A Message to Inspire

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited by an old schoolmate, now the Guidance Counselor of St. Mary’s Academy of Sta. Ana, Manila, to give the inspirational message to the graduating high school students. It was a surprise since it was only three days before the Friday graduation. I was scheduled to speak next 2015 but something came up and this year’s speaker couldn’t make it.

But like any true ‘Marian’ graduate, I agreed. This year’s theme was “Demonstrating the Filipino’s Resiliency and Selfless Service”. With only two days to prepare, I was anxious at first but I believe everything happens for a purpose. I’ve always imagined being able to speak before my Alma Mater but I thought the invitation four years ago at a Career Talk was it.

I was happy about the invitation and I felt God wanted me to send a message and inspire the youth. Fifteen years have passed and a lot of things have happened to me. Preparing for my speech turned out to be a good way for me to reflect on my successes, my failures, and how God worked in my life. My hours of preparation turned out to be yet another ‘worship time’.

I prayed really hard as I prepared for this that God may be glorified and that His light will shine through me.

I received praise for the speech. The Directress and my old teachers commended me as well but the best I heard were from my husband when he said “I’m so proud of you” as I came down from the stage.

Allow me to share the speech I prepared. It’s a bit long, took me 17 minutes to deliver it, so I deleted a few sentences and paragraphs. Edited for reading. Hopefully you won’t get bored. May you be blessed.

No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began.
(1 Corinthians 2:7, NLT)

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I graduated high school, stood on this same stage, delivered my Valedictory speech 15 years ago. I could still vividly remember that day, March 25, 1999, when I shared a short speech, choked on the part when I had to thank my parents who have always been there since the day I was born — I said those words exactly.

Students of St. Mary’s Academy of Sta. Ana class of 2014, 15 years ago I sat there with tears in my eyes, thinking “this is it”. It’s over. Another chapter is about to start a couple of months from now. Right then, I was scared. Will I become that CPA Accountant I want to be? Will I become successful? How am I going to survive college? Will I survive UP? I had so many questions. Looking back, most of them, have been answered. I did survive college. I didn’t become the CPA Accountant and newscaster like I planned but I am living the life God has planned for me.

I wonder what your valedictorian right now is thinking. I guess she’s thinking “Will I still be on Top of the class when I get to college?” I can’t answer your questions right now but I want to tell you…..

You’re No. 1 right now but you will not always be.

I’m not saying this to discourage you, but I want you and the rest of your class to know that your present, which will be your past a few months from now, doesn’t dictate your future. Your success in the future will depend on hard work, grace, and a lot of faith.

You’re no. 1 but that’s not just it. You can still be the no. 1 among all the top students when you get to college or when you finally enter the corporate world.

But when you get to college, you’ll have to start from scratch. You will start from the beginning again so be humble. Practice true humility. That is, thinking of yourself not above others, so you can be ready to serve your family, your church, your community— be selfless.  Continue reading A Message to Inspire

Holidaze

I don’t remember ever posting about what happened to me over a Christmas holiday break but there’s always a first time. I know I have a tendency to write a long post but I’m trying to preserve memories here.

It was a quick 2-week break for all of three of us. No work and no school. I wasn’t in the mood for all the Christmas hoopla because I was still stressed with our moving. It was only when I finally brought out the decors and shopped for Christmas gifts that I felt it’s really Christmas. Shopping certainly has its benefits, eh? LOL.

I brought out the old Christmas decors only on the 16th of December. No, I wasn’t following the Simbang Gabi sked but it was only then that I had the energy to tackle last year’s mess. It took  me one night to put some Christmas touch in our new home. Not much. We still have no big Christmas tree. Just this old tree previously owned by my husband’s lola. We’ve had it since Noah was a year old. I’m sentimental like that. It’s more special this year because Noah decorated the tree himself.  It still sits on top of the bar counter.

Maybe this year, I’ll buy a taller tree. It needs major planning because I’ll have to buy new decors and accessories.

December started with the three of us attending a birthday party. The party set me in the mood alright because I had to shop for gifts. Browsing through the stores certainly got me excited–thanks to the Christmas decors and songs being played.

Noah’s only photo with birthday girl Adi
Went to a Nautical party
Date with my best friend Antonette at Mesa, Power Plant Mall

Continue reading Holidaze

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….

Dads, Guard Your Princesses


My dad never told me “don’t have sex, don’t get pregnant, or don’t have a boyfriend”. He didn’t tell me, “Don’t do anything that would dishonor our family.”

