Summer with Diksyonaryo Atbp’s 2015 Summer Reading Camp

My childhood has always been full of memories of teacher-teacher-an, book & comic reading and memorizing songs. Reading has been part of anything enjoyable I had to do every summer. It is not surprising that I developed into going for reading dates with hubby (where both of you show up wherever quiet, read up and then take the time to share) and into considering curling up with a book as me-time.

This May 2015, Ms. Lia Mañalac del Castillo’s Diksyonaryo Atbp. will stage a reading and literacy activity called Summer Reading Camp.

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Ready for another camping kind of day in the city, reading and listening to stories?

On its second year this summer, DIKSYONARYOATBP, a non-profit non-stock non-government organization will stage  SUMMER READING CAMP in Manila (May 23) and Quezon City (May 30)!

There will be teepees set-up for the reading camp where kids can participate in any or all of the following:

  • READING CORNER–read all the books they want from DiksyonaryoAtbp’s mobile library
  • ART CORNER – unleash their inner artist by engaging in art activities related to stories read to them
  • STORYTELLING CORNER – listen as children’s stories come alive via The Storytelling Project team

Aside from participating in these events, parents/ children can also avail of books from National Bookstore on site, which they can donate for DiksyonaryoAtbp’s future projects or take home for themselves.

This event aims to rekindle and encourage a genuine love for reading in Filipino children, by spending one whole day doing reading related activities, ALL FOR FREE.

To register your child, please click HERE or click http://projectdiksyonaryo.com/camp-registration/.

The event is in partnership with The Storytelling Project, Pottly and Tubby, CanvasPH, National Bookstore and Mcdonalds.

For more inquiries, text us at 0917-5361783 or tweet us @diksyonaryoatbp.

Let’s meet and greet on May 30 (Saturday) at Fern Garden, Q.C.  I am one of the volunteer readers there.  See you!!!

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“To Work or Not to Work?”, Is there One Mom Type Better? SAHM-WAHM-WFTM

All media and social network channels are flooded with advertisements catering to moms. The “mommy network” is such a big commercial industry that most of the advertisers and product owners would do everything to get moms’ buy-ins. Let us admit the fact that all of these try to have a say on what type of mom one should be. However, considering that there are just too many mom types now, you have your stay-at-home moms (SAHM), your work-from-home moms (WAHM) and your working-full-time-moms (WFTM), it is so easy to get lost in the myth that one type is better than the other. And too many moms are also prone to committing the easy mistake of asserting (whether through conscious or non-conscious language) that she is playing the best mom-type. Case in point: see two myth busters below.

Truth#1: There is nothing wrong about being a working mom. This is particularly true especially if you know your correct list of priorities: God, marriage, kids, extended family, work, ministry and all the rest. Allow me to acknowledge as well that there is nothing wrong about being a SAHM or a WAHM, not discounting the fact that I was raised by my mom who has played all roles in her lifetime, worked fulltime, worked from home, now a stay at home mom. It is probably society or present culture that dictates and expects moms to be perfect, raising disciplined children who are models of well-behaved kids, be the number 1 cheerleader of their husbands and most fervent prayer advocate and show up pretty on all events with the most delicious kitchen concoction on hand. For most, it is just ain’t perfect if the moms who have got it all together happen to be working. I do not know about you but I know of countless working moms or mom entrepreneurs who are able to raise responsible, God-loving and successful kids. So if you are a working mom, clarify your reason, your view and your real heart for work. It is possible to regard work as a blessing (and not a burden). It will not make you weird if you find joy from working while finding joy in balancing it with mom-tasks of managing the house and parenting. And ultimately, it doesn’t make your husband less of a leader at home when you work. Decide to work or not to work because you know that your choice around it will never add or remove your right standing with God. Personally, I work because I know it is a season for me to do so. I am not in it to feed a lavish lifestyle or because I love money more than my family or because I do not have faith to believe God for more. I wouldn’t have done it otherwise. But it is a choice I make because God has given me limitless grace to do so with ultimate joy. Like all working moms or mom entrepreneurs, one day, God may call me or may never call me to be a stay-at-home mom, but I do not need to fret or sulk because I know what God can do over my marriage, my kids and my future.

