Hello, Hello 2014!

My 2013? It's all good, fun and blessed.

ALL GOOD dahil kahit ano man ang mangyari sa akin araw-araw… pangit man ang tingin ko doon minsan ay palagi pa ring lumilipas lang at may natututunan akong bago at pwedeng paghusayin pa sa aking sarili. Sabi nga sa Romans 8:28"And we know that for those who love God ALL THINGS WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD, for those who are called according to his purpose."

FUN kasi sa bawat desisyong ginagawa ko at kahit walang kasiguruhan kung maganda ba ang magiging resulta – ay natuto naman akong magpahalaga at mag-enjoy! Salamat sa Diyos tinuruan Niya ako kung ano ba talaga ang “faith”. Sa Hebrews 11:1 sinasabi doon na: "Now faith is BEING SURE of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." Ang hirap kapag maiksi ang pasensya mo at madalas kang mag-alala pero sa taong ito ko natutunan ang maghintay at manatili sa mga gagawin ng Diyos sa buhay ko.

BLESSED dahil buong taon hindi ako pinabayaan ng Diyos, pati na rin ang pamilya ko ay inalagaan Nya. Matagal man akong wala pang full-time work ay di naman ako nawawalan ng freelance projects mula nang mag-resign ako sa huli kong trabaho at palaging may “provision in many ways” ang dumarating at hindi ko inaasahan. Masaya rin akong magkaroon ng mga bagong matatapat na kaibigan lalo na sa loob n gaming simbahan. Isama mo na din sa taong ito ang nakapagbakasyon sa ibang bansa ang nanay ko – doon kung nasaan ang kapatid ko. At sa loob ng 3 buwang wala siya ay nakaya kong mabuhay ng solo hehe!

Sa 300++ na mga araw sa taong ito, inulan ako ng pagpapala – hindi ko man pansin ang iba at hindi man lang ako nakapagpasalamat. Pero salamat talaga sa Diyos at sa lahat ng nagmamahal sa akin. Lalong salamat sa mga kapatid ko, feeling ko mas naging close tayo nitong 2013 no? Salamat dahil patuloy ding tinuturo sakin ng Diyos paano magpakumbaba at huwag masyadong maapektuhan ng nararamdaman ko (kunwari magdedesisyon o magsasalita kung kalian galit na galit).

Natutuwa rin ako dahil ngayong December ko ulit muling binasa ang aklat ni Joyce Meyer na Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind. Sabi nya dito:

"Your mind plays an important role in your victory; Negativism has to go!"

"Positive thoughts are always full of faith and hope; Negative thoughts are always full of fear and doubt."

"Expect a miracle in your life."

At 2.5 oras na lang ay bagong taon na muli, 2014 na! Naniniwala ako sa tinatawag na “breakthrough” – I’m claiming this in the mighty name of Jesus!

Pinanghahawakan ko pa rin ang pangako ng Diyos sa Jeremiah 29:11 na "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

At ito naman ang Motivation & Encouragement 2014 Life Verse ko:

FORGET THE THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST. Do not keep on thinking about them. I am about to do something new. It is beginning to happen EVEN NOW. Don’t you see it coming? I am going to make a way for you to go through the desert. I will make streams of water in the dry and empty land.  

Ang prayer ko naman para sa bansang Pilipinas ay magkaroon tayo ng bukas na isip at puso sa mga nangyayari sa ating bayan. Magtiwala pa rin sa kapangyarihan ng Diyos dahil di naman Sya nagbabago at di Niya tayo pinapabayaan. Maging mas matatag pa sana tayo sa mga pagsubok at mapagmahal para sa ating bayan. At sana, maialis sa pwesto ang mga tiwaling opisyal na nasa mataas man o mababang posisyon at maparusahan ang mga may sala. Magkaisa sana ang lahat ng Pilipino at patuloy na magbayanihan :)

God bless our 2014! God is good all the time!

