I was skeptical. I have and will always love the book more than the movie adaption. But I admit, it was great seeing the characters come to life on the big screen. When I read the books now, I have the actors playing the characters in mind now. 

I prefer Harry Potter over Twilight for so many reasons. J.K. Rowling is one excellent writer. I enjoyed reading each of her book and she transported me to this whole new world of wizards and witches, and where non-magic people are called muggles. I feel for little Harry who was orphaned at such a young age. Who would've thought he was some sort of superstar in the magic world?

Oh boy, I shed so many tears from reading the Harry Potter books, I felt every emotion. Last Sunday as I watched the last movie, I was teary-eyed as I bid farewell to Harry Potter and the gang.

Thank you, J.K. Rowling for keeping me entertained for 10 years. From a single mother, who used to write her books in a Starbucks store, she is now the richest woman in Great Britain even surpassing Queen Elizabeth. 

 I leave you with this tweet from Emma Thompson, apparently a statement from THE Stephen King --

"Harry Potter is about doing what's right in the face of adversity. 
Twilight is about how important it is to have a boyfriend." 



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My Dream Destinations (Philippine Edition)

It's a long weekend here in Thailand for Asalaha Bucha and Khao Pansa or the Buddhist lent. Jed and I were thinking that if we only had a car, we would surely be out of town. We fondly recall our time in Cebu where we frequent road trips to different parts of Cebu.

The Philippines is a beautiful country. I am extremely proud of my motherland. I just changed my profile here in Blogger and Twitter to state my citizenship. I want the whole world to know where I come from.

I want to continue my dream destination series but this time of places I want to visit in the Philippines. my top five are:

Batanes


Marinduque

Bellarocca Island Resort and Spa
Misibis Bay

Misibis Bay
Palawan


Vigan


What are your top five places to visit in the Philippines?

Have a great weekend everyone!
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Dating Advice for Young & Single Ladies

There is this urge for me to write addressing single ladies. My heart bleeds for women who are in bad relationships. I know God definitely has someone better for them. The longer they stay in a relationship with the wrong person, they are clearly missing the opportunity to meet the right person for them.

While I am clearly not an expert in this area, I have had my heart broken a number of times. I know how it feels to get hurt, to be left alone in thin air. I had days when I couldn't go to work as I could not think clearly. There came a point when I thought Mr. Right would never have found his way to me.

I borrowed my friend's prayer asking God that the next man I meet would be THE one, if not then please do not send any man my way as I did not want to get over a broken heart again. At the beginning of year 2003, I declared out loud at work that year I would meet Mr. Right. True enough, Jed and I started dating 3rd quarter of the year.

God is truly good and amazing. He had the right person for me.

As I deepen my walk with God, I realized that if I knew the things I know now and I have this relationship with Him, my heart would not have been broken that much. But God has a purpose for every single thing that happens to our lives, right?

My values were twisted then. My idea of a perfect relationship was based on Sex & The City. Thinking about those times make me cringe now. I was admiring the relationship of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie when all along I should have been rooting for Team Jennifer. Up to this day, after three biological children, Brad and Angelina are still not married.

I just want to share a number of great insights and relationship advices from brilliant and godly individuals whose blogs I follow.

The best dating advice --

The greatest advice I can give is this:

The way a man loves God is the way he will love you.

The way a woman loves God is the way she will love you.

from Bianca Juarez, The Best Dating Advice

When you're dating the wrong person --

#3 – If you are always defending him/her to the people who know me, love me and love Jesus. (Love is blind…and many times you cannot see the blind spots that others can see so clearly.)

#4 – If you find yourself not wanting to talk about him/her in front of the people in your life that you know may disapprove of the relationship for some reason. (Because…when this happens you are choosing to ignore what the Lord could be trying to make obvious through others because you are too involved emotionally to make a rational decision.)

#10 – If the Lord has specifically spoken to you and instructed you to end the relationship but you can’t/won’t because you either “don’t want to hurt them” or you fear that if you end this relationship then you won’t have another chance at one.

from Perry Noble, 10 Reasons I Should Not Be Dating Him/Her

How to find out if your relationship is in trouble?

  1. You Are Not Spiritually Compatible.
  2. You Have To Continually Defend The Relationship–Especially To Those Who Love You.
  3. PDA
  4. Sex IS The Relationship
  5. You Hope That Marriage Will Change The Person. (this is the biggest LIE)
  6. You Find Yourself Trying To Bargain With God.

from Perry Noble, Six Signs The Dating Relationship Is In Trouble...

Women, please let the man pursue you.

You deserve it. Think of Bella in Twilight being pursued by Jacob and Edward.

#3 – Be Focused

I say this a lot when talking to single ladies…but PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not settle.

The Bible says in Ephesians 3:20 that God is able to do more than we could ever imagine…that’s HUGE!

I have seen WAY too many ladies settle, hoping that they could “fix the dude up!” Ladies–God didn’t call you to fix him…only Christ can do that.

If you are in Christ then you are the King’s daughter…and you do not need to settle for the boy who can’t accept responsibility…you need to wait for the man who is WILLING to fight for your heart.

from Perry Noble, How To Be Pursued By A Guy

Still waiting for Mr. Right?

4) Celebrate the moments of “loneliness.” Trust me, when you start having a serious and committed relationship, and you begin a family and take on other things on the side — that alone time can be a luxury.

from Liz Claudio (Guest Post from Samantha Johnson) Things I Wish I Learned When I Was Single

This one is absolutely true. Right now, I dream of alone/ME time as I rarely have those anymore. Gone are those days when I can do absolutely anything I want when I want to.


