Sunday, March 23, 2014

Imperfect Words that Created a Connection

I sipped salabat (ginger tea) as I read one of the recent books I bought. I have read a number of stories from the book before I came to this page with these lines that seemed to jump out of it to pull me in.
"They may not have been the perfect words, but they were the right ones. My words created a connection between writer and reader..."
These lines were from Chicken Soup for the Soul -- Inspiration for Writers.
I have received a number of encouraging words from my readers in the past. These messages were either comments in my blog, emailed to me or sent to my mobile phone. Others were spoken to me in person while there were some sent through my book's Facebook page.
These lines from the book reminded me that though the words in the books, articles and reflections that I write are not perfect, God has used them and is continuously using them to create a connection between me and my readers.
I feel blessed to be given this gift and this opportunity.
I believe that stories have a way of stirring our souls and this writer's story that I read in the book stirred mine this afternoon.
I thank God for the reminder to let go of perfection and to simply heed the call to write when it comes... for imperfect though we are and our words, He can use them to bless other souls.
Do you also struggle with perfection as you write? You're not alone. Many writers go through that. Feel free to share your experience by leaving a comment. Then, read those lines I quoted above a number times and write something from the heart.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Laundry Sat: A Mountain of Laundry and a Torrent of Love

Two plastics hampers overflowing with laundry. There are also plastic bags filled with more laundry -- one is filled with delicates, another is filled with used rags, and another filled with bed sheets and curtains.
That was the scene in our maid's room that currently has no occupant because we don't have a maid right now.
We've been sending our dirty laundry to the laundry shop outside our village's gate for months. But my husband computed the monthly cost and told me one day that we'd save more money by buying a fully automatic washing machine. Thus, we bought a washing machine one Saturday.
The following Saturday (that was last Saturday), my husband taught me how to use our new household help.
My first time to use our new washing machine.
I needed him to demonstrate to me how to use it because I'm the kind of woman who needs demos to learn with machines and other technology-related items.
So, we began by loading the kid's dirty laundry (colored clothes first before the whites) inside the washing machine. 
I'm glad that it's so easy to use. You just need to put in the detergent and fabric softener and bleach (if you use fabric softener and bleach) and the clothes. Then, attach it's hose to your faucet. It will automatically fill up the tub with water that dissolves the detergent. Then, it begins to wash your clothes. You just choose the correct setting for the kind of clothes or items that you want to wash. Then, you can do other things while your washing machine takes care of your dirty laundry. You can just come back for the clothes after they are washed.
I love how this washing machine can give me and husband extra time! We can clean up or tidy the house while the clothes are in it. I can cook food while doing the laundry. I can homeschool my kids while it takes care of washing our dirty clothes. I can work on my laptop or take a nap if I want to. 
You can also dry the clothes in it but we like to hang the clothes to air-dry to be more environment-friendly. Anyway, it only takes a few minutes to hang them. I also like that the clothes are almost dry when you take them out of the washing machine so air-drying them takes only less than a half day or a couple of hours on a really sunny day.
So much for our mountain of laundry! Now, let me share with you about that torrent of love. 
Since it's the feast day of St. Joseph, husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus Christ, I'd like to honor my husband through this post as well.
Having him by my side during these maid-less months made these past months less burdensome. He has been there to literally share the load (laundry and all!). In fact, he is one of the reasons why I find reason to rejoice on a terribly exhausting day.
I'm grateful that he has been coming home early enough so we can hear Mass daily with our kids and have dinner together. I'm grateful that he makes time to do some chores before he goes to his office or at night.
Just like St. Joseph, he is the strong man behind our family. He provides not just for our financial needs but for our other needs as well. He's the one who usually reminds us to pray the Rosary. He also helps me in disciplining the kids. I'm grateful to God that he gave me a husband who chooses to be involved in our children's lives.
Here's a blog post I wrote to honor him last February titled Recognize Love in the Little Every Day Things.
Do you also have a mountain of laundry somewhere in your house? I hope you find a torrent of love as well amidst the dirty laundry.   

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Do you want to win over breastfeeding challenges?

