Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faith. Show all posts

Monday, September 21, 2015

A successful morning routine

Good morning, everyone! I'm curious to know what your morning routine is, especially those who are moms. I need a morning routine that will work for me. Whatever I'm doing now is just not helping me or my family.

I don't want to give a too detailed account of my mornings but let me just say that I have finally acknowledged that waking up after the kids is not ideal. I really must rise with them, or before they do. That means I have to wake up at 6:30. Trouble is I get up at 8 and that's because my kids are either fighting or yelling for us to wash their butts (they don't like the yayas to do it), and then we're up in a panic and then the rest of the day unfolds in a rushed and chaotic manner.

I wish I could wake up before the kids do. I've tried. I just end up like a zombie. That's because I stayed up late the night before. I usually sleep at 2 or 3 a..m. That gives me 5-6 hours of interrupted sleep. Interrupted by breastfeedings and cuddles from all three kids. (Maybe it's time to wean so I can sleep with my husband instead!) I also can't sleep well with my kids because a little cough, a murmur, or a whimper from a nightmare wakes me up. Imagine that multiplied by 3 boys and then you get a picture of my troubled slumber.

I need to sleep. If I wake up at 6, that means just 3 hours of sleep!

Anyway, a working mom advised me to sleep when the kids sleep (that will be 8:30 p.m.), then wake at 3 a.m. to start my day. I get peace and quiet for 3 hours, which will allow me to focus on work, prayer, myself and home management. It sounds heavenly. Three hours of peace and quiet after 7 hours of sleep! I imagine it like this:
3 a.m. Prayer and devotions
3:30 - 5:30 a.m. Work (writing and attending to correspondence)
5:30 - 6 a.m. Greet the sunrise! Shower and dress up
6 - 6:30 a.m. Assign the day's tasks to household help, prepare baon
7 a.m. Eat breakfast with the boys
The rest of the morning I can devote to my family and myself, like bring Vito to school, play with my younger sons, have breakfast with my husband, do errands, go to the gym. I don't need to worry about work because it's been taken care of. Then I can spend a few hours in the afternoon working again—meetings, events, taking pictures of products, shoots, etc. Then dinner at 7pm, in bed at 8!

It really sounds amazing except for one thing: where does my marriage fit in this scenario???

Vince and I spend time together at night, when the kids are asleep. That's when we talk about our day, watch TV shows or movies, be married. If I sleep when the kids sleep, those precious few hours spent nurturing our relationship will be gone.

I am obviously resisting the early wake up call, right?

One of my favorite Bible passages is from Psalm 5, which clearly says we call unto God as soon as we wake up.

I haven't done any devotions in months. Months! This spiritual drought is costing me my relationships here at home. Since I start my day in chaos, everyone is affected by my panic and stress. I'm rushing everyone. I snap at the smallest things. I yell a lot. Not proud of that and I hate to blog about this nasty side of me. That's why I'm not blogging! I don't want my nastiness to leach into such a public space. But here I am, being honest, and hoping that maybe you relate, understand even, and maybe give me some advice. I really need to change how I start my day.

When I used to start my day with prayer and devotions, I was kind, generous, patient, forgiving... basically a much nicer person. Of course! My husband has told me more than once that he likes it when I'm attending to my faith because I'm just a nicer person when I pray and read God's Word.

I feel strange sometimes. My life is amazing. AMAZING. I look at my kids, my husband, my work, even myself—it's crazy how lucky I am. And in that same moment, I'm also looking at my pimples and flabby belly, at work deadlines and how I can earn more money if I were just a bit more organized and have more time to work, I look at the mess of Legos everywhere, and the fact that my husband and I never get to finish our conversations because the kids are always interrupting, and I'm filled with irritation.

I feel like I'm living everything I've ever dreamed of (and beyond!) and at the same time I'm losing control. I'm happy and grateful but I don't act like it. I don't want my husband and kids to think I'm unhappy and I don't cherish our wonderful life, because I am and I do. Oh, how I do!

So... yeah. I haven't really been the kind of wife and mommy God wants me to be lately. And I think it all boils down to me not having a good morning routine. In fact, I need to change my entire day. I need to devote time not only to prayer, but to my kids, my husband, my work, my home, and myself. How is this even possible??? I'm so overwhelmed. I don't know what to do.

How do you do it? Please help! I'll try to implement some changes (like maybe sleep earlier!) and will tell you how I'm doing in a few months! Wish me luck!

Helpful reads:
10 ways successful people start their mornings
Why creating a meaningful morning routine will make you more successful

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Left behind

When I was growing up, my Mama always talked about the rapture. The Bible describes that event to be worldwide, with everyone alerted by a "loud trumpet call" announcing the return of Jesus Christ. Then in the "twinkling of an eye," those who love Christ will be transformed from flesh into glory and disappear from here, caught up in the clouds with Him and joining God in heaven.

