“8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” JOSHUA 1:8 (NLT)
I’m not surprised that for many of us the idea of Bible-reading is automatically slapped with the hashtag #boring or brushed off with the neutral “Whatever, I’m livin. He’s with me'” shrug. I named this post Between My Highlights, because He made those areas between my USUAL verses our special meeting place. In a way in my life He’s met me most deeply in between my triumphs and victories, not just amidst celebration. I wanted my experience to touch on a gaping hole in modern Christianity, which is we don’t actively pursue what’s for us in the Bible. We want someone to tell us what’s in it, but we often don’t want to look ourselves. We have one so we say we have one, or sometimes two even, or perhaps just the app for Sundays and connect group days. The revelation for me was if you don’t read your Bible to know Him, or just reading through the verse then closing it without meditating, I don’t feel it can be quite called praying as a WHOLE, because prayer is supposed to be a conversation, not a one-way street with a shopping list in hand, and sometimes what He has to say won’t fall on your head from your ceiling or appear on a billboard or jeep, it may already be lying in wait within the pages of His Book in addition to that still, small voice. We commune with Him in prayer and a massive part of communicating with Him is reading His Word, because unlike the still small voice that we sometimes “think” we hear you can return to the verses He reveals to you over and over.
“Humor aside, I think the reason we sometimes have the false sense that God is so far away is because that is where we have put Him. We have kept Him at a distance, and then when we are in need and call on Him in prayer, we wonder where He is. He is exactly where we left Him.” – RAVI ZACHARIAS
The truth, folks, is just before this year I was a serial non-Bible reader. Yep, my YouVersion Bible app kept sending me that “would you like to take at least 5 minutes to read…” alert over and over for two years and I’d feel so nagged by it before. I preferred my real Bible but I wouldn’t really meditate. I used to pay attention to it just on Sundays but now…recently, I’ve been completing the app plans like wildfire. I look forward to them. I don’t expect a badge or a trophy or a “good for you” slap on the back, there just really happened to be a turning point sometime around Feb to March early this year, and I’m just thankful that God changed something in me, I pray for good. In the past I agreed with that Joshua 1:8 verse above because I knew I ought to, hellooo, I’m a believer I should, but I didn’t do it, meaning it didn’t really reach me deep down. I would peak in reading and dip quite quickly when life was going well. I quipped certain verses to encourage friends and write in my journal (so easily because my parents were Navigator affiliated family evangelists from when I was 2). We can sort of thank the media for all the pop-ups, IG accounts, Tweets, sites and feeds with inspirational quotes and Scripture which we don’t seek out but encounter ‘coz otherwise we starve unconsciously. “Newsflash” as Judah Smith says, that’s not really knowing God. You don’t really nurture a friendship with your best friend by hoping you see their status in your feed today. We reason out “Oh, I saw two verses in my feed today, that’s already seed that’s going to grow in me…” true, yes I agree, but what delights the Lord is when we love Him with all our mind, heart, and soul…and love isn’t passive, love is active, a commitment to love is a priority. Read more to get the full post and of course I’ll include an embedded video.
A little quiet over here yes, been a bit more busy as a bee would be, so it’s no wonder I’ve been hovering over these and pruning them to my heart’s delight. A tip for keeping flowers perky is to not just immediately dunk them in a vase of water as is but to do so after first cutting the bottom tips of each stem at a diagonal angle so they don’t clog up when touching the bottom of the vase. Also trim any leaves near the bottom of the stems so they don’t drown and rot in the water making the water bad for the flowers to take in. Once you do this and leave them for a few hours so they can drink, come back later and touch the petals you’ll notice if some of them were wilting when you first bought them they’ll suddenly feel perked up. To keep flowers alive longer do the same diagonal trimming of stem tips every few days (daily if you’re OC) and change the water everyday to every other day.
“Delight yourselves in God, yes, find your joy in him at all times. Have a reputation for gentleness, and never forget the nearness of your Lord. Philippians 4:4 JB PHILLIPS version”
I inserted a blossom as a garnish into my Sola iced tea this morning to cheer myself up (for mum flowers make sure it’s only the blossom, no stems or leaves). I popped the airtight cap on the bottle first for safety, drank a bit to make space, closed it and shook up a storm to get foam and poured it into a glass, tada, al fresco worthy iced tea. I’ve been a bit under the weather deep inside, so apologies for the sudden calm over here. God is faithful and He’s been bringing me closer to Him in ways I never thought possible. As it turns out I needed a bit of diagonal trimming myself. On the brighter side, there’s something real exciting by the way I have to show once I receive the photos, can’t wait to share that with you.