"Is he getting any milk?"
"Are you sure you have milk?"
"Maybe your milk is not enough."
"Your child is already a toddler. It's time to give him formula."
These are some of the questions and statements that many breastfeeding moms get from people around them. And these questions can a lot of times discourage a breastfeeding mom.
Have you experienced being asked any or all of these questions?
Did you also doubt your capacity to nourish your child through your breasts when you were asked these questions?
You are not alone.
You are not the first to experience that.
I have also heard these questions and statements from many different people.
Like most first-time moms, I was easily affected by those remarks. I chose not to give up easily though.
By the grace of God and with a lot of hard work and sacrifices, I was able to achieve my breastfeeding goals for both of my sons. I was able to overcome the breastfeeding challenges that came my way.
I consider it a win every time I experience something that was initially doubted by other people.
For example, one of the common questions people would ask is if the baby is getting any milk from us, breastfeeding mothers.
Thus, I consider it a win every time I hear my child swallow milk while breastfeeding from me. I also consider it a win whenever I hear my child burp after each feeding session. Sometimes, while my youngest child breastfeeds from me, the milk from my other breast where he is not latched would squirt when he pinches my other breast.
All these disprove what others were saying or thinking about me and my capacity to nourish my children.
To date, my almost 28 month old son is still breastfeeding from me and I don't supplement him with formula. He already eats solid food but that's all. So far, he's healthy, very active and smart. 
Aside from those wins I mentioned above, I'm most grateful for the win of having a strong bond between me and my children.
Yesterday, my youngest son said, "Thank you, Mommy."
"For what?" I asked.
"For dede (he was referring to my breasts)," he said.
Then, he hugged me as usual. And I kissed his forehead and his chubby cheeks.
My husband and I watched a movie before where the husband and wife would ask each other their high points and low points each day. We adapted it and made it our nightly habit before sleeping. Our kids eventually joined us. When our youngest son finally learned how to speak, he gamely joined in our conversations as well. Guess what his usual answer is when asked what his high point for the day was? "Dede!"
That has always been his answer until very recently when he would also add "playing with toy bulldozer and car" or "going to Mass."
Do you want to experience these winning moments also?
If you are a first-time parent, an expectant parent or a mom who wants to try breastfeeding for the first time or again, I invite you to join How to Win Over Breastfeeding Challenges, my upcoming talk and bok signing event on March 29, 2014 from 1 to 5 PM at the Medela House (#29 1st Street, New Manila, Q.C.). I'm excited to share with you more about how I won over my breastfeeding challenges in the past years that I had been breastfeeding my two sons. 
There will be another speaker as well -- Ms. Joyce Martinez. She's a registered nurse, a certified lactation consultant, and the in-house lactation counselor of Medela Moms. She was also a Lactation Manager at St. Luke's Medical Center. She conducts talks on the ABC's of Lactation Management for nurses and breastfeeding classes for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.

Here's what will happen when you register and join this event?
* You'd be able to distinguish between breastfeeding myths and facts.
* You'll learn breastfeeding basics (breastfeeding positions, common challenges and how to handle them).

* You'll learn tips on how to win over breastfeeding challenges from the author and other moms who have triumphed over their breastfeeding challenges.
* You'll meet other moms/expectant parents who can support you in your decision to breastfeed your baby.
* You'll get a signed copy of the book
Breastfeeding: A Journey Worth Taking as your hand out.
* You'll get free snacks courtesy of Mama Chows and Moringana.Pregnant and breastfeeding moms who will attend will get free lactation cookies from Mama Chows. All guests will get giveaways from Moringana and anti-skid baby socks from St. Patrick.

You'll also get a chance to win raffle prizes.

The learning fee is only P600 for individuals. Couples only need to pay P1,000. I highly recommend that moms come with their husbands because much of your success would be dependent on his support and belief in your capacity to nourish your child through your breasts. This learning fee is a small investment compared to the savings that your family will get from months or even years of breastfeeding your child. A family sometimes spends around a thousand pesos in a week for formula and that can go higher or lower depending on the brand they choose or that their pediatrician would recommend. (Thus, I also recommend that you choose a pediatrician who's a breastfeeding advocate.)


You may pay through bank deposit (BPI or BDO) or through Paypal.
You may register for the event by clicking here

In case you are not free on that day, please feel free to share about this event to your friends or relatives who might benefit from these talks and book.

You can also order a copy of my latest book by sending me an email at or by sending a PM at my book's Facebook Page. It's only P499 per copy plus shipping fee of P100 for Metro Manila/Luzon area and P150 for other provinces. Click like and follow so you'd get updates on future events or offers.

Let me share excerpts of what other moms who read my book say about it.

"I am thankful that Teresa thought of writing this book. It is just pure inspiration for moms who really plan to breastfeed for the first year/s of their child’s life. I recall turning to Google for answers that I needed when it came to breastfeeding, but with this book, you get so much more. You get to read not only the technicalities and the straight-forward facts, but you also get a glimpse into the life of REAL women; women who have experienced the same situations and problems. They share, not only facts, but even what they felt during these experiences." - Mommy Ginger, Mompreneur and Blogger (Click her name to read her complete book review.)