He simply told me, “Don’t do anything that would dishonor God.” And that statement stuck in my head. Kept it close in my heart. Same thing I would tell my son and future daughter.

Here’s a must-read article for men, fathers of daughters.

And here are my favorite lines:

  • Here’s the deal, men. We are morally, financially, spiritually and legally responsible for our girls. When they turn 18, the government says they can vote, die for our country and even pay their own consequences for bad decisions as an adult. But guess what? Even when they turn 18, we are still morally, spiritually and (usually) financially responsible for them.
  • We must do our job as dads to ensure the greatest odds of success for our girls. By “doing our job,” I am not talking about providing for them. That’s just part of the deal when you have a kid. Providing would be the minimum acceptable standard of being their father.
  • Model love, respect and service toward your wife. Remember, more is caught than taught. She is going to look for someone just like you, like it or not.

 

God, I miss my dad. Sniff.

HELP! I’m a Maxed-out Mom!

Bought this book for only P75 from National Bookstore. Good buy! Good read!

Nope. I am not. Not yet. But I knew picking up Linda Weber’s book “HELP! I’M A MAXED-OUT MOM” will definitely help me gain a new perspective in my special role as a mother. I’ve got too many mommy anxieties especially now that my son is going to preschool. Allow me to share with you the nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned from the book.

Like any career, it’s important that one’s skills be updated and knowledge to expand. I can never emphasize how important it is to read, read, and read but I’m sure you know why.

I’m making it a mission to share with young and new moms out there what I’ve learned about motherhood and marriage so far. Talking and writing about the latter is a bit challenging because there are two of us, me and my husband, in that journey. As for this mommy-hood thing, I find it easier to share the things I’ve learned, heard, or read.

I take notes when I read. Doing so makes me remember the ideas and wisdom easily. Me sharing these stuff here doesn’t mean I am a supermom. I am far from being one. I can’t say I apply each tip as I am still new in this motherhood. Some mothers may not understand how family life can be that stressful but believe me, time will come when you will struggle with discouragement whether you are a non-working stay-at-home mom, a work-at-home-mom, or a full-time working mother. Sometimes, you will doubt your role but remember that there is a way to make things better. Allow the Lord to sustain you because He will and He can.

All mothers wear different hats: wife, mother, sister, daughter, granddaughter, friend, relative, minister, career woman, etc. Because of your many roles, there will be times you will really feel maxed out, stressed, discouraged, and disappointed. The past few weeks for me have been stressful as I learn to adjust my schedule. Stress effects are evident on my face now: breakout to the nth level. The last time I experienced this was when I was pregnant (or maybe I really am pregnant..haha!). I am always like this so when you see me with red spots on my face, you know I am super stressed.

Looking into the mirror these days is depressing for me. I know I need to do something about it. It’s either I get back on that expensive beauty regime or let go of my stresses. I always tell myself “this isn’t stressful, this is part of that beautiful gift called motherhood”.

I received a comment on my previous article on motherhood:

“Life involves finding a delicate balancing act between being yourself, a spouse, a parent, a friend, a son/daughter, and a worker for the Lord. In finding this balance, you will discover a whole lot about you and your God. It’s a great journey filled with a roller coaster of experiences and emotions. But it’s a journey worth taking.” – Ardie B.

I so agree. The key to life is balance.

Moms, don’t let stress take over your life. Don’t say I am just a homemaker. Or if you are working, know that your sacrifice will go a long way. Do not underestimate your impact in your children’s lives. You don’t have to be someone to make a noteworthy impact on someone else’s life. You’re a mother so you have your child to influence, raise, and teach the ways of the Lord.

Our husbands and children, bosses, or parents and other people for the single mothers, will always have demands and insatiable needs. You won’t be able to answer to all those needs. It’s essential that you learn to prioritize those in a healthy and balanced manner. Don’t say ‘yes’ to everything. You only have 24 hours in a day. Make the most of it by focusing on things that really matter.

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Next: Ten Suggestions for Maxed-Out Moms

Baby Ava

I dream of having my own daughter but I’ve come to a point that it’s okay even if I don’t. Our family already has AVA, my niece, my sister’s daughter after 8 years of waiting.

