How God Led Us Home

home sweet home

Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

I have always loved this verse but I wasn’t sure if I would believe this when we started house-hunting earlier in 2013. We only wanted to move to his parents’ condo ever since but it was still being rented out. Buying a house wasn’t part of our goals anytime soon but an opportunity was given to us. And so we started looking for a condo or a house. We only had few things to consider:

(1) Type of House: townhouse with a 1-car garage or a condo unit
(2) Location: Mandaluyong Shaw area, Kapitolyo, or Pasig (no to Mandaluyong and Pasig proper though)
(3) Size: We didn’t really care. We were okay to live in a 70sqm condo forever.

Who knew that searching for a house could be stressful? It’s exciting but the endless viewings, meetings, and errands could be exhausting. Since I am the ‘Admin Manager’ of our household, I was given the responsibility to look for ‘The One’. I just needed to view the place first, take photos, show to my husband, and if he likes it, negotiate the price.

It was easy to ‘look’ online. Sulit.com.ph (now OLX) became my best friend. Most of the units we viewed were listed on the website. Here’s a rundown of the places we’ve checked out:

  1.  Shaw Residenza. 75sqm condo loft, 2BR, no parking
  2.  Paragon Plaza, 90sqm 3BR with parking
  3.  8 Wack-wack. 108sqm, 2BR, with parking
  4. Araullo Place. 4-storey townhouse, with garage, gated community in Araullo St., Mandaluyong
  5. Princeville Condominium. 94sqm, 3BR, with parking
  6. DMCI Flair Towers. 2BR, 58sqm
  7. Kaimitoville Townhouse. 2-storey, 222sqm, 3BR in Valle Verde
  8. _______________. 114sqm, 2BR, with parking (It’s ‘The One’ so I won’t be publishing it.)

Josh and I were okay with (1) even if it was small. We were ready to live in a shoebox. As for (3), we were close to getting it because of the size, location, and the price. The Korean owner was leaving the country so he wanted to sell it–rush.

I started going to the banks (BDO, BPI, PSBank, and Security Bank) to inquire about their home loan plans. Honestly, all my inquires were discouraging, made me think we weren’t ready. I felt like Oprah going inside an Hermes store. Haha! So much for that. On the other hand, brokers were ever encouraging just so they could make a sale obviously.

We fell in love with Araullo Place (Araullo St., Mandaluyong City) because it’s a brand-new townhouse. It’s spacious. Noah even called dibs on the blue model room already. We started to imagine living there. Sadly, we had to forget about it because the street isn’t flood free. We passed by it one stormy night on our way home and lo and behold, waterworld!

Princeville Condo was spacious and cheap but not enough ventilation. Paragon Plaza was also spacious but it’s along EDSA so no to pollution. DMCI’s Flair Towers was nice but too small for its high price tag.

THE LAST TWO 

We were down to two. It was the last two on our list. Joshua and I decided to stop with our search after these two and continue next year. It was exhausting already and Christmas season was about to begin anyway and we’d be busy.

In my heart, something’s telling me this could be the last. I wasn’t sure. We weren’t in a hurry and we weren’t expecting much. We just prayed to God that He would provide for us a place. We were still fine with renting for another year. We have grown to love our rented townhouse in Mandaluyong, my hometown.

We went to ‘The One’ condo first. It was the first unit I’ve viewed that got me saying, “I love it! I love it! I love it!” My husband fell in love with it too. It was love at first sight for us! Why, the interiors were so nice, it was spacious, with very good ventilation, and it was a mid-rise condo too. “Perfect!”, we thought. It was the first and only place both Joshua and I liked on our first viewing. The price was within the budget too but we were hoping for a lower price. It was the nearest to our church, my in-laws, and Noah’s school.

On the same day, we went to the biggest house we’d be viewing. It was in Valle Verde 2 (Pasig), still within the area we want. We were a bit disappointed with the community and maintenance but we saw the potential. It was huge so my husband thought we could divide it and have the other unit be rented out. But it was bare and needed a lot of fixing. It was old but spacious. Josh even have old friends living within the village so it was cool. Thing is, the unit is far from the main gate. We have no car so that would be a problem. We thought we could then buy a small, 2nd hand car.

After viewing the last two on our list, we went to my in-laws for some reason. I had to write this down because when we got there, my husband’s mom said she was just praying that God would lead us to that house. I jokingly said “It’s a sign” as we just viewed two. She then agreed to check out the properties again the next Saturday.