Excited na akong gumawa ng Vision board ko! ^_^

Stuck in Love

Walking along the street so peaceful
There’s darkness all over
What am I here for? I don't remember at all
Except for a promise to keep on waiting
The stars are not even bright tonight
And the saddest story is not yet told
But I am sure I will come to like it more
For I would love to shed a tear for you
While smiling my heart out
Reading the lines of your book
Let your guards down bit by bit
Please make me a part of it
[2:22-2:26AM 1st of December, 2013]

Alright, I just wrote these lines really fast. I just typed everything that entered my mind right away. I got inspired by the movie I just saw a little while, titled “Stuck in Love” and I enjoyed the featured music right away and so the story line. I thought it would be just an ordinary Thanksgiving movie but I this one is just appealing and very easy to love, oh the mixture of dreams, passion and different perspective of love and hope! See the trailer below.

I believe it can be appreciated by hopeless romantics, realists, good writers and frustrated ones like me haha! The Stuck In Love: The Writers Playlist (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) is amazing – I liked it as much as the tracks from Yes Man, Catch&Release and October Baby.

And hey, I notice that Logan Lerman's character (Eddie) here is kind of the same as Charlie in the Perks of Being a Wallflower. He writes, reads a lot of books and has a good taste in music! Double like!

I also love this conversation between a daughter, who hated her mother so much for divorcing his father, and his father - who struggled moving on and just revealed the truth why he keeps on waiting for her mother.

Samantha: What are we doing down here?
Bill: Your Mom loves you. She never did anything to you.
Those things she did to me, the things you've been holding over her, I had already done to her years ago.
Samantha: What are you talking about?
Bill: I fell in love with somebody, and got lost, left. You were just a baby, and your mother waited for me.
Samantha: Shut up, Dad.
Bill: She waited six months, Samantha. And when I realized what a selfish * I'd been... She took me back. It's the truth.
Samantha: You couldn't tell me, Dad? Really? You just made me hate her!

Stuck in Love stars Jennifer Connelly, Greg Kinnear,
Lily Collins, Logan Lerman, Kristen Bell, Liana Liberato, and Nat Wolff
(note: right click the image and open the link in new tab/window for larger view )

And now, here are the good final lines from the movie, which are also the ending of “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” by Raymond Carver.

I could hear my heart beating. I could hear everyone's heart. I could hear the human noise we sat' there making.
Not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark.

When it comes to love, we need to pray hard and think carefully about the decisions we make. As the Word of the Lord says in Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” and “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” in Proverbs 4:23

And, family members should really stick together no matter what and communicate more with each other   Always try to give second chances and fulfill your promises! 

POEMATIC: 11.24.13 That Puzzle Piece

Missing puzzle piece, I won't miss a beat
Crashing spectral line, sky’s the limit
Hurry my love, time’s rolling crazy
Run away, speedy chase
Merry-go-round, feel the breeze
Count the sunset's changing hues
Sing with me, fine-tune your dreams
Missing puzzle piece, deep inside of me

(words by yours truly)

Few hours ago, my thoughts were a little fuzzy but as I listened to some instrumental music - words kept coming in though these might actually look nonsense and just confusing. Whatever. I am also confused haha!

We are dust

Lately, I've been missing my father a lot. I miss his laughter, grin, stories and him karaoke singing, commenting on the news and giving a pat and hug… my tears now as I type these words flow especially now that I'm playing one of his favorite songs, “Mighty to Save”. Last week I dreamt about him as if we're just enjoying an ordinary day. I feel down whenever I long for him but I thank the Lord for making me remember that this is just temporary... sooner and later I'll meet my father again and so is my Father in Heaven.

It’s really true that we should give all our love to all people close to us and make them feel special most of the time. Never leave your home without saying “I Love You” to your parents and siblings and be as good as you can be as a child to them. Each of us grows up and all our loud moments (e.g. fighting) with them will be lessen and they will let us decide on our own. So appreciate their love and compassion for us all the time - for the Lord made no mistakes on choosing our families. And if ever you’re from a family who does not treat you good, please remember that Jesus loves you; He was crucified and died for you as well. He is with you.