Here are the verses that talk about the rapture:

"At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other." Matthew 24:30-36

"Two men will be working together in the field; one will be take, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. So you, too, must keep watch! For you don't know what day your Lord is coming." Matthew 24:40-42

"Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed—in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

"For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever." 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

As a Born Again Christian, I look forward to that day. To see God, to see Mama again. Oh, the joy! That also means I won't have to die. I'll just be "caught up" in the clouds! No suffering, no pain, no old age (if the rapture happens before I turn 50, that is!). At the same time, I feel fear and horror because I want everyone I love to be "caught up" with me, too. Because how can I be completely happy in heaven knowing that the ones I love are left behind?

This is what's always scared me about the rapture. The chaos that will happen. My faith tells me I won't be here for that but my faith also tells me that if I really cared, no one will be left behind. 

I wish for all my readers to be "caught up" in the air with Jesus, too! All He asks is for us to invite Him into our hearts and declare Him the Lord and Savior of our lives! I did that when I was 9 years old. I prayed, "Dear Jesus, please forgive me of my sins, come into my heart and be my Lord forever. Amen." I know someday I'll see my Lord. I hope you'll allow Jesus to be your Lord, too! God bless you!

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Friday, June 06, 2014

Looking back in gratitude

When I was told I was going to lose my job in August 2012, I had a toddler and a new baby. Vito had just turned 2, Iñigo was just 3 months old. I was so scared. The company offered me other positions under certain conditions, none of which made me happy. In fact, to be truly honest, I was no longer happy anyway, but I was seriously contemplating accepting any of their offers because I was a mom and I was frightened of not having regular income. 

Then I saw this quote on my Facebook feed one miserable day and it was like someone slapped me. I didn't need my job. I just needed me and to believe in me. I also needed to believe in the God who gave me my talents and abilities and to trust in His promise to provide for all our needs. 

Well, fast forward to two years later and I'm in such a good place, friends. I've never been happier, never been more fulfilled, never been more at peace. To my endless surprise, we're also not poor! There is always good food on the table, there's always shopping now and then. We even have money to give to relatives who come knocking on our door for help. My husband and I always joke, "You are the ones with jobs! Why are you asking us for help?!" But we give anyway because we have enough, more than enough.

Our income may not be regular and it's not even near the same level as when we were employed, but God's provision comes from many places. We get free trips, free gas, free clothes, free diapers, free food, free toiletries, free almost everything! Sometimes, when I'm feeling stressed out with the kids, flowers from strangers just suddenly appear at the door and I'm cheered up. It's funny because sometimes I'll run out of mascara, for example, and I'll go, "Dear God, I need mascara but I don't want to buy because our money should go to the groceries and the bills." One week later, three tubes of mascara from Lancôme, Avon and L'Oreal Paris arrived! God is good and faithful (and generous!), as promised!

More than my sponsored life, the real lesson here is things aren't always going to be amazing—we lose our jobs, we get sick—but when the bad times come, as long as I have my God for help and myself to act, then things are going to work out for good. Romans 8:28 says, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose."

I'll always be grateful for my job back then. I had lots of fun, I met lots of wonderful people, I learned so much. But I'm also glad I lost my job because I found myself right after.

So if you're in a place of doubt and fear right now, look within yourself and look at what you have. You'll be amazed at how equipped you are—with talents and abilities and friends. Most of all, look to God. He will never fail you. You just have to believe that! 

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Thursday, February 27, 2014

What "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green made me think about

My novel for February is John Green's The Fault in Our Stars.

I only wanted to read it because the movie's coming out and I only wanted to watch the movie because of the guy playing the romantic lead. I first saw Ansel Elgort in the remake of Carrie, and though it had Julianne Moore and Chlöe Grace Moretz in it, it was Ansel who caught my eye. That kid can act!

So since I wanted to watch the movie, I had to first read the book. I read it just before Valentine's Day so I was feeling very loved up. The book, very easy to read (in fact, you can finish it in a few hours), is not intimidating at all. Intimidating? Yep. It's about teenagers dying of cancer, a story not everyone finds thrilling. But read it read it read it!

The story begins with a girl and a boy meeting at a cancer support group. Hazel Grace Lancaster has thyroid cancer and Augustus Waters has bone cancer. She didn't set out to fall in love. She just wanted to live the rest of her life in peace, not wanting to form any relationships because that means more people will get hurt by her eventual death. But Augustus broke down her walls with this:

OMG. I can't even go on talking about the book! You'll just have to read it yourself! It's so funny and so sad. I cried so much, my son Vito was alarmed. He said, "Why cry, Mama?" And I said, "This book is sad. People are dying." And he said, "Not good book."

