REFINER’S FIRE

As I sniffed my freshly sterilized laboratory gown, I knew I was up for another tiring day of chemical analysis. I don it and headed down to that big silent room of chemicals and equipment of where only running water and occasional ringing of the phone can be heard.

I thought I have graduated to this kind of work when I assumed the review and release of raw materials job of a chemist. But when my company started to cut down manpower which started a year ago and management learned that I have the background and expertise of chemical testing, with a heavy heart I said “yes” to the request of the management for what they said that it was a temporary dual role for me. It was a painful “yes” because I have never wanted to go back to laboratory analysis simply because it’s physically exhausting.

This day I silently said “Hello” to Loss on Ignition and Acid Insoluble Substances Tests. I scheduled these tests together as both use one equipment. Funny, but I can never dispel this observation that testing echoes real life. In real life, I tend to remember people on things they like to do and group them according to their likes in my heart and that’s how I scheduled work accordingly.

I started everything in a manner just like in the normal secondary science project. I turned on the furnace, then, set the temperature at 610 degrees. I placed inside the room-temperature crucible. The crucible that I used is heavily stained with black specks, as a result of frequent use. It is supposed to be white as it is made of porcelain.

As I opened the furnace, the glaring red heat of 610 degrees blew me away! I have encountered this kind of set-up before, but, back then it all seemed a regular and plain analysis to me. Not until today.

My crucible mightly remained intact at 610º even after 2 hours of heating, without a crack and and undeniably, it has somehow regained it’s whiteness.

The same crucible was re-heated at 825º in the same furnace. When I opened the furnace after an hour, the image was even glorious! Lo and behold, the light emitted from the wall of furnace can serve as the light of that dark box of fumehood. But my eyes got hooked on the image I saw in between the walls of furnace. That black little specks left from 610 degrees-heating were nowhere to be found. My crucible intact and whiter! It has regained it’s original color of white. Wow, here’s the light that melts the black specs and turned my powder to a white ash! What a physical and chemical transformation!

The high intensity of heating made it even cleaner and whiter….finer….shiner and now looks new without it breaking!

Chemical testing echoes real life.

All those high points in my life were preceeded with pain. The heat of pain has been a part of my life and it refined me. The time of rejections made me know myself and cling to the Lord, that one day I would see an open door, too. The time of loss made me value life and the people around me. The time of sickness made me think that life is temporary and short and make the most out of it. There are times when the heart gets overused that it begins to gain black specs just like my crucible but His fire regained its original color. His fire restores life.

My Master Chemist never promised an easy life but He promised He will take me through the pain. He was there in the fire but He was out for a refiner, cleaner and stronger me without my spirit breaking.

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“I have told you all this, so that in me you may have peace. You will have trouble in the world; but, courage! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

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In my bible reading of the gospel according to Mark, I encountered this verse again. This time it spoke to me in a different way. It spoke to me about signs and our judgement, even in our romantic lives. I went back to a video of Nicole Kidman, one of my favourite actresses, when, she guested in The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon for the first time, sometime 3 years ago today.

I can’t help but picture it in my mind while Jimmy Fallon tells his version of the incident and Nicole does hers, too.

Here’s the link. You will certainly enjoy.

Jimmy Fallon Blew A Chance To Date Nicole Kidman

This is a story that creates different reactions from different type of singles.
For waiting singles, they will say “That’s a big near miss! Sayang”. For heartbroken singles, they will say “Men, they just do not see who are the one! Ugh”. For steady and ready-to-mingle singles, they will say “OK, let’s move on from here, next!”, without even asking themselves “Did I just had a T.O.T.G.A?

(T.O.T.G.A. = Teh, one that got away.) L.O.L.

This true story between Nicole and Jimmy never leaves my mind without me smiling… with relief.

When things are not falling into proper places and falling into places means falling at the right time, it only goes to show that the universe is helping to translate the situation that it is not meant for my good.

This thought was validated in this event with Jimmy and Nicole.

Here are my points:

First, I put the crucial point to Rick, the common friend. I must say that Rick did not deliver completely the task of a wing man. He did not tell Jimmy to order some nice foods and be at his best when him and Nicole arrive. He must have reasons for not doing so. That night might be not so romantic for him, that he did not see the the big picture of love happening between his well-known friends and doing great favours for them. He must have reasons.

Second, I agree of how Nicole assessed Jimmy’s wardrobe and look when they arrived at his apartment. If men are visual, all the more women are. The only difference is women can be  quiet about it and have the power to still consider giving a man a chance of being together who does not meet her physical standards but appeals to her higher needs like security or life’s purpose. But, at this time, Nicole felt that Jimmy’s wearing of cap is an absence of interest. To share a bit of my own story. The Lord knows how I assessed (a few) men in the past and even in  the present times, that men who meet me without even trying to look at his best, physically are not into me, simply, because they are not trying to impress me, not at all. Although, this is not the singular criteria of assessing whether a man is into a lady and vice-versa, a decent OOTD greatly matters for a first – time meeting between singles from opposite sex. That happened to Nicole for felling that way. She must have reasons.

Thirdly and most importantly, had Jimmy really liked Nicole and not just like having i-am-not-worthy-fan-admiration, he could have called Nicole and asked her number from Rick and call her with lines like “Oh, hi there. Thank you for your visit last night and I felt I missed to prepare you something great to eat, you know that kind of stuff. Err.. Would you like to have a dinner with me, sometime?” That’s not even 50 words including the shy-expressions! Why didn’t he call? He must have reasons.