Video: Mighty to Save/With Everything/God Reigns by Hillsong United--Mashup cover by WorshipMob

Everything in this earth will pass away: we came from dust and so our bodies will go back to dust eventually. But Praise the Lord for He has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all (Psalm 103:19). And there He will wipe every tear from our eyes… no more death' or mourning or crying or pain – this is His promise (Revelation 21:4).

right click the image and open the link in new tab/window for larger view and free download

Testing of Faith

A TEST could be:
  • a series of questions, problems, or practical tasks to gauge somebody's knowledge, ability, or experience
  • a basis for evaluating or judging something or somebody
  • a trial run-through of a process or on equipment to find out if it works
  • an often difficult situation or event that will provide information about somebody or something
*all definitions from Encarta Dictionary

Today I share to you an encouraging message by Max Lucado from his latest book "You’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times".

Each day has a pop quiz!  And some seasons are like final exams. Brutal, sudden pitfalls of stress, sickness, or sadness. What’s the purpose of the test?  
James 1:3-4 says, “For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything.”

right click the image and open the link in new tab/window for larger view and free download. 

Test, test, test! This chapter in your life may look like rehab, smell like unemployment, sound like a hospital, but you're in training. God hasn't forgotten you, just the opposite. He has chosen to train you.

Forget the notion that God doesn't see your struggle. Quite the contrary. God is fully engaged. He is the Potter, we are the clay.  He’s the Shepherd, we’re the sheep.  He’s the Teacher, we’re the students. Trust His training. You’ll get through this!

So continue to keep the faith and press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Receive LOVE. Give LOVE. Repeat.

We really can't give what we don’t have.

I recommend today's devotion: It’s All About The Love from Our Daily Bread which will remind us that since we receive an eternal love from our mighty God though we're undeserving, we can now use our transformed lives to change the world by sharing this love to everyone. Also, by forgiving those who hurt us and choosing to pray for them - may the Lord bless them as well.

A good plan for our lives today: Receive love. Give love. Repeat.

right click the image and open the link in new tab/window for larger view and free download. 

And try to listen to Britt Nicole’s upbeat song "Ready or Not" with Lecrae, they mentioned here that "love is more than a word, it’s a noun and a verb; and hidin’ it is obsurd (n. inconspicuous or unnoticed senselessness)" thus we should practice it more often. Besides, love keeps no record of wrongs.

God bless 

When war is everywhere... there's everlasting HOPE in Christ

Synonyms: battle, combat, conflict, fighting, hostilities

News about war is everywhere. There’s one in Syria after the chemical attack – really tragic, so many victims especially the poor children; another is Israel which is already for war – not just an assault to Syria but to other neighboring countries as well; and of course, here’s one from my own country in Zamboanga, Mindanao… the endless battle between the military and the rebels. All are really heartbreaking and tormenting. My heart aches more when I see crying helpless victims, injured soldiers and ruined homes.

Military troops in Zamboanga.  (images via GMAnetwork.com

I cannot do anything to help them physically but I believe that prayer works and Jesus Christ listens to it and He is always at work. And my God is also close to the brokenhearted and gives comfort to them.

right click the image and open the link in new tab/window for larger view and free download. 
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3

I hope everyone will take time to lend a little time to pray for our fellowmen. Let there be peace on earth and may love surpass all anger, hatred and selfish ambitions. Let us not be complacent and just ignore these kinds of news though these are really tiresome to hear over and over again.

I'm also praying for all the Christian missionaries who are experiencing hardships and persecutions at the moment especially those who were attacked by the rebel forces led by al Qaeda-linked jihadists who also captured their historic Christian village near Damascus just last Saturday. May the faithful servants of the Sovereign Lord overcome fear and have an everlasting hope in Him.

Syrian war death toll pegged at over 100,000 (Photo via CBCNews)

Our Dear PNoy: Love, PCEC

Just this Saturday night, Bishop Efraim M. Tendero of PCEC (Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches) had delivered the stand of the Christian community and its churches at the Evangelicals Today program via 702 DZAS (Christian radio station) and called our President Aquino to listen to his people and continue to lead this country to “tuwid na daan”. I’d say that I absolutely agree with every point.

