Real Simplicity. Life on the Fast Lane or Life in Slow Motion?

 

Everyday has now become a blur of fast-paced activities and need to complete to-do-lists. With technology all around us, they all encourage us to multi-task – read while watching news on TV, while waiting for dinner to simmer, while sitting with the kids doing homework, all while your mind gives you a list of what you might have missed to do today.

I know it wasn’t chance when I got my hand on the book Real Simplicity written by Rozanne and Randy Frazee. The similarities with this author is just uncanny. Author had four kids, juggling parenting, work, home and everything in between. Don’t get me wrong. I am not in any way complaining. If I were to have a chance to relive my life, I am definitely sure I would have made the same decision to have chosen the life I am living now. What with four differently gifted, brilliant kids, a loving husband, the best spiritual family and the best and yet most mom-friendly job I can have, there is nothing else to ask for. Today’s cherry on top came with good news that my eldest passed the exams for a Science High School.

So I went on asking God : what do I believe Him for, for 2016? For today’s post, we will look at just one word Simplify.

Real Simplicity. Get Creative. Memories need not be Expensive.
One does not need to step out of the house to have utmost fun. I always write that the best moments I have in my memory bank are those that I have spent at home. So on weekends where I get to have full days with the kids, we get the drawing materials out and build dreams. Kyle dreams of taking a Science course (it is a mix of Industrial Pharmacy and Marine Biology). It is fun to watch him weave and draw fictional stories with made up characters, away from Science which he usually tackles most parts of the day in school. It is the talking over coloring/drawing part that I enjoy the most. It takes me to a level of familiarity and comfortability that I get just enjoying how my kids are so different from each other.

 

Real Simplicity. Get Moving. Memories need not be Noisy.
With gadgets and electronics keeping our kids attention away from meaningful conversations, we can always opt to do activities that do not require any sound. Yep. Like biking around the village while enjoying everything around you. David who has recently learned how to play bike and now never fails to be out of the house keeps me encouraged. Just the other day, he has learned to get one of his (bigger) playmates on his bike while he drives.

 

Real Simplicity. Get Playing. Memories are not always with Toys.
Last Christmas, we found ourselves with family games we can play right at the comfort of our homes. Games where we can introduce sportsmanship, values that say It is okay to lose or we can’t always win at everything, we gather around Uno cards, Stacko, Skribbage and even loombands!

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It is our prayer for this year that no matter how busy our life gets, we will never miss to pause and enjoy family and relationships around us. After all, Jesus did not just move in yesterday, He has always been in our homes and all it takes is to introduce Him and His peace/comfort to everyone.

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Let us thank God for 2015!

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In the coming weeks, we will see a wave of year-enders from all around, your TV shows’ episodes in a capsule, 2015 lists of top sellers, box-office hits, and even breakthrough news. Looking back, 2015 has been a year that has given all of us more than enough reasons to thank God for. If you share the same set of blessings, feel free to share 2015 blessings in pictures. As 2016 approaches, it is time again to believe God for what He has planned for the year. Dare to believe for 2016.

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Answered Prayer #1: Opportunities to spend time with my husband and kids. I always say that the best time spent this year were the ones we spent at home, but, it was also fun to explore new places with the entire fam! It is when you oohh and aahhh at the same time for the beauty that God has created all around us. Most, if not all, of our best travel time weren’t the most expensive, they were as frugal as going with a long drive to somewhere we have not visited. Remember that it is the experience and lasting memories you are trying to build, in the same way, the most fun activities we have done as a family were the ones that didn’t cost us much (e.g. climbing the biggest tree in Asia, looking at the windmills in Bangui, trying halo halo in Vigan).

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Answered Prayer #2: Celebrations, milestones, and breakthroughs were shared over food for 2015! Remembering thanking God with the team over food for my son’s first mission trip, our traditional midnight birthday greetings are usually capped with a simple celebration breakfast the day after, and of course, opportunities to spend time with the best people for our Christmas traditions. It was also fun to take on food projects that took me to enjoying food to a different level. It brought the blessing of upping my taste for flavor and valuable conversation over food!

breakthrough3Answered Prayer #3: Thanking God for being part of a spiritual family that encourages, equips and empowers you. It is also a spiritual family that never go blind with the communities around it. The same love we are getting from Victory Nova has stretched to houses, families and campuses in San Jose. It has taught us how to be a better parent, a better husband/wife, reminding us that everyone is a work in progress, teaching us to respond as how God responds to us in love and generosity.

