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An open letter from Mr. Right

#UNFILTERED

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Dear daughters of God,

Contrary to what you have heard, I do exist. I’m no fairytale hunk with big muscles and thing for chick flicks (although, I may or may not have a man bun). So, put your daydreams of love off to the side for a minute and let me tell you what makes me, “Mr. Right” and why people keep telling you to wait for me.

The first thing I really want for you to understand is that I was not born your Mr. Right. I promise we weren’t destined to cross paths and lock eyes from across a crowded room and fall hopelessly in love. God has been working in my heart for YEARS! Do you realize what was in my heart before Christ saved me?! Of course you don’t because we haven’t met yet, but I can promise you it is equally as crazy and sinful as…

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Calligraphy Design: Simple Drawn and Painted Borders

The Calligraphy Pen

One of the most fascinating aspects of illuminated manuscripts is the range and diversity of the borders.  Elements can include stylized and naturalistic foliate drawings, (flowers, ivy, leaves, buds), geometric shapes and pen sprays often growing from border bars anchored to illuminated initials.

This demonstration will look at a few basic structures and incorporate various common elements found in manuscripts to create simple borders with added layers of complexity as a starting point to either creating your own designs or researching manuscripts to recreate “authentic” styles.

The border designs in this demonstration are a simple Symmetrical Border, a Repeating Spiral Border and a Border Bar with Ivy.

I have also included references to a few manuscripts from the British Library Catalogue of Illuminated Manuscripts for each design to give you an idea of the use, range and diversity of the elements.

Drawing Borders

What you need:

  • graph paper (refer to

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Project Liham: Mechanics

We currently live in a world where technology is of utmost importance. People can’t seem to live without computers, tablets, cellphones and wifi. Our every day lives are completed by facebook posts, tweets, filtered photos in instagram and hashtags. Everybody knows what everyone did, is doing, and will be doing. In a world as such, communicating is never difficult. As a matter of fact, people communicate too much by posting every single thing that happens in his/her social networking accounts. However, I believe that there is still beauty on non-high-tech means of communication which is mailing letters. This method seems to be too old fashioned and slow but it is a worthwhile experience for both the sender and the receiver. So, I decided to send letters to my friends to remind them how it feels like to receive mails (and for my younger friends, teach them that there is such a thing as snail mail). This is how this project works:

1. I will be required to send at least one letter every week for the whole year.

2. The letter receiver will be picked each week through draw lots.

3. I will make customized stationery for each receiver through drawing things that remind me of them.

4. The letter will contain only positive things such as: things I appreciate about them, our fun memories, and other encouragements.

5. The receiver will post a “smiley” on my facebook wall to report that they received the letter. They will not be allowed to tell others about the letter they received from me to maintain the element of surprise.

6. Every receiver will be privately asked about his/her reaction about the challenge after a “smiley” has been posted in my wall. They will also be requested to send a picture of themselves holding the letter.

7. These responses will be documented and posted at the end of the year.

8. The receivers will be challenged to do the same challenge for their friends on the following year.

I hope this will turn out to be successful.

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Selfishness in Selflessness

I was born in a family that gives importance to selflessness and love for others. As I grew older I discovered through series of tests hosted by our local church that “giving” is one of my spiritual gifts. I realized that I enjoy the act of sharing. I developed a passion for civic acts and got involved in numerous charitable events. However, early this year, I was faced with a new perspective on selflessness that made me question the things I thought I knew about charity. Can there be selfishness in selflessness?

One of my friends told me that her New Year resolution is to try to stop being too selfish. “What?!” was my immediate reaction. I was confused with the thought that the person I know to be kind, generous, and self-sacrificing accused herself of such a thing. I mean this girl is a dozen times more selfless than me (in my standards of selflessness).  . Come on, she even volunteers to carry my shoes and other stuff back in high school even if she already has her own stuff to carry. I even scolded her a lot about being such a push-over and for not standing up for herself when people ask her to do things for them. How can she even think of herself as someone selfish? Still confused about the idea, I asked her to help me understand. She told me that she thinks that she is selfish because she feels that she is doing all those “kind” things for her own satisfaction. I got that part but when I asked her to explain further how she came up with the conclusion that she is doing it for her own pleasure, she couldn’t explain why. How can selflessness be considered selfish? I tried to analyze the situation and I identified some problem areas:

1.  Our questionable motives behind the deed

Just as a car needs a driver, so do actions need intention. A car, no matter how powerful its engine is or how much gasoline it contains, will never run unless a person starts its engine up and drives it toward a destination. Motives drive our actions. It brings us to where we want to go and makes us do what we think we need to do. Therefore it is important to check our intentions before doing every deed. That’s why King David’s prayer in Psalm is very important.