His Excellency and Bishop Tendero during the PCEC’s 29th Biennial National Assembly. Original photo via Balita PH

Here’s the copy PCEC’s Open Letter to the President of the Republic of the Philippines:

Pork and Justice

tubig ilog, andyan na samin!!!

Noong isang linggo lamang ay todo-panic ang mga tao dito sa Marikina at iba pang lungsod sa NCR pati na rin ibang mga probinsya sa Luzon dahil sa matinding pag-ulan dala habagat at bagyong Maring.

Salamat sa Diyos at hindi kami pinasok ng baha sa aming tahanan. Kung tutuusin, yung ganong kataas ng water level ng Marikina river ay dapat may tubig na kami sa loob, pero ayun, nasa labas lang. Mabuti at mas maganda na rin ang drainage system ng aming lungsod at talagang masasabi kong mas handa at orginasado na ang Marikina LGU pati na sa iba pang bayan.

Pero bakit hinahayaan nga ba ng Diyos na maghirap ang ating bansa dahil sa kalamidad?

Upang gisingin at turuan tayong mga tao na magkaroon ng pagmamahal at pagpapahalaga sa ating kapaligiran at likas na yaman!

Sobrang obvious naman, hindi ba? na kung anong tinapon mo ay babalik sa’yo!

Upang maihayag din ang mga kabulukan sa sistema ng isang bayan at ng kanyang gobyerno!

Sobrang obvious naman, hindi ba? Ang resulta ng quarrying at pagputol ng mga puno!

Upang mapaalalahan din tayo na mayroong “higher power” na may kontrol ng panahon at takbo ng buhay.

Sobrang obvious naman, hindi ba? Lahat ay lumilipas lamang. Kahit gaano kadami ang iyong pag-aari dito sa mundo, kung gusto kunin sa iyo ng Diyos iyon sa pamamagitan ng kulog at kidlat na may kasamang lindol at buhawi ay makakaya Niya! Kung ito lang ba ang paraan para tawagin mo Siya at humingi ng kapatawaran sa pagiging makasarili natin bilang tao.

The Lord said, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land".   [ 2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV ]

Katulad ng “Million People March” na ginanap nitong Lunes, August 26, 2013, Araw ng mga Bayani… may nagtatanong kung matagumpay ba ito o hindi dahil kinapos sa isang milyong tao ang dumalo sa Luneta at Mendiola para maipabatid sa pamahalaan ang pag-ayaw ng taumbayan sa kabahuan ng anomalya sa pork barrel! 

Maganda ang tugon ni Pastor Ronald Molmisa sa kanyang Facebook status...

Sabi ko naman sa aking FB status:

"lahat tayo nanakawan, yan ang totoo!"
maaaring yung iba nakinabang naman - pero nanakawan din sila... 
nanakawan sila ng kunsensya at kaluluwa, tsk!

Hindi ako nakadalo sa kilos protestang ito dahil may gawain din kami sa aming simbahan kanina at salamat sa Diyos na nagamit din ang aming simbahan upang mamigay ng relief sa mga nabahang kababayan sa San Mateo, Rizal. Ngunit saludo talaga ako sa mga disiplinadong nagtungo sa Luneta at sa mapayapang naging kaparaanan nila. Pwede naman palang ganito. Nalulungkot lang ako sa protest version naman sa Mendiola - sorry, pero hindi ako sang-ayon sa nangyaring vandalism, haay.

'Million People March' in Luneta, original photo via Yahoo PH News

Sabi nga’y simula pa lamang ang araw na ito sa malakihang pagmulat ng mga tao at kagutuman sa paghahanap ng hustisya.

Our LORD is a God of justice! Sana’y huwag din tayong tumigil manalangin para sa ating bansang Pilipinas at pati na ang mga nakaluklok sa gobyerno dahil walang imposible sa ating Diyos! 