Truth#2: SAHMs, WAHMs and WFTMs are not different from each other.  The same set of questions run around their heads and the measure of love they feel towards their family is one and the same. A mom who is not happy being a Working full time Mom (WFTM) will most likely, not be a happy stay at home mom (SAHM) or an unhappy Work from home mom (WAHM). It is my prayer that your happiness or fulfilment as a mom does not come from what you do but from knowing who God is and from trusting what He can do over whatever role you play. How to do a correct mindset check? Answer the question: Considering the status of your marriage, parenting, house management and family relationships, do you see that your role to ______ (work, stay at home, work from home) is certainly what God is telling you to do? If you easily answered yes to this question, then you may be on the right track. If you are being led by God to do things differently, pray and God will grant wisdom and clarity around how to transition. Discuss it with your husband with the perspective that it is God who provides and who does not add any trouble to blessings. Do not make decisions or maintain decisions out of fear. Never discuss it around how other people are expecting you to function or how my husband’s boss would want us to do it. Remember that your calling is ‘personal’ and never patterned from anyone else’s. If you find it similar with most people you are surrounded with, it doesn’t mean that your type is better than the other. Never make the mistake of looking at other mom types differently or less effective. Your goal in life does not include convincing everyone to be the same mom-type you are but to be a blessing to any mom-type without setting yourself apart with biased languages, actions or preferences. Pretty much as how Jesus has done it, He has never regarded Himself better than the others but found to be interacting, healing and blessing people of all sizes and shapes.

rsz_1mbp_pinkAt the end of the day, whatever mom type you are now, your provision will never come from your single-income or your double-income. Most of our big blessings did not really come from my pay envelope but from other channels of blessings that God has used in the past. Your decision about what lifestyle to keep for your children is a decision you have to make with your spouse and will come with different set of responsibilities. As long as your mom role does not take you away from your real priorities, do not entertain any form of guilt about not delivering enough. After all, the key is trusting God for your ability to mother. Count on His infinite grace to make your God-given mom-role work for you.

Read Up : Quick Help Here

Have you ever had instances when you needed to tell any of your kids: “Just a minute, I’ll just finish this off.” Or another version that tries to buy more time such as “Hang on, sweetie, I will be right there”. I am guilty of the same error when I choose to focus on trivial things such as checking mail, removing your shoes, taking a bath over looking over what your kids have created from school, watching the kiddos sing the latest song they have learned, helping your child get that toy on the upper shelf he can’t reach, or answering your child asking what the acronym OFW means. It is during these instances when daily helpers come in handy. It leaves you with fewer items on your head and gives you more bandwidth to focus on things that need your attention real time.

QuickHelp#1 – Internet on your Mobile Phone  Now that summer is here, kids have more time on their hands, this can only mean, more questions to answer, more activities to prepare to keep them from staring at the TV or video games at home, or more attention from them as soon as you get home from work. With internet at home, I no longer need to step out of the house just to check office hours of the nearest payment center.  Checking what movie is playing this weekend no longer means physically going to the cinema to check it out. Of course, while you decide to take a 15-minute breather before you join kids for dinner, hand them your phone and have them play Four Pics and One Word game.

QuickHelp#2 – Booking a Cab Online   There are working moms who prefer to drive themselves to and from work, it is easier for them to run errands right after work or head quickly to drop off or pick up the kids. And then there are working moms who prefer to commute because they get to squeeze in more sleep time when they do. And then there are working moms like myself who would prefer to book cabs with a mobile app. It takes away cost you will have to shoulder for daily parking fees, takes care of waiting time you will have to spend in queue at the cab lane. Other than the additional minimal amount for using the service, you just pay for whatever shows up on the meter, and even ask for receipt if you need to reimburse transpo expenses.

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QuickHelp#3 – Bookstore Trips with Kids   If you would ever need to run on quick errands while with the kids, a quick dash to the bookstores will give you your relief. I am so thankful that my kids always have to ask when the next bookstore trip would be. They have evolved from knowing when the movie trip is (which can be expensive) or when the next toy store trip is (which is even more expensive). Activity books and story books range cheaper than any decent educational toy or a movie ticket but then you get more value out of developing your kids’ habit to read. Before I queue up to pay the bills or before I go buy that additional ingredient for tomorrow’s meals, I put my eldest son in charge as my kids (and ever reliable ‘ate’) troop to the bookstore, browse endlessly in time for you to return and pay for the books they are getting. Just make sure your kids have fully mastered the basics of not talking to strangers and ‘ate’ has developed mastery over ensuring small kids do not stray away.