There was an inspirational video last night that somewhat moved me to pieces called “Restless” a small group series based on the book by Christian author and inspirational speaker, Jennie Allen. It was posted in December 2013, so it isn’t that ancient and I’m glad both the teaser and message are in HD video. There was a sacred romance behind it, but it wasn’t about relationships, it was about something Greater. Here I’m first posting the animated book teaser and at the end of this post is the actual 20 minute motivational message that I really recommend for ANY woman no matter who you are.
How many of us women know that regardless of what age we’re at, whether married or not, whether we’re corporate career women, small time entrepreneurs, or bound to the home sometimes even in the midst of having everything we need or whether everything is in its place or misplaced we find ourselves restless? Something kind of revealing occurred to me from last night to this morning. If your childhood was laced with the fantasies of Disney’s now overtly commercialized princesses take heart…there was so much more meaning behind them than you realize, it wasn’t just about selling you Disneyland. Notice. We all want more, something deeper, and we shush ourselves when we feel that way.
“Just around the riverbend…”
At the very, very peak of their questioning, despair, the burgeoning of these princesses’ hearts or whatever it was that set off their situations…something greater and bigger than they expected lay in store for them and if you look at the whole story it wasn’t just about their own happy ending, it was always about something GREATER for everyone’s good needing to be set right, too. Sometimes it’s just about to happen and sometimes, or many times honestly, it takes time, trust, and patience for your adventure to arrive. However you need to be seeking and posted in the right place, and trusting and believing in the right Person, and that is Jesus. You’re allowed to disagree with me and I’m allowed to share what I believe in :).
In Jennie Allen’s beautifully and simply edited video message she mentions at one point she was newly married with a good, sweet husband and a baby and yet she was staring at the ceiling…restless. I’m sure some of you who are new Moms have felt this way sometimes. Sometimes the restlessness is not about our not being content enough, it just means your heartstrings are being pulled for God’s purpose. He never wants to just stop and sit comfortably, of course He wants us to enjoy life, but there’s more to it than just being comfortable, there’s something greater, it involves stretching and that is more than okay, it’s amazing and we are loved by Someone everlasting who will make it happen, but we need to shed all fear, He can do that for you. The part that moved me most in her video message was from YouTube clip time 19:03 til the end in case you don’t have time to watch the whole video. Before that she quotes from Hebrews which was a life changing passage for me this last season which I had to believe. Take a 20 min break and Watch this video.
And so it happened that somehow I managed to find myself with a couple of comforting delights flavored with my favorite full-leaf tea which had to mean it was worthy of a post centered on everything Earl Grey. A couple of lovely brands over at the Legazpi Sunday market sweetly indulged me with Earl Grey flavored treats and helped make this post possible. Mom got me the ice cream elsewhere. You can’t imagine how pleased I looked smiling upon all of them together (actually, only 4 things on top of my requisite grey sweater)…I almost clapped LOL.
CLOCKWISE: Merry Moo Earl Grey Ice Cream (local artisanal ice cream, made with milk from free range cows), Fat Fingers PH Earl Grey Macarons (filled with Earl Grey tea infused dark & milk chocolate ganache), HURRAW Cold-Pressed Vegan Earl Grey Lip Balm from Cutieverse, Twinings Earl Grey Tea Bags.
I’ll now have to admit that I haven’t blogged about Merry Moo Earl Grey Ice cream ever since I first discovered it…kind of on purpose because I wanted to keep it a secret (it’s always in limited stock…*hits the backspace key…sighs and moves on* lol). Merry Moo is a wonderful local ice cream brand that does uniquely marvelous ice cream in artistanal flavors like Candied Bacon (tried it, it isn’t weird at all), Strawberry Basil, Honey Comb, Salted Dark Chocolate, a couple of others and THANKFULLY Earl Grey Tea as well. You can see some of the tea leaf flecks in the ice cream below.
Merry Moo’s Earl Grey offering is creamy, sophisticated and significantly yummy, if you like milk tea, I guarantee you’ll like this ice cream.
Merry Moo have a lot of kiosks in the Metro and sell ice cream to eat or in Php300.00 pints to take home, they’re also at the Legazpi Sunday Market but don’t always have lots of pints on hand there, the ice cream is mostly scoops to go at the market. The main kiosks I’m aware of are 4th flr foodcourt in SM Aura, EchoStore Market Market, Taguig, Glorietta 4 foodcourt (flr. before cinemas). There are more kiosk branches though, check out their Facebook page for the full list. In case your sweet tooth ain’t sore enough yet, the friendly people of Fat Fingers PH and Cutieverse.com put together a joint gift just for meeeee :D. A combined present encasing my favorite Hurraw Earl Grey Lip Balm AND…OMY WAIT FOR IT… Earl Grey Tea flavored macarons filled with dark chocolate Earl Grey infused ganache
Fan me, say my name, help me stand.