“Examine me, O LORD, and test me. Evaluate my inner thoughts and motives.”  Psalm 26:2 (New English Translation)

We constantly need to check the deepest parts of our hearts and ask God to help us dig it up. We need God’s help to understand ourselves and to reveal to us what we cannot see since evaluating intentions is very difficult given our own set of biases and prejudices. We have to know our sincerest motives and look beyond how everything appears to be especially since the heart where our intentions come from “is deceitful above all things” (Jeremiah 17:9). Therefore, you have to very cautious when you listen to what your heart is telling you.

If my friend thinks that the reason why she’s doing what she does is to be the center of attention or to gain appreciation, she might be right, she needs to change her intentions to avoid being selfish. Therefore, I too should consistently evaluate my intentions to make sure that all my actions are centered in pleasing God and glorifying Him.

2. Our belief in the doctrines of the world

As a student of International Studies, I am exposed to theories that try to explain the nature of humanity. Although I won’t go into details about the theories I have to say that there are theories that believe that individuals are flawed. Scholars of these theories believe that individuals always prioritize themselves over everyone else. Selfishness is considered as the defining characteristic of humanity. This belief already gave people a definite answer to any questions about motivations. It tells people that all acts of kindness are fueled by selfish intentions. It even gives us proofs of their conclusion by exposing us to corruption in the government and the abuse of power by those in authority. The world asks us not to question our intentions anymore because it has already been proven that we all do what we want to do for our own pleasure. An act of charity makes people feel good; it makes them think better about themselves, that they are kinder and more generous than others. This thought is problematic in so many ways. First, it gives justification to apathy. Second, it puts the blame of misconduct to human nature. Third, it discourages charity by calling people hypocrites. Lastly, it makes us lose our hope in humanity. Therefore we should stop caging ourselves in the identity that the world feeds us.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2 (New Living Translation)

Do not let the world define who you are. Let your identity be defined by God.

3. Our lack of faith in God

Have you ever heard someone praise people’s goodness and then doubt his/her personal kindness in a single breath? I have. This is the type of person I am. I always believe in the goodness of others but consistently doubt the goodness in me. As I try to contemplate the reason behind my self-doubt I was faced with the reality that this practice reflects my lack of faith in God. “How?” you might ask. Easy. By doubting the goodness that God placed in our  inmost being right from the moment He created us. To refresh our thoughts let us go back to the distant past, back in the time when God created the world.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them… God saw all that he had made and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.” Genesis 1:27 & 31 (New International Version)

God was satisfied with how He created Adam and Eve, this meant that He saw goodness in His creation. Like a father holding his newborn child, he believes in his child’s goodness although he knows that there will come a time that this child may disappoint him. He has faith in us knowing that He did not create us with pure evil instead He breathed His spirit in us, making us more special than His other creations. We are made with goodness in us. But with this, God also gave us free-will and gave us the right and responsibility to decide between good and evil. Although they fell into temptation, Adam and Eve did not begin their lives as sinners. We always forget that Adam and Eve were obedient to God and were pure before they ate from the forbidden tree.  Like what we normally do, we totally forget about the goodness of people right after it has been tainted by misdeed. I agree that the fall of Adam and Eve caused us to inherit sin, but we should not cage ourselves in it. Sin is a part of us, and so is goodness. So when we lack faith in ourselves, we lack faith in the one who created us. Believe that you are capable of goodness because God is capable of putting goodness in you. So next time you doubt your intentions, consider the idea that it is God working in and through you. Remember that it is not about you, it is about God and His love for the people who will receive His blessing through you. You are just a vessel and a good vessel never doubts where the blessings come from, where it is supposed to go and what type of blessing it pours.

And by the way, don’t you know that you can be selfish by merely accusing yourself of being selfish? That sounds funny but it is true. When you think that the desire to help that God placed in your heart is a product of your own selfish being, you are robbing Him of His glory. You are making this all about you instead of making it all about Him. You are taking full ownership of the idea and excluding God from the equation and worse, you are besmirching the holy mission that God placed in your heart.