QuickHelp#4 – Public Holidays   Work can be real challenging and energy-draining if done without rest. So add if you must, other than your scheduled weekly two days off work, decide to take the holidays once in a while. Never neglect to arrange coverage when you do and keep the sensitivity to know if it is time to take the holiday or if it is time to stay for coverage. After all, you wouldn’t want to become the one whom everyone has to cover for.

Feel free to add to my list. Leave your quick help tips that work for you whether you are a working mom, stay at home mom or a work from home mom.  Enjoy your summer!

Summer is On! Beat the Heat Swimming Ideas!

Of course you have read about our Ilocos-La Union-Pagudpod adventure, the Philippines has a long list of other options you can choose from for summer. Giving you a quick rundown of where you can spend your free summer days with kids, with extended families, with friends, or with just about anyone who shares the same love for water, sun and fun! Stories in pictures below.

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Do not think you have already been to all parts of Pansol because there is an area in Pansol, which none of the resort guides along the street will be able to point you to. There is certainly more than one that gives you a mountaintop view of Laguna Bay while allowing you to have privacy from other nearby resorts.
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Just make sure you have sturdy car tires to endure all of the steep roads and sharp turns. And since it is in Laguna, fun starts on the road when you agree to convoy with others.
Travel at night, enjoy the overlooking lights of Laguna and stop at the highway gas station for dinner to give you enough strength for night swimming and videoke night.
Travel at night, enjoy the overlooking lights of Laguna and stop at the highway gas station for dinner to give you enough strength for night swimming and videoke night.
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Old church ruins Camiguin will show you what remained from old churches made out of shells. It is seated right next to the shoreline so you can enjoy both the breeze from the sea, the view, the shades of big, old trees and the historical beauty of the island
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Katibawasan Falls in Camiguin is the iconic film setting of countless local and international movies. It boasts of clean water and a mini-hike trail to and from the falls
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Bura Soda Water park is where you can see pools numbered not with depth but with temperature. It is a cold spring pool that will make your body shiver even when right under the sun. It is weird and fun to realize how cold the water is despite the glaring afternoon sun
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A visit to Puerto Princesa Palawan is never complete without taking the Underground river boat ride. It is an almost-an-hour underground adventure you take on the boat, with a “bangkero” giving you a complete low-down of each minute part of the cave, including cave structures formed hundreds of years ago. You will have to ensure perfect weather before your boat leaves the port of Palawan as waves can get really strong along the way.
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Mt. Famy, a string of three mountain slopes, base is off Siniloan where after climbing, you can get the water surprise of your life with three falls waiting, Buruwisan Falls, Batya Batya Falls and Sampaloc Falls. Trail is mostly steep and can be leg-breaking so train and walk around first if you decide to go
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Buruwisan Falls
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Hundred Islands, where you can spend days and days of exploring each island for swimming, hiking, jumping off to water and island hopping. Tried counting all the big islands, came up to 30+ but never got to finish all hundred that gave the name its place
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10 meter jump from the side ridges. Must try adventure and leap of faith (literally!) Trick is do not take too long waiting for your turn, it will give you too much time to start worrying about the jump, you will never get to jump. So take the spot, have everyone count 1 to 3 then jump. Make sure you fold your hands to your body and ensure you land feet first.