Oh, but it is. It is!

I think I'm going to tell you another story. On the day I started reading this book, my friend said that her son asked her, "If God knew that man would sin against Him, why did He still make man?" And she said she didn't know what to answer really, but I was very quick. "Love!"

Love is the only reason. When I was a kid, I didn't understand why people got married and had kids. All the married people I know and all the parents I know were miserable and always complaining about their spouses and their kids. Seriously. If marriage and kids made everyone so unhappy, why did everyone insist on getting married and having kids?

Then I met this woman at a salon. She was having her hair done for her 10th wedding anniversary party that night. She told me that in all their 10 years married, maybe they were only really happy for just two years. I was flabbergasted. "What's to celebrate then?!" And she said, "Even if we were only happy for a day, I'd marry him all over again."

Now that I'm married myself, I understand. Not every day is a happy day. Vince and I fight. We get annoyed at each other. We get fed up, exasperated. We say hurtful things. Marriage is not easy, and mine is no exception. But when I think about Vince and me, all I really see is the laughter, the passion, the long whispered talks in the dark of night, the shared looks, the quiet way he slowly slips his hand into mine, our secret words. And if I believed before that my life was horrible, I now don't because all my life was leading up to what Vince and I have. If all the terrible-ness of before meant I could have that one day when Vince kissed me or that day when he said, "You really are special," or that day he married me, then all the terrible-ness was worth it.

Life is even more spectacular now with our kids, Vito and Iñigo. Sure there are days I want to scratch my eyes out because it gets really difficult. Sure there are days I just want to curl up in bed and sleep till the kids are leaving for college. Parenting is not easy. Not at all. But all the clichés are real. I really do live for their smile, I really can stare at them all day, I really do feel my heart will explode from the love. And if the exhaustion and stress and helplessness mean that I was with my kids, then it's okay. Because, really, my life is all about loving my boys.

So I know that when God created man, He didn't even hesitate because He saw in His omniscient and sovereign way that the love and goodness and wonder of man will still overcome our evil. He still created us because He loved us (I John 4:19). And that's all the reason He needs.

All that I thought of when I read The Fault in Our Stars! I just came away from the book celebrating life and love, that no matter how short our life is, love is truly eternal. Don't worry, it's not a theological book. It's not even a book about tragedy. It's just a lovely little book about love and loss and, ultimately, about life. Go read it now!

*quotes images from 8tracks and Rebloggy

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Wednesday, January 01, 2014

A fond farewell

The babies are asleep. I've put polish on my nails (OPI Glitzerland on my fingers, Dazzle Dry Evening Song on my toesies) and now I'm rushing this post because in an hour the fireworks will begin in earnest and the kids will wake up.

I'm happy. I want the kids to wake up because though they tire me out all day, I miss them when they're asleep. That's why I can't find the time to blog anymore. Blogging requires sitting down. I don't sit down. I lie down hehe. It's the pregnancy. I've been rendered useless. I'm so grateful that Vince is really doing everything (thanks, babe!). I know he has other more important things to do than cleaning the house—that's why we desperately need a kasambahay—but as of now, he's the main man of the house, doing absolutely everything except cook. I enter my second trimester this week so I am hoping I'd feel better. I'm oh so ready for 2014!

So the year in review:
1. We got to travel a lot! We went to Tagaytay often. We went to Batangas. We went to Hong Kong, and we're flying to Cebu this week. When I was working, I was so busy, I never went anywhere!

2. We lost our household help but this has resulted to so many wonders. I knew my husband has always been in love with his kids, but when the maids left, he's sooo good with kids pala! He's an expert diaper changer, babysitter, teacher, playmate.

Many moms tell me their husbands are useless when it comes to childcare. Well, let your husbands be fathers, too! Let them wipe the poop, mop up the pee, feed the kids, read to the kids, discipline the kids as well as play with them. Let your husband spend more than a few minutes with his kids! Don't allow him to give you the baby once the baby poops or cries. Most of us wives don't let our husbands get involved because we think our hubbies are already tired from work and should be spared from the less fun aspects of fatherhood. I say you're cheating them out of fatherhood when you do that!

3. We made our second investment. Financially, we're really okay, which strikes people as so strange since technically, both Vince and I are unemployed. Sound money decisions in the past years have led to our early retirement. Now, we're not rich at all. In fact, I know our families are worried for us (hehe) but we're working very hard on writing projects, which help with the daily expenses. Then we'll (maybe) look for jobs when the kids go to school because education can be expensive. But, for now, we're happy with what we have.

