Thursday, September 01, 2016

NEW SERIES! Topaz Talks to 100% Whole Moms Cheska, Rica, and Marilen

Hi everyone! I'm starting a new series yet again. This time, I want to share with you conversations I've had with the people I've just met, have known for a while but I've always been curious about, and my own beloved friends. They'll all be working moms. This is for me really, because I've been looking for mentors, inspiration and community. So I'm going to look for working moms who inspire me and have a little chat with them... and share those chats with you through Topaz Talks!

For our very first Topaz Talks, I'm sharing with you a snippet of the lives of the 100% Whole Moms Cheska Garcia-Kramer, Marilen Faustino-Montenegro and Rica Peralejo-Bonifacio. They invited me and other moms to a little afternoon of fellowship a few weeks ago and it was hosted by Moleskine journals. We had a fun afternoon of sharing each other's stories as moms.

After sharing our stories and eating really good food at Vask Tapas Room, the celebrity moms that form the trio that is 100% Whole Mom then launched into what 100% Whole Mom is all about—caring for a mother's home, beauty and heart through workshops. Marilen, an interior stylist, shared tips on tabletop decor with H&M Home and flower arrangement with Fiora Manila. Cheska, popular endorser with her family, the social media phenomenon #TeamKramer, gave tips on mommy beauty with help from Inglot and Brow Haus. Then Rica, a devoted pastor's wife, reminded us all about being intentional about our mothering, which could be helped a lot through journaling (on Moleskines preferably!).

Rica's question to moms was, "How are you today?" This is a question no one asks us moms really. Us moms, we're just supposed to be super, to be on top of everything, to never drop the ball because if we do, the whole family will suffer. This kind of pressure is insane! But do we stop to ask ourselves, "How am I today? Am I okay? Am I happy? Am I grateful?" Do we stop to ask other moms this? No one does really.

Oh, but wait. I was asked that by my friend, Jing Lejano of Urban Mom, once at an event. I had stopped to chat with her, me all chipper and bubbly. Then she asked, "Kumusta ka na? Yung totoo?" And I just broke down. Like, then and there. What a mess! I was okay, okay? But the surprise of the question, of someone actually caring enough to ask how I really am, was so overwhelming, I cried.

Rica exhorted us moms to ask ourselves that every day, to listen to ourselves and to our own needs. Write it down! Reflect on what you wrote. Set goals. Take action. Take care of our own needs and dreams. That's how we take care of ourselves, and when we do that, we can truly care for others.

So of course, for Topaz Talks, I talked to Cheka, Carla and Len about journaling. Listen in!
What do you use your Moleskine journals for? 
Marilen: I use my journal to talk to God. Pour out my heart, write what I learn from my Bible reading. Sometimes I've written to people that hurt me, then I throw it away! Haha!
Rica: Everything. I am a person full of thoughts. I might actually speak more to paper than to people. So I jot down everything in a single notebook—from essays in progress, to cinematic lines, quotes from favorite authors or people, to grocery and packing checklists. Hahaha!  
Cheska: Writing my poetry, favorite sayings, verses, my doodles... Just basically my thoughts. 

How does writing down your thoughts, prayers, dreams, goals (or whatever you use your journals for!) help you as a mother? 
Marilen: When I go to the journal, it allows me to really slow down and reflect. It organizes my thoughts and priorities. I create steps to my goals in a journal or planner also. When I am "fixed" inside as an individual, I can be a better mom and wife.  
Rica: It helps me discern patterns of seasons and my life in general. I believe God has written my days already and it's just a matter of finding out which path He has set out for me. I think that when I write down thoughts, prayers and dreams, a certain pattern or message kind of emerges and it partly helps me get to the revelation of God to me about my life.  
Cheska: I grew up where my mother encouraged us always to write our thoughts and to write poetry. It was a form of release for me during the time my parents were separated. I never really wrote "diary style" but wrote poetry instead. So that carried over to this day—now I write my journey, love, sayings, goals that I am going through. Poems for my kids that maybe later on when they can understand better, they will know how much I love the three of them. Always been my way of release and another way to express myself. Sometimes we have a hard time telling people what we feel and it's easier when we write it instead. 

With the advent of blogs, apps and smart phones, why do you still use pen and paper? 
Marilen: I really still prefer paper because I am a visual person. I delight in writing. In creating different strokes with different colors. I retain more when I see it.   
Rica: Retention is still better when there remains to be something physical and tangible, I guess. I also cannot completely give myself over to the virtual way of things. It's hard to feel fully when you have nothing but an image and no materiality or spirituality. 
Cheska: I never really got the hang of technology... I always have my husband to tell me! Till this very day, I write it first and then start typing everything when done writing my thoughts. A lot of work but I'm really most comfortable with a pen and paper. A pen and journal at that!

Thanks for the little chat, Whole Moms!

To sign up for 100% Whole Mom workshops, join the community on Facebook.

I wanted to focus on journaling because that's something I can't seem to do well. Mostly because I noticed I become really negative when I write and it's only myself that's the audience. When I blog, of course I'm always honest but I rein in the negativity that overwhelms me sometimes because I have to think of my readers. People think I'm a sunny person but I'm actually quite the pessimist. I'm very critical of myself—that's why on this blog you'll see me write stuff like, "I'm gorgeous! I'm amazing! I'm a supermom!" mostly because I need to tell myself that or else I'll drown in my personal drama.

So, like Cheka, I don't journal in a "Dear Diary" way. But, like Marilen, I've found that when I write my prayers instead, that helps me a lot. Prayers take my focus from criticizing me to how God sees me—and God sees me so lovingly. Prayers make me write down my weaknesses, sins, and problems but I can't stop there because then I offer them to God for Him to make them right. Prayers turn my negativity to positivity because when I see myself, my life and my sorrows in God's light, then they are diminished and they disappear. So prayer journaling works!

I won't share my prayer journals, though! Instead, I'll share with you my new project: the bullet journal! I'm using the Chapters journal from Moleskine. I'll do a separate post on that soon... and maybe we can do a bullet journaling workshop together! BuJo is super fun!

*workshop photos by Sheila Catilo


  1. Wow! I love seeing great women together :)
    And I love your BuJo! Ang pretty, nagbubullet journal din aq, kaso di ganyan kaganda. Lol! :)

  2. After seeing your #BuJo, I did a research about it and loved it!!! Do a workshop na about it. I also love planners. I have to write them down kasi di pwede ang nasa phone lang. Di kaya. :) #BuJo seems simple but straiht forward. Next year, ganyan na ang peg ng planners/journals ko.


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