And so we did.

We went to the Valle Verde townhouse first but in what seemed like a weird twist of fate (or maybe it was really God-ordained), the broker was late and the caretaker didn’t have the keys to the house. We weren’t able to view the house.

Off we went to ‘The One’, the owners were there, we fell in love with the place again, and negotiated the lowest possible price. Sadly, the guy won’t give us a lower rate and said it was final.

 

WAITING ON GOD

We still wanted the condo. “We’ll think about it”, we said. It was No. 1 on our list now but the price was a major consideration.

And so we prayed. We waited.

My mom-in-law asked her broker-friend if she had a house we could view. She immediately replied “I know a unit sa “The One”, <insert price>.

“We checked out a unit already for this price, baka it’s the same.”, my MIL replied.

The broker said it was a different unit. The next week, we viewed the condo again only to find out it was the same unit we wanted! Listed at a much lower price and still negotiable. Wow!!!

We didn’t dare go to the unit because we didn’t want the owners to think we were using another broker. We weren’t. Josh’s mom just asked another broker and led us to this. How crazy is that?!

We still haven’t made a decision yet. We wanted the place but there were many things to consider. Was it the right time? Will we have enough for the future? So many questions were being asked. I knew God was dealing with the family.

Between me and Josh, we weren’t expecting to get the house before year-end. We were praying that God would prepare our hearts for whatever will happen.

It wasn’t easy for us. We wanted the house badly. We knew we wanted to live there. But we did not expect anything. We lifted the decisions will be made by God.

Honestly, we weren’t expecting to move in soon but somehow, I felt God prompting me to pack our stuff months before. I started decluttering and packing our things in boxes months before we viewed ‘The One’.

I was making the first steps before we made the leap—into the unknown. I had no idea that God would give it very soon.

I’ve shared this story many times already but “mabilis talaga ang mga pangyayari”. Sale was finalized first week of October and by week 1 of November, we’ve moved to our new place.

I remember that day when we finally found out sale was finalized, a pastor friend told me (prophetically I guess), “Hayaan mo ate sa condo nyo magsi-swimming tayo lagi.” True enough, we learned the good news the same day. (Prophetic, eh?)

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 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.
(Ephesians 3:20)
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That momentous day of October 4, God spoke to me and my husband in each of our devotions. [Read Our Daily Bread’s Immeasurably More]. I was crying after I learned the great news that we could move in the next month. Agad-agad talaga! Thankful to God for this wonderful blessing! Truly unexpected. True Grace.

Lord, thank You for doing immeasurably more in
our lives than we could ever imagine.
I am so thankful that You are able and often
do make impossible situations possible.
Julie Ackerman Link

More than the idea of our own space, I loved the fact that God was teaching me and my husband a lot of things as we waited. Our faith was being tested.

We simply let go of our expectations and looked to God. We stripped ourselves off the desire to have a bigger house and be content with what’s on the table. It was a major decision for the family that made us trust in God more. Like I said before, God has already provided — a place for us and ways for us to abide in Him more. We have a decade to pay for it. I know God will provide. Grace upon grace.

I still have so many stories of God’s favor to share even after we finally moved here. I realized most of my “must-haves” in a house were given to us, unknowingly. Truly, God is great!

 

god is greatIMG

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are!
1 JOHN 3:1

 

Lipat Bahay Gang: Tips on Moving

lipat bahay gang
Bittersweet. Hired RA Francisco Transport Service.

I am still stressed with our big move. I started packing a couple of months ago but it’s only last week that we moved all our stuff. Well, almost as we still have a few things in the townhouse.

This is our 6th change of residence ever since we got married. Six in five years? Not bad.

  • From my childhood residence in Mandaluyong, Josh and I settled in a one bedroom apartment just a few blocks away.
  • After a year, we moved to his lola’s old room in Bel-Air, Makati.
  • A few weeks before I gave birth, we moved to the studio outside.
  • Just before Noah learned to walk, we moved to a bigger studio unit beside it.
  • And after our son turned a year old, we moved to a 2-storey townhouse in Mandaluyong.
  • And now, WE’RE HOME. In. Pasig. Anak ng Pasig talaga kami.

Mandaluyong-Makati-Mandaluyong-Pasig. Hindi na kami lumayo pa.