Naalala ko tuloy ang linya sa isang awitin ng Hillsong United na Nova, sabi dito ay "let all injustice shut its mouth"

Marami ngayon ang naghahanap ng agarang aksyon at kaparusahan mula sa ating Diyos... Oo, masakit talaga ang garapalang pagnanakaw sa kaban ng bayan! Pero alalahanin din nating may tamang panahon ang lahat at may sarili rin Siyang kaparaanan na hindi natin basta mauunawaan pero sigurado tayong lahat ay nakikita Niya at wala Siyang basta lang pinapalampas!

right click the image and open the link in new tab/window for larger view and free download ^-^ 
Isaiah 61:8 “For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. 
In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them.

Beauty in God's Eyes

Yes, this is true… A good thought to keep! 

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
right click the image and open the link in new tab/window for larger view and free download ^-^ 

We're blessed to know that we can ask God to search our heart and soul so He could convict us of sin and acts that can hurt our loved ones as well.

And here’s something from Hillsong United: their live performance of "Search My Heart" at Miami last year.


Learning and Relearning

I've been meditating the words in the Book of Jeremiah and rereading the Purpose Driven Life by Pastor Rick Warren for a while now.

This is my first time to study the writings of the weeping prophet. Then for the PDL, I am enjoying a great re-learning experience. It was in 2004, when my sister gave the devotional book to me.

God’s Mercy Is New Every Morning

It’s truly amazing how God could be angry and loving at the same time. He got really mad to His people for not following His decrees specially for worshipping the Baals (idols) even He brought them out of Egypt and did excellent things to take care of them.

But because of His mercy – He gave a series of warning first through Jeremiah before punishing the ruthless nation. In chapter 5, Yahweh also stretched out His patience by saying "If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth; I will forgive this city" and during the times even Jeremiah could not take the people’s evil ways anymore, He declared "Yet even in those days… I will not destroy you (Jerusalem) completely".

The Lord loves us so much that He is also hurt when He punishes us and letting us suffer the consequences of our awful decisions. And it’s really heartbreaking to think how undeserving He is for all the pains we caused and still causing. Of course, we are just humans... our flesh is really weak and so we commit sin but He’s strong and it's said in the Bible that "blessed are all who take refuge in Him". He does not change and so He is always ready to forgive. He is, in fact, the same yesterday and today and forever!

Wisdom from Purpose Driven Life

Without God – life makes no sense.
I was made by Him and for Him and so my calling is according to His purpose. It’s His will that I exist because of love. I did not create myself, so there is no way I can tell myself what I was created for. I am not an accident. He never does anything accidentally, and He never makes mistakes. He had a reason for everything He creates. And this life is preparation for the next – the eternity.

C. S. Lewis captured the concept of eternity on the last page of the Chronicles of Narnia, his seven-book children's fiction series: "For us this is the end of all the stories.... But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world ... had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story, which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever and in which every chapter is better than the one before."

God’s Love Endures Forever

I get sad when I read or hear people insulting my Lord Jesus Christ. They even make jokes about Him and scream dreadful words all over him. They are actually no different from the people in the New Testament who hurt Him physically and denied Him when He was to crucify on the tree. He did not deserve that and He does not deserve the present mockery. But the Lord forgives – He’s full of compassion. I believe that Jesus is praying hard for us to have a change of heart: be humble, to pray and seek His face so He’ll forgive our sins and heal our land as we turn our back from evil (2 Chronicles 7:14).

I thank God for He made me realize how selfish and stubborn I am for His love but because it’s His choice to accept me and by His grace – I am saved.

He fully knows that I am imperfect and undeserving but still He promised in Jeremiah 29:11 that He has great plans for me, to prosper and not to harm me, to give me hope and a future. And He gives me assurance everyday that He’s with me and reminds me to not be afraid though people who hate Him will fight against me but they will not overcome because He will also rescue me (1:19).

My Prayer

I pray that many will seek God’s kingdom and righteousness first (Matthew 6:33) and surrender everything to Him for Jesus is alive and He will surely come back. And because of His love for you and me, He wants to give an equal chance to know and follow Him. His Word tells it all. His promises are to keep.