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Three hours white water rafting in Cagayan De Oro. With the Bugsay main man giving you instructions how to row appropriate for each rapid. It boasts of 14 big rapids with the last one you take without the raft. Instructions to just lay still on the white foamy water, until rapid subsides was nerve-wracking and heart-thumping.  It was the longest 3 minutes of my life to be bobbing on and under white water. After the rapid, all had a laugh and we had to sing: Still (Hillsong)
Three hours white water rafting in Cagayan De Oro. With the Bugsay main man giving you instructions how to row appropriate for each rapid. It boasts of 14 big rapids with the last one you take without the raft. Instructions to just lay still on the white foamy water, until rapid subsides was nerve-wracking and heart-thumping. It was the longest 3 minutes of my life to be bobbing on and under white water. After the rapid, all had a laugh and we had to sing: Still (Hillsong)
Anicycle at Kampo Juan in Bukidnon. After swimming in CDO, head to Bukidnon and never miss the side trip to complete this. Two suspended bicycles while you ride them on harness. No matter how scary it gets to cross the 120 meter distance, do not stop pedalling, otherwise, you will find yourself in the middle of an 80meter-high (altitude) bike ride.
Anicycle at Kampo Juan in Bukidnon. After swimming in CDO, head to Bukidnon and never miss the side trip to complete this. Two suspended bicycles while you ride them on harness. No matter how scary it gets to cross the 120 meter distance, do not stop pedalling, otherwise, you will find yourself in the middle of an 80meter-high (altitude) bike ride.
Caramoan Islands Highlights: see where they film Survivor (your time of visit will determine which Survivor show is filming, Back when we did, it was Survivor Sweden filming). However, since the Survivor islands are off limits to tourists, there are a lot more islands you can choose from. In fact, we had 5 islands to visit including Gota beach with small caves to explore and Sabitang Laya
Caramoan Islands Highlights: see where they film Survivor (your time of visit will determine which Survivor show is filming, Back when we did, it was Survivor Sweden filming). However, since the Survivor islands are off limits to tourists, there are a lot more islands you can choose from. In fact, we had 5 islands to visit including Gota beach with small caves to explore and Sabitang Laya
Polillo Island, there are two ways to get there, off Real Quezon port or through Infanta Quezon. The two hour roro ride from Quezon island will take you to Polillo. Take another 45 minute boat ride to the ocean and you will be able to see pockets of islands right in the middle of the ocean, which only appear during low tide. They seem like pools with algae floor and countless coral hills everywhere
Polillo Island, there are two ways to get there, off Real Quezon port or through Infanta Quezon. The two hour roro ride from Quezon island will take you to Polillo. Take another 45 minute boat ride to the ocean and you will be able to see pockets of islands right in the middle of the ocean, which only appear during low tide. They seem like pools with algae floor and countless coral hills everywhere

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Mom-Friendly Hobbies You Can Try Anytime

I have always wondered how working moms are perceived from the eyes of strong women.  So took the time to look up how strong women like Princess Diana, Maya Angelou, Anita Roddick, JK Rowling and Joyce Meyer regard playing the role of a working mom. But you know how web surfing has a way of leading you to pages that interest you? The past weekdays and weekends have been a crazy ride for me, with coffee dates on catch up plans left and right, movie dates, haircut and bookstore trips with kids, working lunches and social dinners, plus Sofia’s graduation to attend (super happy about being able to squeeze in lash extensions and nails buffed and painted). My non-thinking surfing habit kicked in after my Sunday watch work-from-home mode, and the pages reminded me that summer is just around the corner. This should give moms like me, respite from busy mornings and takes away several things off our to-do-list (e.g. PTC meetings, test reviews, contest preps with kids, join book fairs in school).

This got me started with finding out a list of options about how I will spend my spare time for summer. Alternately doing it with the scheduled swimming trips with fambam, the list below will surely give you more than enough reasons to look forward to summer.

  1. Train for a Marathon – This brings me back to times when my husband and I have taken lots of active adventures together and 12 years of marriage is not time to stop. It was a milestone to have climbed up Mount Mayon with my husband with a guide and slept at Camp 2 overnight (with our guide leaving us for the night!). I remember preparing with tons of jogging and running around to get my feet and legs ready for the 5-hour climb. Training for a hobby1picmarathon is something you can squeeze in, in the morning now that school is out, you won’t have to get up so early and spend this free time with an early run with hubby. Quality time with hubby and physical benefits in one.
  2. Create Terrariums – I’m not sure about you, but there is something that sight of hobbypic2terrarium does to me, it reminds me how beautiful any indoor or outdoor space can get as soon as you place bottled/glass-jar-plants together. Not to mention that creating one lets you express your creativity, quiets you and allows you to get the recharging you need for the week. Get soil/sand/rock of different texture and sizes, plants and you are ready to create.
  3. Furniture Makeover – Instant makeover idea I have been mulling over to have is to have uniformed black and white lace theme across the rooms in the house. It can be as simple as using a black and white lace dining tablecloth, couch upholstery with the black and white lace fabric or dressing up an accent wall. If black and white lace is not your cup of tea, you can use your preferred fabric colour and design all you like.hoppybic3hobbypic4hobbypic5
  4. Update Pictures around the House – You know when you would have all the time in your hands right after you give birth and so almost always, would update all the frames with baby pictures but then never get around to updating the pictures as kids grow up. That is the case with me. Would love to look into family gallery and get creative with how you will hang them or display them around the house. You can veer away from just putting all frames on tabletops, like I do. I am looking forward to creating a gallery wall with tiered planks, along the walls at the staircase or even print them out as a blind for the biggest window in the house.hobbypic6hobbypic7hobbypic8
  5. Recycling Projects – I actually have a long list I will work on: logs from cut and trimmed trees to be used as planters or backyard chairs. Husband’s old car tires I can turn into outdoor chairs or a mini sandbox for my David! And of course, ending a school year, there are the old workbooks that the younger kids will never be able to use. The plan is to paint all the workbooks solid white, and upcycle them as a nightstand. I can also cover and snack boxes with book pages and automatically create shabby chic accessory. hobbypic9