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Answered Prayer #4: Going thirteen years in marriage, it has opened our eyes to regard each other in love, forgiveness and acceptance. It has allowed us to choose which values we want our kids to have, to prioritize or limit the influences we want our kids to be exposed to, all while enjoying each other, discovering each other and not getting tired of each other. Moments when my husband would ask me to close my eyes and dream before God are priceless moments in marriage I will never trade with anything else.

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Answered Prayer #5: Just as I thank God for what my husband does as a calling, I also thank God for granting us the best mommy-friendly job I can have. I thank God for the blessings of being part of the best team at work, I thank God for allowing me to learn everyday at work, and to always be on the lookout to push for better things whether for our customers, our employees or for my colleagues. It is my prayer that we can continue to steward the best jobs we have been given whether it is work we need to do at home for our kids or duties we need to perform from our workplaces.

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An Elementary School in Bulacan only has Five Classrooms

 

rsz_1mbp_pinkAs part of our Christmas traditions, we visited last year an elementary school for a Christmas gift-giving day. Banahaw Elementary School is a public school that has students in grades first through sixth in Norzagaray, Bulacan of Central Luzon (Region III). The school has 5 instructional rooms and 1 non-instructional rooms. Sadfully, none of the rooms has a dependable supply of electricity. With 138 students last year, class size is around 28 students. Lorie Floresca is principal of the school.

banahaw4It was more of a prayerful preparation we did, other than sourcing sponsors and connecting with people who would like to help. Our goal when we visited was to share about who God is and His blessings.

banahaw1It was so encouraging to see kids of all ages, parents and teachers have smiles on their faces when we staged a midget dance. It seemed such a simple dance number but to the eyes of the kids, it felt like they were watching the most beautiful kiddie show there is. We thank God for their positive outlook and great faith in a God who can answer their prayers. Kids from this school, when asked, dream of finishing their studies and helping their respective families.

Getting there was not actually easy. This makes it difficult for any other group to up the Norzagaray mountains and visit this school for any outreach activity. The way up means taking rough roads, be ready to catch all the dust your pores can handle. We armed ourselves with towelettes on our heads and faces as we went up. The climb up was steep, the jeepney had to slow down on some rough road patches or to wait for its turn on single lane rough roads. It is usual to see students in school without slippers, walking or taking horses to and from school.

We bought a Jesus cake and led everyone into prayer and singing the happy birthday song to Jesus. It was not a surprise to hear some of the kids say that it was their first time ever to have tasted a cake. They were all too happy to receive new pair of slippers, fruits, drinks, hygiene kits and toys.

If you have the heart to help Banawe Elementary school students this year, Team Deborah is prayerfully seeking help to prepare slippers, fruits, drinks, hygiene kits, toys, cakes/cupcakes, teachers’ gifts (pictured above) or any other items you would like to donate in time for December 17 visit. May God continue to be Your Rewarder as you seek ways to share your blessings this season.

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God’s Encouragement For You!

rsz_1mbp_pinkNovember officially starts and this gets everyone counting the days till Christmas. First November weekend was family weekend. For us, November 1 and 2 meant spending time with things that last, meeting up with my hubby’s and my extended families. It also meant playing all the games we can play with the kids while we are off work. We have nothing against trick or treats but my kiddos and I have also opted to spend the weekend with bringing home chicks (which never stop chirping!), go to the movies, all while taking the time to celebrate the life and blessings of one great woman I look up to (Ate Pazee!) and visit one of our favorite newly-weds at their new home. Yep, creating late night visit traditions to all our wedding inaanaks (will get to everyone on the list soonest). May seem trivial to most but these are what make up fabulous weekends for this working blogger mom. Loving my job so much but I love it even more when it creates opportunities for me to balance life outside of work (Number 1 Telstra advocate here, thanks to the fabulous Assurance Team!). Just as I have completed my me-time for the week (thanks to my handsome hubby for me-time-budgets, wink wink!), I got creative and used our own gallery of pictures to share God’s encouragement to all my readers. Read along and feel free to let me know which encouragement you are most thankful to God for.