Random Roundup: Joy and Wisdom

I've been struggling with procrastination and insomnia for some time now. There are a lot of thoughts inside my head but I could not express it through actions. There were moments when I feel down and then peaceful up to totally blank. My brand new mistake was to aggravate the gloominess by watching a teledrama with a very heartbreaking ending, ugh, it’s Absolute Boyfriend’s fault actually hehe =P But since I have a God who’s always watching over me – He’s able to twist things and bring my joy back.

Here are some images I just repinned from A. Morales’ Wise Quotes board – these actually help me to feel better tonight and rethink many things.

Anyway, so Pinterest applied its new look recently and so was Facebook. As these social media pages are reinventing their looks then we humans should also find time and ways to improve ourselves as well. I believe we can always ask the Lord to help us since He’s our great Creator and Master.

Psalm 51:6-8 (NIV)

6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
    you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7 Cleanse me with hyssop (holy herb), and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones you have crushed rejoice.

It's Father's Day and I'm Not Alone

Search my heart, search my soul… 

There’s nothing else 
               that I want more.              

Father’s day – a special day of bragging about our father’s strengths on the internet and almost everywhere but very shy to tell those things direct to our heroes. This is also the time when I find myself a kind of different from the others, especially on the internet world, just the second time: greetings, honoring posts and photos with their beloved fathers flooding all over the news feed on Facebook and e-mail. At some point, yes, I am bitter. I was happy to see their lovely photos and posts but I also got sad because I don’t have my father to celebrate with anymore. 

But thanks to God that this occasion comes on a Sunday and so after I attended our Worship Service at church, I felt God’s comfort, love and peace again. He reminded me that I’m not alone nor unlucky – in fact I am blessed to know that my Heavenly Father is a father to the fatherless and defender of widows (Psalm 68:5). He is more than enough for me and you. 

Let’s also keep in mind that God gave the fathers that we had and are having on earth. He is the source of their strength and all resources needed to provide their families. I feel better now. I know He loves me. And my own father, Doming, is also doing great in our great God’s paradise. 

Hillsong United's Search My Heart (Radio Version) MV via Youtube

I hope this post will make you feel better and loved as well.
God bless! 

Random Roundup: Christmas Lights Display Ideas

I've been searching for nice rooms decorated with Christmas lights for few hours now and I was thinking if it’s safe to have it in my room but as I googled the keywords and saw the results, hmm.. maybe it’s okay but it will cost us much on electricity usage, so never mind for the mean time hahahaha and I need to clean and reorganize my room big time!

Anyway, here are some beautiful lighted rooms. 

photos via apartment therapy, tumblr, pinterest

I really like those magical sparkly effects and also I remember Sam’s room in The Perks of Being a Wallflower film.

Dear Sleep

I believe – this is my worst insomnia ever! My brain cells are also dying because of this, I know. I am really having a hard time sleeping every night and I am feeling so wide awake for looooong hours, not until around 4AM! It’s like my mind would decide to have a break once the rooster crows from the neighborhood. What to do?!

BG sunset sky photo by yours truly.

In English: Dear [long] sleep, where are you?

In my love letter to "sleep" - I must include, 

"I miss you so much, let’s get back together.
Love, M


Flashy and Fiery May sky

Oh no! Sorry for my laziness, I failed to post anything for a month! =( But I still have the oomph to take photos of the sunset sky and my dogs.

Just few days ago, curiosity made me take the chance to observe the angry evening sky. There were some flashy thunderstorms to shoot; so I grabbed my camera and take some photos… at first I had a hard time to figure out what camera setting I should use until I adjusted the ISO setting to the highest number, retain my shutter speed at 60 along with the widest opening, then tadaaaaa!!!

I was so joyful after I captured this, though there’s a fear in me that the lightning might strike me! Hahaha! And this was also the first time I took a photo of thunderstorms.

And just a couple of days before that night, I also took some photos of the burning sunset sky. I love the amazing hues, really beautiful! 
Notice that there's an actual smoke - I think there's also a real fire somewhere (I just hope I was wrong). 

Check out my DeviantArt page: powerbuffy, I upload photos there once in a while ^_^