Hobbies do not need to be expensive, just remind yourselves that a hobby is not as fun or not as meaningful when done alone. Have your spouse and the kids join in. Take pictures and add them to your growing list of daily joy. Summer officially starts now! hobbypic10hobbypic11hobbypic13hobbypic12

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Working Mom’s Angels : Helpers and Yayas

First off, look at the faces of my kids and tell me if you think they can survive the house alone.

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Have you ever returned home from work and see the house in a big mess and felt more tired than you were at the office? It is part of our blessings to find ‘angels’ who help us keep an eye on the kids and keep the house in order while I am at work. On this blog, we will refer to our ever reliable yaya’s and helpers as ‘angels’. Part of our blessings from this day and age are countless ideas for short-prep-time-meals, doing the groceries accurately, setting house rules with the kids and with the angels, and of course, ensuring that you stay on top of everything that concerns the house before you head to work, while you are at work and as soon as you get home from work. Today’s read will not just focus on how we can ensure productivity for our angels while we are not physically present at home but can also help the moms who have just taken their maternity leave and are preparing to go back to work. How do we really ensure that chores are completed and house is spic and span, even while we are at work?

When agreeing with your helpers, it will surely make things easy if you are able to establish what you can tolerate and what you cannot. The sooner that your angels learn what you value in the house, then the sooner it will also be for them to know which ones are acceptable and which ones aren’t. If they know that you want all trash cans from your bathrooms cleaned up every night, then they can make a mental note about it and add it to their daily tasks. Yep, we all should start with an agreement which ones need to be completed daily, weekly and monthly. Below’s list is a suggested list you can also follow. The list is based on mine but feel free to tweak parts of it so it can work according to your preference, house demands, or number of angels at home.

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There are tasks that I need to be personally on top of which include but not limited to:  cleaning up closets, keeping out of season items, arranging to schedule repairmen/maintenance home services, taking out items for donating/recycling/throwing away. Also, work your angels rest day around these chores. If you have more than one, juggle to maintain fair division or alternate assignments so each of them can experience to have all tasks regularly.

Holidays from work, like today (Australian Labor Day) gives you an extra day for chores or an extra day for spending time with kids. Plan your holidays around kids more than you would around chores.

Please remember that how we treat our helpers determine how our kids will treat theirs in the future. They are part of our family, as much as they are blessings to us so keep a constant goal of being a blessing to them, too.

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Does Life Come with a ‘Pause’ Button? Project: Moms Keeping Still

Looking up the dictionary for the word ‘still’, it is defined by Merriam Webster as an adjective that means, not moving, lacking motion or activity. The idiom ‘keep still’ is defined as “restrain or to control someone or something so that a person or thing cannot move”.  What I don’t get about the word still is it does not come with a specific timeline. Whether it has been defined as an adjective or as an idiom, it doesn’t come with a contextual timeline. It is normal for working moms to start busy days pressed for time in prepping for breakfast, while your son asks that you help him find his left sock, while daughter tells you she has forgotten to do her homework last night, plus husband needs you to iron his favourite shirt, plus the dog is sick. But mom readers, how do we really keep still or is it ever possible to keep still? I guess it makes sense to define first, what we need stillness from?