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You may be wrapping too many gifts this Christmas and will surely receive several, too, but the greatest gifts we have received are those that do not come wrapped in boxes. We have God to thank for answered prayers, kiddos milestones for the year and of course, the lessons learned from 2015.
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May seem like nothing is happening with the things you are believing God for, but God is never late and never too early. Look back at 2015 by end of December and you will realize you do not have enough space to write on the countless blessings you and your family have received for the year!
My youngest David on his first picture, wrapped in blanket from the Nursery.  Points me to the fact that our children have a great future ahead that God has planned even before we give birth to them!
My youngest David on his first picture, wrapped in blanket from the Nursery. Points me to the fact that our children have a great future ahead that God has planned even before we have given birth to them!
flowers from my husband - thankful for the gift of marriage, friendships, work, kids, and yes, even for the things that did not go the way we planned them to be. God is a purposeful God who keeps us safe in the shelter of His own embrace.
flowers from my husband – thankful for the gift of marriage, friendships, work, kids, and yes, even for the things that did not go the way we planned them to be. God is a purposeful God who keeps us safe in the shelter of His own embrace.
At the end of the day, whatever we focus on will define everything in life. What we focus on will define our future destination. At the end of the day, our strongest display of our hearts are never our words, never our pictures or never the size of our followings, but it is going to be our own kids, our marriage, our homes and our relationships.
At the end of the day, whatever we focus on will define everything in life. What we focus on will define our future destination. At the end of the day, our strongest display of our hearts are never our words, never our pictures or never the size of our followings, but it is going to be our own kids, our marriage, our homes and our relationships. It is God who will take you away from unnecessary distractions and unwanted influences. Never miss to count the blessings around you.
Our smiles are an extension of our joy at home, our vigor at work and our assurance from God. Be generous with your smile and never consider yourself better than others. Celebrate each other and ask each day why did I do the things I did today? And if the answers point us to anything other than our primary priorities (God, family and our calling), calibrate with God and never miss the chance of letting go of unnecessary roles you may be playing.
Our smiles are an extension of our joy at home, our vigor at work and our assurance from God. Be generous with your smile and never consider yourself better than others. Celebrate each other and ask each day why did I do the things I did today? And if the answers point us to anything other than our primary priorities (God, family and our calling), calibrate with God and never miss the chance of letting go of unnecessary roles you may be playing.
Recently changed directions? Do not fret because you may be in the brink of a breakthrough. Life's delay does not mean failure, it can mean fruitful waiting time we can spend in joyful worship. Remember that there were survivors of 911 who had to be late for the day (one stopped for doughnuts for his turn to buy breakfast in the office, the other one had to stop to buy bandages for his sore feet, and then there was the other one who was caught in traffic).  You just don't know what greater things God may be preparing you for.
Recently changed directions? Do not fret because you may be in the brink of a breakthrough. Life’s delay does not mean failure, it can mean fruitful waiting time we can spend in joyful worship. Remember that there were survivors of 911 who had to be late for the day (one stopped for doughnuts for his turn to buy breakfast in the office, the other one had to stop to buy bandages for his sore feet, and then there was the other one who was caught in traffic). You just don’t know what greater things God may be preparing you for.
write from your own heart, hear from  your conversations with God, and it will quiet your fears and it will grant you 200% peace to be joyful at all times.
write from your own heart, hear from your conversations with God, and it will quiet your fears and it will grant you 200% peace to be joyful at all times.

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Life in Pictures : Writing on Me-Time Mornings

rsz_1mbp_pinkIn just a few weeks, we will now be ushering in the ‘ber’ months, if you are like any Filipina mom I know, we all get giddy and excited around what the ‘ber’ months bring, cooler days, family celebrations, reunions, more holidays to bond with kids. Before we welcome September, let me share with you several scenes from my working-mommy-world.

Work Shoes

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My roster of work shoes is a reflection of my season in life. It is a mix of footwear that can take me from posh events to roughing it out with kids to errands days. Mommies, look around the shoes you wear and thank God not for the shoes, but what you wear them for.