I won’t even begin to talk about my repeatedly mentioned ALL-TIME favorite lip balm past this next sentence. This balm is nothing but good, HURRAW was praised by NYLON magazine for merging the convenience of the pocket-able chap balm with the good of better ingredients, it tastes like Earl Grey, in the most comforting way plus the balm is cold-pressed and vegan. That was a really long run-on next sentence. As for these macarons, to be fair to you readers I will have to admit for your sake they are on the pricy side per piece (around Php45 each) but honestly these ARE YUMMY (just wish they were bigger for the price). Hint-hint @fatfingersPH I love your macarons but I must be honest. The macarons I tried abroad in Williamsburg, NYC were 75 UScents each (about Php33) they had drawings on them and they were about 25% bigger (not sure if I’m making a fair economic comparison but thought I’d mention for honesty’s sake). God must’ve worked to make the team behind Fat Fingers bring two of my favorite dessert flavors together in these macarons…Earl Grey Tea and Dark Chocolate filling to set me free…so, so yummy. At home once in awhile I sit with a cup of Earl Grey tea while reading, but sometimes I get lost in thought and I forget to pull out the tea bag and it becomes too dark.Just thought I’d share a couple of my favorite Earl Grey treats since I acquired them all together this week.
It’s actually good that I had this non-beauty post lined up…I really did just randomly decide yesterday to not blog about beauty today, gosh I would have never foreseen Robin William’s passing . I almost wouldn’t have been able to do makeup stuff at all with this huge universal ache many of us share today. Why did the world’s relentless, giddy, funny man have to leave? Another question unanswered for now. I know, I am genuinely really sad about this. Let’s hold hands, crow to the heavens and shout BANGARANG because the whole world needs to right now. Who’s gonna make us laugh now, Robin? It’s so strange that right now we need you because of you…am I making any sense?
Hi, yes I know a bit of a huge setback there huh, but yes I am still here. For those of you who haven’t been following my social media updates on the FB page and Instagram my father had his third hospital confinement since I arrived from New York in April. He was confined in April, in May overnight for something different, and this June for another stroke. While I was in New York he had already suffered from a handful of minor acute strokes and my mother was updating me via mobile while I was abroad. When I came back I found that my father had quite significantly changed from how I remember him before I left for New York City, he was kind of mentally grasping sometimes to complete statements he wanted to make, or he wanted to make a joke but would lose the thought and become sad, and my heart would melt with empathy. God has been faithful because Dad is still well enough to walk around and play golf with assistance, but sadly his memory has been somewhat affected. Right now he has a bunch of medications, follow-up checkups, and a restricted diet we all have to be hawks about since he has no caregiver so I’ve been having to adjust and I’ll admit I haven’t been 100% a saint about it half the time. I’ve been having to deal. Thank you for being understanding in this time of the blog being somewhat blank momentarily but please believe me when I say I really do not intend for it to stay this way for much longer, I want to be back AS IN BACK and with a bang. In fact, I wanted to share something today. While I was looking for some other older music by Regina Spektor I came upon one of her music videos, and while I might be the last person on the planet to see the art direction of her 2012 video release “How” (which is like a modern female rendition of Unchained Melody in my head lol) I was absolutely delighted by the art direction and how beautifully styled Regina was that it has inspired me to blog again and create future features for the blog despite the circumstances.
I like how porcelain skin was made the brief but done in a way that was somewhat vintage but not too dated. I like that the makeup is present, noticeable, but applied in a restrained manner so that it doesn’t clash with the quirky yet effective art direction.
There’s something muted yet simultaneously vibrant at the same time about this video. I love how they made her coral lips the key vibrance in the art direction. A current lipstick favorite right now in the blog community that people are raving about and that I’ve seen look similar online is Clinique’s Matte Mandarin from their new generation Long Last Soft Matte range (which isn’t a dead matte) lipstick and it is not yet available here on counters, I inquired at the Clinique Boutique (don’t you love how that rhymes) at SM Aura. MAC Lady Danger would probably be close but a little more intense orange-y red, but Clinique Matte Mandarin which I saw Ruth of AModelRecommends wear and apply over here on YouTube looks to be somewhat of a better softer match. Embedded below is Regina Spektor’s quirky yet wistful music video for her song “How”.