Keeping Still for Quiet Heart “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”  (Psalm 46:10) This verse tells me that being still can mean maintaining a quiet heart. The world offers a long list of options to achieve stillness or to keep hearts quiet. There is yoga, a massage fix, me-time, a new relationship or getting out of a relationship, therapy, horoscope and even wearing charms. The list is endless. There is no rocket science formula we can follow, stop exhausting yourself in the process, and just take God’s challenge to be still and know that He is God. He is God over your pain, your hurt, your disappointment, your frustration. God is big enough to handle your emotions. We are always just one prayer away from telling God that we need Him to work on our emotions and grant us a quiet heart. We often hear doctors say: “I have done all I could, the only thing left to do is to pray”. You know why this is so? Because we never allowed God to be our first option. The solution is a give-away. The option to pray should be the first option and not the last.

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Keeping Still for Peace Exodus 14:14 promised that the Lord will fight for us, and we have only to be silent. This is not something I made up, the Bible was clear about keeping distractions at bay by keeping silent. It may seem ironic but the only way we can allow God to work through our need for peace is by not adding to our own noise. Just as we are sure that a person who has the most number of hours of sleep or someone who has nothing to do day after day is not the most peaceful one can become, ‘peace’ now has been defined as keeping a heart full of faith over what God can do over a very chaotic season. Prayers of peace pointing to admission of the fact that as long as we are alive, we cannot escape problems but we can get better at coping with it. Accurate picture of peace is God equipping us to walk on water, while admitting that the water will not always be as calm as we want it to be.

Keeping Still for Rest Asked an American friend about the appropriate use of ‘keep still’ and according to him, he would use ‘keep still’ as an ask to keep someone from moving, but not necessarily to keep someone from talking. It is interesting to know that ‘keep still’ when used as an expression, then, would lose the definition of ‘still’ as ‘silent’ when used separately as a word. Isaiah 30:15 has expressly told Israel that repentance and rest is their salvation and quietness and trust is their strength. Mom readers, wanting and praying for rest from distractions? Trust God and you never have to put on your plate more things than you can handle. You will rest in having confidence from God and focus on things that God wants you to do.

Keeping Still to Hear God Psalms 4:4 …Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. How do I hear the voice of God amidst multi-tasking all throughout the day? Do we wait to hear Him audibly? Do we miss to recognize God speaking through the beautiful surroundings, the surprise blessings, the gift of good health or the gift of marriage? Do we miss to get it when God points us to a new direction, or when he wants us to stop or to pause? Have we grown immune to believing God for more and depended on what our salaries can provide? Have we stopped listing our faith goal based on what God can do versus what we can afford with our family’s double-income?

So no matter what life may bring tomorrow or in the coming years ahead, working moms, stay at home moms and work from home moms have a lifeline we can take anytime…prayer. God’s Word is full of promises around blessings of a quiet heart, peace, rest and hearing from God. After all, keeping still is also having the patience to wait on God and on His perfect timing.

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Working Moms, There is a God who Answers Prayers!

Capped off the week at work with celebrating International Women’s Day. Thanking God to be part of a company that celebrates women and everything that is about women. It was a sea of pink when both men and women from my workplace came in clothed in pink. It is a blessing to have fun at work. This is what makes work not seem like work. Twelve years of marriage and four kids after, it was a journey of ups and downs, challenges and answered prayers, failures and successes. Over the years, God has remained faithful and always has a way of surprising us with good news, all at the right time. As a family, we keep jar of answered prayers we get to refill at the end of each year. My big kids get to write their answered prayers for each year, while my two small kids get to draw them or anything that represents their answered prayers. Come to think of it, I do not need to wait until end of year, listing down my blessings now. Mom friends, read up and thank God for the blessings that can always come your way.

#ThankYouLordforGodlyHusbands

One of the biggest blessings I continually thank God for is a husband who loves God more than He loves anything in this world. This has allowed me to have a husband who stands up in leadership especially at home. My husband works as a full time pastor (now training to be a church planter), a husband who is not defined by what he does but considers family as his first ministry. Someone who is able to do the things he has his hands on, because it is God who empowers him to do so. Part of the blessing I thank God for my husband is the fact that he supports me, encourages me, speaks to my life, and is on a lifelong project of outdoing each other’s love. More than anything, I appreciate having a husband who does not keep a scorecard of misses versus wins, but always acts out of love, patience and understanding.  Most of our best dates are spent dreaming and praying about what we will do as we grow old together.