Faith Matters

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I have learned to appreciate how God has enriched culture, a culture that stretches out and gets reflected on families, how you decorate your house, how you celebrate with friendships. I am also passionate about faith and it is critical to have both culture and faith aligned with what the Bible calls as truth. Thanking God for taking me to places whose culture and faith are different from mine, tugs at your heart to have the passion to know what to pray for. Opens your eyes from what you want to be thankful for and opens your doors to friendships that allow you to share a kind of peace that can be present even in the midst of being different.

Leaving Footprints

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20150821_091932-1There was this pocket restaurant near Mekong River in Laos that provides an entire wall for any visitor to leave notes. More than just looking at the wall full of notes, brings me to the walls in my workplace that tells everyone what we want to be famous for. As wives and moms, what notes do we want to leave behind and what do we want to be famous for?

View from the Boardroom

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Boardrooms have a way of limiting your views. It is so easy to see yourself as just an integral part of the boardroom, blurring everything else that you need to play as your role. It blurs away your urgent need to go home to complete homeschooling for your kids, or blurs away the weather outside, or blurs away the excessive time you spend in the boardroom. I especially like the boardrooms that gives you the real view outside. It reminds you about the real reasons why you work, the real reasons why you want to excel and reminds you about the beauty of what God surrounds you with as you work, as you play mom, as you play wife.

Kids’ Imprint Everywhere

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Of course, I forever thank God for my boys and mini-me at home. It helps grow me, give me more than enough reasons to be happy, and gives you a reason to get up each morning. Brings you back and clues you in to what makes their world turn. Gives you laughter days, rough it out in play days and even travel days!

Holding Hands While Driving

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I married a man who hears from God, fully trusting his leadership in the family and in our marriage. I am sure that no matter how brilliant my ideas to lead are, the role to be both a mom and dad for my family is something that I have not been wired to play, my big God will always have a way of telling my husband how to lead, without me taking away his role to lead in the family. This is not meant to discount what great things God has been doing for single moms. Thanking God for being the purposeful and Sovereign God who is a personal God of perfect timing, aligned with our seasons and roles in life. So let there just be one driver in the car, but feel free to hold his hand, and squeeze it with love and a wink or smile anytime.

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Joined PhilCare’s Health and Wellness Tea Party

No matter what role you play at home, at work, in the community, for your loved ones, friends and colleagues, one utmost need is required : perfect health. There is no way that we can deliver the best we can if we do not feel well. PhilCare on its 33rd anniversary, invited 20 blogger moms (including myself) to an intimate tea party in celebration of health and wellness.

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It was a breath of fresh air to have met PhilCare Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Patty Henson. She asked relevant questions that had all the mommy bloggers thinking how well we are and how prepared we are for the future. PhilCare certainly feel the same mom-needs of being on top of everything that concerns family, particularly, health. And so the afternoon started with delectable food from Chateau 1771 but the afternoon got better when PhilCare started handing out the perfect gift for my mom – an Php80,000 medical coverage. God has been so faithful in keeping us all healthy, safe and protected and He also grants blessings of health through medical provision and coverage but this one is an even more pleasant surprise because it is something I can have my mom use.

picture2Now everyone can have access to a competitive medical coverage plan without having to sign up to an employment contract, without having to step out of the house, and without even having to break your budget. It takes as easy as 3 steps.

Step 1: Online purchase of cards at www.philcare.com.ph. Just as how you would do a regular online purchase, you would end your web session with no less than medical coverage in tow.

Step 2: Cards get delivered nationwide. Now the demands of your family role or your job will never have to take you away from good health, you have just spared yourself from signing too many forms, and even from lining up for medical exam requirements.

Step3: SMS Activation – Now this is the easiest part. Send an SMS and you should be ready to use the card anytime you need to. What I like most about it is I can give it to my mom as a gift, without her having to worry about activation or more paperworks.