How many times do I need to remind you that you deserve the best?

2. Aim for excellence. If you realize that God is with you then you will not settle for anything less than the best. If you realize as well that in everything that you do (how you work, how you speak, how you dress up, how you handle your money and time, etc), you do it unto God, it should change the way you do things.

from Anna Moran, (For) All The Single Ladies- Part One

6. Wait for God’s best for you. BELIEVE ME, HE EXISTS. I may have done many mistakes in the past but I am so thankful that I waited for JA and that I did not settle for anything less. When he comes, you will know. There is no formula to knowing it, but, I need and beg you to have two non-negotiables: He must love and fear God & He must love, honor and respect you.

What if he's married?

1) Perhaps the most common reason that everyone uses for getting involved extra-marital affairs is that the husband has been sexually and emotionally suffering in his marriage for a long time. "They have been having serious problems before I even came along," you say to yourself. Therefore, you cannot possibly be responsible for a marriage that falls apart.

My friend, while it is true that the marriage has probably been going through a lot of problems before you came along, you are taking away that crucial opportunity for the husband and wife to have no choice but to cling to God so that He may perform miracles on their marriage. It is never your job nor your place to be the source of the solution.

from Samantha Johnson, You Love Him But He's Married

I am so blessed to have married a man who is committed to following Christ. I grew up believing men are polygamous, easily tempted and at one point in our marriage, he is bound to cheat on me.

And this is why it is important to find a man who loves God. Someone who will put your needs above his. Someone who will love you the way Christ loves the church.

Ladies, do not even doubt that you deserve any less.

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My Dream Destinations (International Edition)

Inspired by my earlier post on travel souvenirs, I put on my dream cap and started thinking of my dream destinations.

If I won the lottery, what are the ten destinations I would check out?

Angkor Wat (Cambodia)


Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)

The Christ the Redeemer is included in the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Great Wall of China (China)


New York City (USA)

New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There's nothin' you can't do
Now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let's hear it for New York, New York,
New York
- Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys

The Empire State Building is one the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.

Prague (Czech Republic)

Every time Jed and I see a movie filmed in Prague, we would always tell ourselves, we want to go there.


One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and an honorary in New Seven Wonders of the World.

Santorini (Greece)

Taj Mahal (India)

Included in the New Seven Wonders of the World and the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World.

I love how the Taj Mahal symbolizes eternal love.

Tokyo (Japan)

If you won the lottery, where would you want to go?

Remember, it all starts with a dream.

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Photo credits:

Angkor Wat http://www.sacred-destinations.com/cambodia/angkor-wat

Central Park, NYC http://worldislandparadise.com/backpacker-zone/most-romantic-wedding-locations/attachment/central-park-new-york-city-ny-6

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro http://www.topnews.in/regions/rio-de-janeiro

Empire State Building http://theamericanlife.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/the-empire-state-building/

Machu Picchu http://www.bestsingletravel.com/Peru.html

Old Town Square, Prague http://www.citypictures.org/r-europe-148-czech-republic-198-old-town-square-prague-czech-republic-3322.htm

Tokyo, Japan http://www.travelasianplaces.com/tokyo-japan-luxury-world-class-five-star-hotels.html

Help Wanted: Starbucks City Mugs

Update as of January 20, 2012: A separate page is created especially for my collection, for fellow collectors and would-be-traders. Check it out here.

Traveling is one of my passion. How I wish we had more money to spend on it. Back when I still working, I had the opportunity to visit several countries in North America and Southeast Asia. Of course, I'd want something to remember the country so I would buy those little souvenir item from each country. From paperweight to miniature stuff, I thought collecting magnets would be better as I would see them all in our refrigerator. Eventually, I got tired of the refrigerator magnets. They all look out of place.

Last year, I saw a couple of friends' album in Facebook of the Starbucks City Mug they collected from all over the world. And then it hit me, "Why didn't I think of that?' The answer is the Starbucks City Mug Global series is not available until 2008. They weren't available the time I was traveling.

Now, I've decided to start collecting them so I started off with Cebu before we moved here.

As we go around Thailand, I have several additions - Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Pattaya

Jed traveled to Australia so he got me - Sydney and Melbourne


I visited Bali in 2005. My best friend made a trip there recently so she got me a city mug of Bali.

Just when I stopped frequenting Starbucks coffee, it's when I have this desire to collect their City Mug 2008 Global Icon Series. The Philippines alone has 10 city mugs.

They look so pretty together.

I particularly like the overall mug design with the name of the city and an icon of what the city is famous for. Let's take Bangkok as an example and look at the details of the mug.


Left is the back portion of the mug which shows Bangkok skyscrapers. Right is the front of the mug where you will find the city name and the famous icon which is a tuktuk.

My two guidelines in collecting are:
  1. For uniformity's sake, I only collect Starbucks City Mugs 200s Global Icon series.
  2. I only collect from cities (NOT country mugs) which I or Jed had actually visited.
I need help in buying city mugs from:
Philippines
  • Bacolod
  • Baguio
  • Batangas
  • Boracay
  • Cagayan de Oro
  • Manila
  • Naga
  • Pampanga
  • Tagaytay
Asia
  • Hong Kong
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Penang
  • Singapore
Canada
  • Banff
  • Calgary
  • Montreal
  • Niagara Falls
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver
U.S.A.
  • Chicago
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Miami
  • Seattle
If you can help me in anyway, please get in touch with me by leaving me a comment or sending me an e-mail at irmaloveslife@gmail.com.

And if any of you are collecting these city mugs, I can help you with the Thailand part of the series. Leave me a comment or send me a message.

My biggest thanks!

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