I believe that she is an answer to our prayers having been conceived after our dad’s passing. Amazing God.

happy family
Baby Annaleigh “AVA” with me and Joshua during my brother’s wedding. 🙂

DIY Christmas Decors

This year’s theme is Thrifty Christmas for us. Since my husband and I work from home, we don’t receive any 13th month Christmas bonus. While others are enjoying their month’s worth of salary or probably have already spent them, we are treating Christmas expenses under miscellaneous. Hehe.

I haven’t done any Christmas shopping yet. I said I’d start decorating on the 3rd week of November but failed to do so. I only started yesterday. It finally hit me that I can no longer procrastinate because before I know it, Christmas has passed.

I also planned on buying a Christmas Tree this year– a bigger one, something taller because we only have a 3-feet tree.  That would mean I have to buy more Christmas decors from balls to garlands to Christmas lights. That meant I have to spend again. But since doing DIY crafts “relaxes” me, why not make our own Christmas decors? It would require some time but doing such is some form of me-time. I enjoy getting ideas from everywhere, cutting, pasting, etc. I have lots of art materials left from Noah’s Jollibee LEGO Party so I decided to do one each day and so far, I have made these:

 

DIY Paper Snowflakes Christmas Decor

I’ve always wanted to learn how to do paper snowflakes. I searched for instructions on how to and found the Instructables. It was so easy to do I made a dozen within 30 minutes. I placed these snowflakes on our window.

I haven’t checked if neighbors would be able to see these snowflakes from outside but from our living room, they look really nice. Husband and son both loved the Christmas window decor! Noah said they’re “amazing”. Hihi. The first day.

Next is this ABC Christmas Tree. I was looking at Christmas wall decals for ideas when I thought ‘why not make it educational for the toddler’. This Christmas tree wall art isn’t finished yet because I need to put details inside each card: numbers, shapes, and colors.

DIY ABC Christmas Tree Wall Decor

ANYARE SA “I”?

I posted this on Instagram earlier and a friend asked what happened to the letter “I”. I lost the letter. I must have thrown it by accident. And then I thought it could be a great conversation starter. You see during Christmas time, people tend to be selfish and excited with the gifts that they would receive. But Christmas isn’t about the “I” (that’s you and me) receiving gifts but it’s about celebrating the Real Reason for this Season— His name is JESUS. Actually, not just this Christmas Season but Every Season.

Christmas is a celebration of His birth. Why celebrate? Because He is our Lord and Savior. His birth, His life, and His death and resurrection are reasons to be joyful this Christmas. Without Him, we are nothing.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

I haven’t decided what to do today but I finally brought out our old Christmas decors from storage. I washed the mini Christmas tree already so I guess we’ll just decorate it later. I put up some decors already, tested the Christmas lights, changed the curtain and pillow covers I scored from ARQ Curtains during the last Bodega Sale.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t be shopping a lot this Christmas, I can’t stop you from doing what you love. Haha! Just keep it to a minimum and think about your purchases, be wise, be practical with your gift-giving, save a portion of your 13th month, and give to those who are less privileged.

Let’s put CHRIST back in CHRISTmas.
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Have you started decorating your house for Christmas? Any DIY Christmas decors and tips you want to share? 🙂

And oh, here’s my first Christmas gift to you: Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Noah’s 3rd Birthday | A LEGO Jollibee Kiddie Party

Special thanks to ClaudRod for making this Noah Lego Logo

We decided earlier that we would be having a small party at home for Noah this year. A small party meant our immediate families, a few relatives, and some friends. But when I finished the guestlist, the number totaled to 70. That’s still a lot for a small party. I planned on inviting them to our house by batch: families for lunch, relatives for merienda, and friends for dinner. That sounded not too practical as I knew I’d end up very tired and would be spending more. Then, I thought of getting a hotel suite and just inviting them over. That didn’t seem convenient to everyone but would be cheaper for us.

And then I remembered how Noah enjoyed the Jollibee mascot at his cousin Jam’s 1st Birthday Party. It was the first time that I really witnessed him have fun at a birthday party. Actually, that weekend he enjoyed three birthday parties that made me decide to finally schedule a kiddie party at Jollibee. So we did.

There were  70 guests and most of them were family, relatives, Joshua’s bandmates, my best friend’s family plus my mom’s friends at church. This was a “small” party so I wasn’t able to invite our churchmates and most of my friends. (Ang dami pa rin! Sorry, guys. Bawi kami sa 7th Birthday party. Planado na. Haha! Joke.) Continue reading Noah’s 3rd Birthday | A LEGO Jollibee Kiddie Party