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Working Mom Perks from Husband: weekly dates, bestfriend, adventure buddy, dream/prayer partner, surprise sweet calls on a busy workday, faith/encouragement advocate.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up…Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm…Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NIV)

#ThankYouLordforFourKids

Countless times when I look at my kids and then I start wondering how God has equipped my kids to become who they are now. We did the same parenting to all four kids and surrounded them with the same angels (family and friends) but God continues to amaze us as they grow up uniquely different from each other. At their young age, they reflect to be confident kids and we continue to celebrate small and big milestones such as the first time Sofia has learned to order food for herself at a fast food chain (something I was unable to do until I got to high school!). The greatest blessing about kids is the gift of good health and them knowing that life is never about winning but always about doing your best at all times. More than celebrating the medals, we celebrate when the kids are able to give their best, be happy for the winners when they lose and believe God for more successes and opportunities in the future.

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Working Mom Perks from Kids: little hands and welcome kisses on face, countless school stories, movie buddies, cuddle and squeeze time, trying to fit in one bed on Saturday nights

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate. (Psalms 127:3-5 ESV)

#ThankYouLordforMeTime

Friends are my accomplices for my Me-Time. It can be as simple as a white choco mocha from a coffee shop or a good read just before bedtime. Working moms may always have their switches ‘on’ but it helps to get refreshing and recharging. Do what works for your passion. Hobbies are also welcome such as baking, photography or sewing. I know of a mom who would paint her own nails (I do, too!) or take long hot baths right after a tough work day. There is nothing that a convo with hubby and kids over food or drinks cannot make better. Try a trip to the bookstore with kids. Whether or not you find it weird, staying with kids at home over weekends with nothing planned is just the best fix after a work week for me.

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Working Mom Perks from Friends: trying out new restaurants, spa trips, book and magazine exchange, driving to late night visits to friends’ homes and getting lovely late night visits at our home

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24, 25)

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What “Not to Say When Speaking to a Working Mom”

Clock strikes midnight and just as half of the world is ZZZzzzing their way to sleep, the working moms may still be awake on their beds, completing a mental ‘to-do-list’ for the following morning. If you are a working mom, I am sure you work at getting everything move like clockwork. When in a room with working moms, you definitely do not want to get dagger looks from them should you find yourself mistakenly saying these things. Read up.

“You’re Working, Why?”I am not so sure if this question was meant to be answered when asked. I mean, what can be an appropriate answer for it, anyway? The truth that you have to work because you gotta work. From Sarah Jessica Parker’s movie: I Don’t Know How she Does it, she was caught saying: “Without work, I am not me but without you (talking to the husband) and the kids, I am nothing.” So believe us when we say, we know our priorities, we definitely do not work to feed an ego that needs to be promoted every year, we also do not keep lavish lifestyles to maintain with our double-income pays, but we do it with family and kids in mind. Just as the rest of the stay-at-home moms do when they plan the menu. The work we do should also be no different from the same value you get as a work-at-home mom. No mom type is better than the other, we all get better at making any season work for us, for our marriage and for our kids. So next time you meet a working mom who juggles work, parenting, family, house care, travel, ministry, me-time, don’t ask why because with God’s grace, it can be done.

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“Don’t take Shortcuts” – there’s 24 hours for everyone but working moms tend to take multi-tasking to the highest level. In cases when there’s just cooking, homework and doing the groceries to juggle, we need to add show up to work on time, do that report, arrange kids’ dental appointment while at work, call up the husband while in transit from work, wash up and get ready for couple time at night. Shortcuts are among working moms’ best buddies. Allow us to use instant kitchen mixes, mincer, automatic juicers, buy ready-to-wear kids’ costumes, speed-read and write and watch while attempting to have weekend afternoon naps (if that’s ever possible).

“You are not coming? But you have to be there!” – If all working moms will say ‘yes’ to everything on the calendar, we will have to be at least three places in one time. If you find a working mom declining a party or two, or missing to go and celebrate your baby’s first haircut, or skipping the late night meet up, there must be a very good reason for her to do that. You have to remember that weekends are not the best time to socialize and keep in touch for the working moms because these are the only days we get to stay with the kids for a full day. We look forward to staying home or stepping out with the kids on weekends when the rest of the neighbourhood moms plan who to meet this Saturday or what event to attend on Sunday.