Therefore if you think your selflessness is selfish remember to check your motives, change your idea about humanity, and trust God’s plan in your life. It’s not about you anyway; it’s all about God living in you and working through you.

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(Photo courtesy of Randy Willis Photos)

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I Love You, Jesus

Christmas is a happy season. I really enjoy the feel of Christmas. The music, the spirit, and the thought that we are celebrating the birth of God’s most precious gift to the world. So with an overjoyed heart I was able to write a song dedicated tho the main man of the season. This is the third song I have written. But this is my favorite so far since it is an overflow of my love and gratitude to my Savior.

Verse 1
You are my light in troubled times
You held my hand and led me on
When I’ve got nowhere else to go
You are my rock, you’ll not be shaken
You never left me even if the world
Had turned its back on me

Refrain
So, I owe my life to You
Cos You gave Your life for me
And I give my love to You, Jesus

Chorus
I will never deny it
I will never regret it
I will always declare
How much I love you Jesus

Your love will never fail
Your love will never end
My love will always be
For no one else but Jesus

Verse 2
You are my refuge in times of storm
When my faith is weak and shaken
And I’ve lost all strength to hold
You showed Yourself and made me strong
You said, “My child you’re not forgotten
I am always here with you”

Bridge
I will always, I will always
I will always, say/sing/shout/declare “I love you, Jesus”

I will try to upload a recording of the song soon. 🙂

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Man Like the Moon

Lately, I’ve been asked much about my standards for a perfect guy, the type of guy I would like to be spend my life with. As a child I used to have a long list starting with his looks, the things he should be interested in and his job and even the way he dresses . But, as I grow older, I felt all these specifications were unnecessary. Love is not like ordering a dress where I have my list of requests and expect the result to be perfectly fit for me. Therefore, here’s my reply to all those who ask me about my ideal man.

My dream guy is not a prince nor a guy who makes some cute grins
Not necessarily a king who owns a huge castle and is in search of his queen
I want my man to be like the moon with light that is subtle, calming and humble
The one who never fails to shine especially when darkness makes me crash and stumble

My man, like the moon, can have different faces
He doesn’t always have to be perfect, full or new
He can be half or crescent, of course he can have his moods
Emotions and feelings doesn’t have to be hidden
So even if I get hurt I will always trust that in his heart rests something good

He, like the moon, doesn’t have to be flawless
His skin and body doesn’t have to look like the statue of David
He can have his flaws on his neck or toes
And he can be proud of it and happily embrace it
Because he can be confident that I will love him and all of it

I know nights may come when he,like the moon, will be hidden behind the clouds
Or nights when he’ll need the stars’ help to make the sky look bright
But that doesn’t mean that he’ll stop from shining
He may just need his friends’ help to keep him from drowning

The moon may not have the ability to push the blanket of cloud aside
Yes that’s right, I won’t expect my man to push all our problems aside
I won’t blame him for the chaos because I know that the darkness and clouds are part of life
What matters is that he is trying his best to shine bright beyond the gloom

My man, like the moon, will always be present
He will not leave even if the sun rises up till I can’t see him no more
He will be with me both in happy times and sad ones
I’ll be secure that he is out there somewhere and he’ll be shining again when I need him the most

Like the moon, his gravitational force will keep me within the orbit
Keeping me from falling into the nothingness of the universe
He will help me move towards who I need to be
He will not be restrictive, instead he will be revolving with me

Most of all, my man, like the moon, is a reflection of the sun’s light
He will catch the Son’s glory and reflect it for the world to see
He will be an image of God’s love and goodness, His compassion and mercy
He will let me enjoy the sun cos he knows that I need it as much as he needs it
He will not keep me away from the Son of God
Instead he will make me appreciate how beautiful and grand He is

Just like earth, I will be needing him and only him
No other moon, no other man is necessary for me to bloom
Therefore,I will not envy other planets
Not even if they have dozens of rings and have more moons
Just one moon, my moon, is always enough

There is nothing more I wish for than to find a man who’s like the moon
And when I do, like the earth during night time
Beneath the pale but calming presence of the moon
I will be contented and peaceful and my heart can rest knowing that I always have my man