We’re on our 4th home since the other two moves were inside the same house, just different rooms but still stressful. I admit it’s my fault because I’m not organized. I think this is the only move that I’ve planned being months in the making. Still, it took us weeks to haul our things. I tried to “declutter” but we still ended up with lots of stuff. Believe it or not, Noah’s toys alone were one full van load! That is not an exaggeration as I now have five boxes of old toys ready to donate to Yolanda victims. I just don’t know where to send them as there are too many choices.

I am hoping, praying to God, that this will be the last since it’s our own home. If we have to move again, it’d have to be to another country. Haha! (And that would be more difficult.) I’m no longer dreaming to move to a bigger house with rooms for each of our kids, a 2-car garage, and more. House-hunting had taught me simplicity and humility– to be content of simpler things in life.

If you’re planning to change residence anytime soon, here are a few suggestions to ensure an organized move. I can’t say I followed all of them but most have been pretty helpful.

lipat bahay gang 2

1. Buy lots of boxes. Self-explanatory but please do buy a lot. You can buy balikbayan boxes in National Bookstore but each costs below P99. I bought four initially but then I realized they’re too pricey. So off I went to Puregold to buy recently used boxes. I bought 15 boxes in small and medium sizes. Small boxes are easier to transport. I should have bought more.

tips on moving 1

2. Declutter. Declutter, sort, spring cleaning, and declutter again. Throw stuff you don’t need. Donate old but usable clothes and shoes to relatives and friends. My cleaning lady is so happy these days because she gets to take home the stuff I don’t want and sell them to her neighbors.

tips on moving 3

3. Use luggage/suitcases to haul your clothes. We have too many clothes and took me so many trips just to bring them. I know it would be easier if I use boxes but I didn’t have time to fold the clothes. I borrowed two more luggage from my brother and brought clothes every time we’d visit our new place. While packing, sort your clothes, of course.

4. Wrap breakables in used paper or kitchen towels. I used kitchen towels to wrap the plates and glasses. No need to buy bubble wrap (as they can be a waste of money). Label the box “FRAGILE” so the movers would be more careful. If possible, bring these items yourself before making the big move.

lipat bahay gang 1

5. Clean the bathrooms and kitchen beforehand. You’d be using these many times while moving your stuff.

IMG_3097

6. Pack books in smaller boxes. They’re easier to carry. You may also tie them in stacks using straw rope. You may buy a coil of straw rope from any hardware.

tips on moving 2

7. Pack everything. I didn’t follow this advice though. Even if I bought a lot of boxes, I was too excited to move to our new house that I would go to the place almost everyday and bring small stuff. We would bring a few boxes, unpack, and then take the empty boxes again with us. My husband told me to pack everything and bring all of them in one final haul. Like I said, I was too excited so we made a few trips two weeks before the big move last Tuesday.

Moving to a new home can be stressful but it can also be exciting! Noah and I have been staying here for more than a week now. Husband still works at our old townhouse because PLDT has not installed DSL yet. Today is Friday, his last day at the apartment. We’ll make the final hakot tomorrow and bring home the dog with us. 🙂

sleepy noah
I would bring him with me every time. Obviously, pati sya pagod.
tips on moving 5
This is it! Thank you Lord!

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
Psalm 4:8 

 

What’s keeping me busy….

…is a new house!

Well, it’s actually a condo unit somewhere in Pasig but it’s ours! I cannot contain my excitement as after almost five years of renting (wasting money on rent), we have our own.

I can declare that 2013 is truly the “Year of the Lord’s Favor”. The year started good but it’s ending oh so great! It has been a journey of faith that I’d like to share but I’m saving that story for another post.

I’ve been busy with all the packing and spring cleaning the past month and since we’ve made the big move last week–unpacking, spring cleaning again, and decorating. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen my #springcleaning posts already, plus a sneak peek of our new place.

It’s not a mansion but it’s very spacious for the three of us. Even if we add another baby, it will be just right too. I have a big kitchen (hooray!), a laundry room, a spare room for all our “junk”, and more! I knew we would have our own place but not this soon.

House-hunting definitely taught me a lot of things and made me realize the things more important in life. It was truly a humbling experience. It wasn’t easy but I knew that it was God guiding us all along.

This house is a testimony of God’s AMAZING GRACE. In the meantime, allow me to share these photos.

the red door
The Red Door. I’ve always wanted a red door in our future house. While checking out the place for the first time, I didn’t notice the door was painted in red so I when I finally realized it, I said, “It’s a sign!”. True enough, the house was meant for us.
swimmming pool
We’ve got a pool! Haven’t tried dipping into the pool, maybe next week.