OK, that first meeting might be tragic for Jimmy to prepare and be at his best. But, c’mon, man, ladies like Nicole can very well understand the situation that they’ve just walk-by without a prior notice so they can give this man a chance. Afterall, she liked him! But, Jimmy did not call and ask the universe to give him a chance to impress Nicole. Jimmy must have reasons for not doing so.

Or… the universe knew and whispered to Nicole as earlier at that time that few years down the road someone else is meant for her, who the universe will help to translate that he is the one for her and in the same way to Jimmy, too.

God is merciful. God sends signs so we will be aligned with him.

So, me and fellow waiting people whether single or married, waiting for a dream to transpire, be still and have faith.

When things are not falling into proper places, it is not yet time. When it is not yet time, be still and wait with anticipation for that time of favours to come.

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Thank you for reading.
May God be praised.

Love and beauty,
B.

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Dear Sis,

What are your skin care routines?

Thanks,

Sister

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Today, I would like to share my passion of taking care of my skin and my joy each time I find a great beauty product. What I mean by a great beauty product is that it delivers its claims at a reasonable price.

(I have second thoughts of replying to this question for the fear that it will promote materialism. However, after thinking that there are a lot of beauty products within a very reasonable price and these companies create jobs, thus, I got convinced, otherwise.)

Instead of Buying Make-Up, I Invested On My Skin As Early As My Late Teen Years

I started taking care of my skin intentionally when I left the university and started earning my own. I didn’t have make – up products and only had baby powder but it has always been in my mind that a flawless skin is the base of nicely applied make-up, so, I decided to invest time and money for my facial skin, particularly.

  1. Toner/Cleansing Toner

I never went to bed without washing my face. (Maybe for few times that I missed to do it were because I was so tired and maybe even slept with my working clothes on.) After washing, I cleaned once again my face with cotton wetted of facial toner. But, Sister, be careful with toner as most of toners contain alcohol. Alcohol can make your skin dry and dry skin will make you look older aside from the fact it is prone to premature aging (fine wrinkles). So, observe the type of your skin. It has been my practice to use toners with alcohol content only when I have a pimple. Once, it get dried, I use the less “strong” toner. My usual toner is L’Oreal Whitening toner, but, these days, I’m using Ponds Toner.

It has always been my habit to check on the content of beauty products that I buy. (OK, Sister, I must admit that I can understand few of the content, having once worked for a consumer goods-manufacturing company as an Research and Development Chemist, but those contents are readily searchable in Google) Please do spend time to research.

  1. Moisturizer Is A Must At Night

I will never get caught sleeping without a moisturizer on. I applied Body Shop Vitamin E stick around my eyes and L’Oreal Revitalift during the night.

I started with my humble savings on AVON products. When I started earning, it is this time that I started buying L’Oreal moisturizer and Vitamin C serum from Body Shop. Applying moisturizer at night is like taking care of your skin without much ado. Just imagine all the vitamins and AHA being absorbed by your skin in straight 7-8 hours without intervention of pollution or sunrays in a regular basis. This is also the reason why most of the vitamin -rich beauty products are formulated for night application. Night time is for the time for the skin to regenerate. Sometimes, I don’t wash my face with soap in the morning and be contended with water only.

I just love how I see my skin in the morning and that encouraged me to continue on with the practice since then until now.

  1. Whitening Soap

There was a time that I use whitening soaps in a regular basis but I observed that it caused my skin to get dried. I know that most of this kind of products are for exfoliation, but, I was not happy seeing my skin get dried and peeling – off. Although, for right products selected for right type of skin and used properly under the recommended weather, the result after peeling – off is just wonderful!

Sister, as most of the whitening soaps contain acidic compounds, if you are using whitening soaps when you are bathing, please wash-off the soap from your skin after 2 minutes. Do not let it retain on your skin more than 2 minutes in an everyday practice.

  1. Moisturizer Cream In The Morning

Nowadays, I’m using L’Oreal Revitalift (the product come in two formulations) in the morning as it contains sunscreen. Using sunscreen can save you from color pigmentation, specially, if you are using products that cause whitening or exfoliation of your skin. Skin pigmentation can add years to your skin.

For the last 10 years, my main skincare products varied from Body Shop Vitamin C Serum, SK-II, CLINIQUE 1,2 and 3 and USANA Celevive. I recommend use of those products, too.

  1. Make – Up Remover

It’s only lately when I started applying full make – up and not even in a regular basis, that I started to have the need to get rid of make -up using a make -up remover before I wash my face with soap.

There are make -up products most specially the foundation that can’t be removed by water and soap.

Etude House has an oil-based facial cleanser that can get rid of make-up. I once used this product and was happy that it can be my make up remover and cleanser in one go. But, I did not use it a daily basis, only when I have make up on because I have an oily skin and using it often made my skin even oilier.

You see sister, after years of taking care of my skin, there is no single person in my previous and current office that can guess my age exactly. Their guesses were 12-15 years younger than my actual age. (Although, I’m also aware that they were being nice, too with their guesses.) Since then I let them guess and never confirmed my age.

It is true that when you love yourself, she will love you back.

May God give you joy while you take care of His gift to you, your skin, the largest part of your body, the body which is the temple of His Holy Spirit.

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Thank you and God bless.