PhilCare, one of the first health maintenance organization (HMO), truly knows how to make things easier for mommies like me. I went home with the gift of health, not just for myself but also more than enough to share with my mom. PhilCare partners with mommies to commit to a healthier lifestyle, I also got to take home a mommy-pampering-kit.

picture5picture3picture4Got to see blogger friends from www.stayadventurousblog.wordpress.com, www.lhyziebongon.com and www.unfoldedbyxtal.blogspot.comLazada Philippines

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What I Thank God About For the Father of My Kids

I grew up with the best dad in the world, the best dad who would take the time to take me to my first day high school, who encouraged me to be at my best at all times, who lovingly has always told me that I can sing (even if I can’t, *wink*). And so it is truly a big blessing to have met an equally kind and loving husband who does the same now for my kids. Look at what I have been meaning to write all week, below I listed just some of the things we appreciate about the dad in our house.

dadkyleThank you for childhood memories – You’ve climbed up trees with the kids, taught the boys how to swim, took them to laser tag games, joined them for Me and My Dad camps, showed up and presented for school’s “What Does my Dad do at Work”, helped build lasting memories of visiting new places, exploring beaches, and showing everyone (including myself) that it is fun and easy to travel with kids.

dadgabThank you for date days with each of the kids – Thanks for always being handy to help with Math homeworks, getting them involved with dad stuff in the house (e.g. carpentry, car wash, etc), for involving them with what you do, for playing with them, for pushing to have at least three dinners at home with the kids each week. Big thanks for showing us that being a dad means being there for them when they are ready to talk about their days.

dadsofiaThank you for taking care of the girls in the house – Thanks for showing Sofia what her identity is through the love you show me, thanks for sleeping with her and sharing things that are exclusive to just Sofie and Dad, thanks for sharing the breakfast table with the kids. Thanking God because you are not afraid to ask for a kiss or to say ‘I love you’ and ‘sorry’ to kids.

daddavidThank you for being the leader in the house – Thanks for leading us at all times how it is to love God, to wake up early and open your Bible. Thanks for opening the house to people who help us train our kids with the way they should go, for always surrounding us with people who have Godly counsel, for being a dad to other kids, for being a great and loving son yourself.  Thank you for fathering others that are never dependent with what you do, Kids teachers, Coordinator family, Amazing sisterhood and brotherhood of travelling redundance (longest group name, ever), Nova and SJDM. Ultimately, thank you for making your family your first ministry.

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dadcollageHappy fathers’ day to all the dads! Watch our fathers’ day greeting here.

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What I Learned from John Feir of Pepito Manaloto

rsz_1mbp_pinkPepito Manaloto is a Philippine TV show that showcases the life of Pepito, a Lottery winner. It is a story of rags to riches that aims to entertain, inform or inspire, and has now evolved into a show that depicts sound Filipino culture. In fact, it still has its trademark snippets of culture know-how (e.g. how to save, how to invest, etc). Visited the taping location and got to spend time with its home-grown comedian John Feir and I just have to share lessons we all learned from it.

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Live life simple – didn’t realize that for a comedian who has the means to buy all the top-brand cars, John Feir chooses to ride his bike daily. Yep, you heard it right, he rides his bike daily from his house to the taping location. I am sure it wasn’t because he has to, but because it is a choice he has to make. Sends a very strong message of choosing to focus and spend time, money and energy on things that last.

pepito1Living a life of joy – it only takes a minute or two before anyone realizes that John Feir is a man of both humor and joy. I am pretty sure it is not coming from whatever he does as a living, that joy is evidently displayed as soon as he greeted us and shared stories about his last visit to Laos. It was punchline after another. He went on saying his mom’s name is Anne Feir (unfair), his dad Rene Feir (repaired), and his aunt who happens to be tall Cheri Feir (Cherifer). Be ready for a laugh when he is around.

pepito3 pepito4Focusing on things that last – So when it was time to take things seriously and talk about taking the Gospel to the field, that is when you see the serious side of John. Kyle’s whole experience itself brought encouragement, faith and growth to him. John Feir is more than just a character from Pepito Manaloto. In our eyes, he has become someone who knows when to throw in a punchline and when to look at things that last with eyes of sincerity, passion and commitment.

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Thanks for sharing your time with us, John Feir.

Welcome Pepito Manaloto into your home every Sunday after 24 Oras Weekend.  – See more at: GMA network

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Yes, joyful are those who live like this! Joyful indeed are those whose God is the LORD. Psalm 144:15

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