Continue reading What’s keeping me busy….

Unboxing the May 2013 BDJ Box

The May BDJ Box finally arrived last Sunday, Mother’s Day.

I really felt weird taking photos of beauty products as I am used to unboxing gadgets. I cannot say I was as excited because I could sense my husband looking at me while I was doing it. Haha! It’s not enough that I’m shopping online and now this, I’m taking unboxing photos. 😀

May 2013 BDJ Box Unboxing Photos_1
FUN, FRESH, and FIERCE
May 2013 BDJ Box Unboxing Photos_3
Box is smaller than I imagined. I think an iPad Mini could fit inside.
May 2013 BDJ Box Unboxing Photos_2
Found my name, mobile no, and address at the bottom of the box
May 2013 BDJ Box Unboxing Photos_6
Hello!

 

May 2013 BDJ Box Unboxing Photos_7
The May BDJ Box costs P480 but contents actually cost more. The Maybelline mascara along costs around P300
May 2013 BDJ Box Unboxing Photos_8
Garnier and Maybelline products plus Ralph Lauren perfume samplers
May 2013 BDJ Box Unboxing Photos_9
I’m excited to use the Garnier products because I’ve been experiencing some kind of problems on my face–BREAKOUT to the highest level. The worst ever. Hopefully, Garnier will work. We’ll see…

BDJ BOX on Facebook
BDJ Box Website

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Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 

 

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Shopping at Mega Bangna Bangkok Thailand

It’s been more than a month since I last posted here. Life happened. Yet again. Haha. Christmas Rush has extended until this month. It’s February and I still feel stressed. Stressed but in a very good way.

I don’t know where and how to start there are just too many things to share. I shall start posting photos here from the albums saved on my desktop. I am in the process of backing up and decluttering my files (and our stuff too) so here goes… 😀

Mega Bangna

It’s Thailand’s SM MOA. It’s the biggest mall in Bangkok today. I was there during the week it first opened back in May 2012. Last November, I finally got to bring my husband and son together with my mom. First stop was IKEA for lunch and some shopping. I bought a lot of stuff at IKEA for home and other people but nothing for me.

I visited another Cath Kidston store and I was overwhelmed with the items but mostly with the price. Hehe. I didn’t buy anything because by the time I got to the store, I was already feeling guilty spending about 4,000 Baht (around P6,000) in IKEA alone. I had to stop myself from grabbing something and bringing out my credit card. Husband was with me so I was too careful. Haha!

Enough of the kwento, photos na lang. 😀

Continue reading Shopping at Mega Bangna Bangkok Thailand

DIY Candy Party Favor

I may not be the Queen of DIYs in the Philippines but I always surprise my friends and churchmates with the party favors I make. After all the LEGO party decors and favors for my son’s birthday last month, I made these candy favors for our church youth’s Back-to-School event.

I’ve been part of our Youth Group since I was 11 years old. I’m no longer active but I serve as their Ate, Mother, guardian, and sometimes sponsor. I always look for ways how to help them. A couple of weeks ago, I surprised the group with these:

Personalized Candy Party Souvenir

I already used this idea for the lego party. This time though, I bought pink candies. The candies are similar to Tic Tac but I forgot the brand. Each small container costs only P7.50 at SM Hypermart. I bought 30. I scaled down the event’s poster to fit one side and printed a few copies on a white sticker.

DIY Candy Party Favor

Looks like I’ll be making these party favors more often as they’re cheap and very easy to do. 🙂

I’m currently searching the Internet for bridal party decor and favor ideas for my soon-to-be sis-in-law. I haven’t finalized the details yet but I’ thinking of hosting a spa party. We’ll see. 🙂

[LINK LOVE] The Spend-Less Holidays Blog Carnival 2012

Spend-Less Holiday Blog Carnival 2012

Sharing is caring. I’m not part of this Blog Carnival of the Work-At-Home-Moms group I’m a member of because I failed to write one and missed the deadline but I want to share the numerous great tips provided by the other mommies.

I shared with you my 12 Shopping Tips For a Merrier Christmas already and that DIY Christmas Decors. Here are more helpful tips for you to have a meaningful Christmas without having to spend a lot. Enjoy!

 Merry Blog-hopping this Christmas!

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21