I get guided with how God has wired me to move. There is nothing you need to do that you cannot tag your kids along. Life is not paused when you work and have kids. There is no better version of my life than enjoying to witness my kids’ milestones while enjoying the blessing of work. I do not miss anything even in this season. By all means, teach Sunday school with kids in tow. Attend that book club luncheon while kids go to playdate. Date and encourage a friend while kids date ‘Dad’, or while in between bookstore/library visits. Enjoy that newly-opened restaurant with kids, just make sure you have something else to offer on the table (e.g. quick activity book or David’s favourite dino toys). In the same way, my kids also do not regard work as something burdensome. It is not just another means to buy milk. Me having to work teaches them to be independent, to be caring towards mom when I get home, to be conscious about spending, to be aware that Mom’s time at home can always be turned to another ‘fun and quality weekend moment together’.

Feel free to read up Proverbs 31 – Wife of a Noble Character or Chasing Superwoman by Susan DiMickile.

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Changing the World through the Lens of a Working Mom: One Kid at a Time

At the dinner table, my ten-year-old Kyle was telling us about the story of a classmate (born midget), who has always been bullied in school. I did not know what to say. But I was really glad that none of my other kids found the story funny. They automatically showed empathy towards Kyle’s classmate and I uttered a whispered prayer of thanks for blessing me with such compassionate kids. But what does today teach our kids? If left alone to themselves, what will they pick up from TV, from the internet, from school, from today’s music, from whatever’s cool with Generation Z? You may think that as a working mom, you will never be able to affect the world. But you actually can, by starting with your own kids. Please note that the list below include items that are random but relevant to my kids’ age (all under eleven years old).

News Snooze – As parents, we may tend to always tune to the news telecasts in the morning, or right before dinner or late night. But with the young minds watching with you, what do they pick up when protests are happening left and right, when they understand that there had been several Presidents ousted, high-ranking government officials caught in lies.

Life-Teach # 1 – Respect people in authority. God knows what He is doing and is in control of the steering wheel of your journey called life. He must have a very good reason for allowing things to happen. When we go against the people in authority over our lives, it’s similar to telling God that He may possibly have been wrong about assigning who your parents are. Instead of instilling hate, teach the kids to trust God with peace in their hearts. There is no injustice that will ever take you away from what God has in store for you.  For all you know, God will use you to change the hearts of the same people you are complaining about.

Plug and Play – with countless gadgets that allow us to take music anywhere, songs just inevitably ring in our heads and they do the same with your kids. Not all catchy tunes sing positive notes. Just as not everything that feels good is right for you.

Life-Teach # 2 – Develop and instill kids’ habit to listen and understand lyrics of each song they hear. Turn singing moments with kids as teaching moments and create an avenue to break wrong mindsets that sound and seem okay when sang. Whatever happened to the classic Bingo tune and Old McDonald songs? Yep, replaced by the jingles and soundtrack from the show they repeatedly watch on TV.

Net Filter – The internet has been the most brilliant educational tool ever invented but it can also be the most negative influence that our kids can possibly have. With violent games, absurd games (e.g. Dumb Ways to Die), and non-thinking videos on YouTube, the net can be a lair for a buffet of wrong mindsets.

Life-Teach # 3 – Set the values that you would like to have as a family. You can never go wrong with kids easily able to say ‘No’ to war games, or to creating social media accounts, or to watching inappropriate videos online. Because they know what their values are and their family values dictate and build a strong filter system for whatever is not part of them. Remember that if you do not teach them the right thing, the internet will have a say on it, the video game character will have an opinion about it and social media will set another standard of truth for it. Depend heavily on the Bible and have your kids know who God is and what He can do over anything and everything under the sun.

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Big waves are actually formed by thousands of ripples. And this list may seem like a small ripple but when done consistently and accurately, can create big waves, impact and shape the way our kids and how the next generation will look like. Allow one generation to do the wrong thing and you start seeing it on hundred more generations after them. I do not have to work at affecting the world, I only need to be faithful with what God has given me and I create never-ending ripples to my next generation.

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