4. Because of the yaya/maid-less situation, I've had to put work in the back burner. I really thought I'd only rest for six months then look for work again by June. I've had many amazing job offers, too. But the lack of domestic help made a new career impossible.

Well, not really. My mommy blogging career took off. I was asked to be digital brand ambassador for Sangobion, Lotte Xylitol, Vicks, Pampers and Smart. I never thought that would happen, seriously. I'm, like, old and flabby. And I'm not a celebrity! So I'm grateful that I was asked to be a brand ambassador because I'm a mom that people trust, not because I'm gorgeous or hot or famous. I'm just me!

5. Our family is getting bigger! I got pregnant again! We're so thrilled really. I want four kids but Vince said three is good. He's hoping for a girl, I'm hoping for another boy, but we're both praying for a healthy kid who's as cute and as smart and as affectionate as Vito and Iñigo.

Our sons are really our source of joy, Vince and I. Our marriage has been immensely blessed by our two boys. Their wonder at life, the way they laugh and play, their funniness and playfulness, even drama sometimes, make every single day a joy to live. Today, the boys kept running to our arms to kiss and huggle. They loved it. We loved it. Vince said, "When my life flashes before my eyes, I want this to be one of the memories."

I'm so blessed. Some people say I shouldn't say I'm so blessed. In fact, on my birthday a few weeks ago, someone actually said he wished me less happiness because too much happiness makes people forget the important things in life. I was really upset with that "wish." I'm happy because my life is focused on what truly matters: my husband, my children, my relationships. My career isn't even important anymore, neither is my looks (I'm fat now!!!) nor my material possessions. I'm just happy to spend the days with my boys. Why would anyone wish me less of my boys? I immediately prayed that God will block the curse this person placed on me!

If there's anything this year has taught me, it's that letting go of many urgent things allows more of the important things to come in. In many ways, my life was emptied out this year, but my life has never been so full! My word for 2013 was "simplify" and when I simplified my life, it became more great. How amazing is that!

My God, I am in awe of Your goodness and grace! I deserve none of this goodness because I've been so evil for so long, and yet, because I asked You to be in my life, You have truly fulfilled Your promise to give me life and for me to live life abundantly!

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." 
- Jesus Christ (John 10:10)

This 2014, I resolved to let God use my writing to bless my readers with His Word as I have been blessed. Don't worry! My blogs will still be super fun. But I realize that I've been keeping my source of joy, comfort and strength from you all by not talking to you about my God. So all you see is the product (the happiness) but you don't see the fountain and the foundation (my Lord and Savior).

For 2014, my word will be "family." This year showed me that I am still so far away from being the wife and mother God wants me to be. I mean, I'm okay. I think I'm doing a good job. In fact, I've always thought I've been doing a good job, until I started studying "Power of a Praying Wife" and "Power of a Praying Parent," then my eyes were opened to all that I still need to do and be so that I can be a true servant to my family. So this 2014, I want to be a better wife and a better mother, a woman who is happy to be of service, to give all the love I could give every day of my life for as long as I live. And it starts today, January 1, 2014.

Happy New Year! God bless you all with abundance in love, friendship, laughter, good health and wealth!

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Monday, March 04, 2013

Ask and it shall be given you (but ask specifically!)

I believe in prayer. I tell ya, when I pray for something, God gives it. Of course, you have to pray with the knowledge of who God is. For example, I know that God is my provider so to ask Him for financial blessings and food is okay.

As Matthew 7:11 says, "If you then, imperfect as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask Him?" My goodness, my husband and I spoil our kids silly. That gave me a profound insight on who God is—He will shower me with blessings because I am His child. All I need to do is ask!

I once asked for makeup when I was still so very poor and God answered by making me win a L'Oreal contest. One year's worth of makeup, y'all! But when I asked for makeup, it was because I was starting out in my career and I wanted to look good and I just didn't have money for makeup or nice clothes. So I bared my heart to the Lord and asked.

I believe that if you ask with a humble heart—not a vain or proud or greedy heart—God will give you what you want. After all, didn't He say, "I am come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly," in John 10:10? Abundance! That doesn't mean simple life, all I need, just enough. It means overflowing with blessings! That means more than I need!

I do also believe that when you ask God for something, you have to be specific. I don't mean that God is obtuse and isn't smart enough to figure you out. But He does have a sense of humor. I'll let this little conversation with fashion blogger Tracy Ayson of Fashion Fangirl explain my point:

So believe in God's promises, know who He is, ask with no fear or hesitation, ask with a heart full of love and humility, but ask specifically! God bless you!