"This can actually be every nursing mom’s BFF – breastfeeding friend. It will constantly remind her that feeding her child, (who developed in her womb and came out from her body) through her breasts is indeed, one of the purest and ultimate forms of LOVE." - Mommy Amihan, Writer for Philippine Online Chronicles (Click on her name to read the full book review where she enumerated 5 reasons why my book is different from other breastfeeding books.)
"Breastfeeding: A Journey Worth Taking by  Teresa Gumap-as Dumadag is formatted to make reading easier for busy moms. This book is very useful for firs time breastfeeding moms and for those who are encountering some challenges. With the author’s and the shared stores, this book will inspire and empower moms to breastfeed, no matter how challenging and that breastfeeding is definitely a journey worth taking." - Mommy Que, Blogger (Click on her name to read the full book review.)

Here's an email from one of the moms who read it.
"I'm currently breastfeeding my 3week old child, and I never expected that breastfeeding will be this challenging. Thanks to your book, it has inspired and encouraged me to pursue breastfeeding." - Mommy Alica

Friday, March 7, 2014

The Pianists

He runs to the piano and sits on the bench. He tinkers with the keys with his little fingers for a few minutes. Then, he helps out in turning it off and covering it.
That has been his routine after every Mass that we attend on weekdays. He'd eagerly say hi to our pianist friend Tito Ed who serves daily in our parish by providing the music for the Mass. Then, he'd sit on the bench, play for a few minutes, and learn from Tito Ed.
My 5-year old son has been practicing Amen these past days with Tito Ed. Yesterday, he practiced Amen again and he got it right perfectly on his right hand. His Dad and I, together with his mentor, were all pleased and proud.
This photo was proudly taken by my son's mentor
using his own mobile phone last year.
Tito Ed showed Yanthy how to play Amen with his left hand as soon as he saw that Yanthy can already play it using his right hand.
Our family has been blessed to have met Tito Ed. He has been a source of inspiration to us by his example of service. We are also very happy to have found a friend in him. My kids love him and look up to him. They love to imitate him in church. They pretend that they are also playing the piano just like him. Lately, even my youngest son (2-year-old Mateo) would sit on that bench and try to play with his older brother. He helps in covering the piano too.
Tito Ed's encouraging words and actions help nurture my kids' love for music and their desire to serve God using their gift in music. I honor him for his patience and for focusing on the good in my kids. No wonder they always look forward to seeing him, greeting him, and being with him. 
Yanthy poses with Tito Ed after Mass last year on his 5th birthday.
Personally, I thank God for him for he is one of the answers to my prayers. I've been praying to God for mentors or role models for my eldest son especially in music because I know that my son loves music and is gifted in it. I'm so glad to have found one in Tito Ed.
I also feel excited for my son. I know that he'd learn to play more songs in the piano if he perseveres. I look forward to that day when my eldest son would play the piano in church, not after the Mass but during the Mass. Imagining that future scene tonight as I choose to dwell on this happy moment that I have witnessed last night brought tears to my eyes. That is one of my dreams as a mother... to see not one but all of my kids serving the Lord with their talent, time and treasure. Last night, God gave me a glimpse of that future and that is enough for me now to continue bringing my kids to Mass as often as I could.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Do Less to Give More This Lent

Welcome, friends!
I’m participating in the Catholic Bloggers Network 
Keep LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2014!
We’ll be sharing tips, stories and  experiences
that will help us focus on
 Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds
 and how to carry them out with 
LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE.
It's one of those nights again when I feel that I'm hardly making a dent at my ever-growing to-do list. But instead of working on some of the items on my list, I choose to write my thoughts about how I want to spend Lent this year with my family. I choose to pause from worrying about my deliverables because my heart and soul aches for silence and meditation.
I'm glad that it's Lent once again! I need this time for myself. I know that Lent is a season of grace and I choose to open my life to more of His graces during these 40 days.
As I strive to silence the noises around and within me, I heard God whisper to me, "Do less so you can give more."
I was thrilled with what I heard! I felt excited!
Thus, I resolved to:
1. Stick to our Lenten traditions instead of adding to them. In fact, I was thinking earlier if there is anything that I should let go of this year.
Here are some of our usual activities during Lent:
   a. Ash Wednesday Mass
   b. Donation box or Lenten Calendar - This year, I've decided to do  away with the calendar and just have the donation box. We used a cereal box again. We simply covered it with purple board and my eldest son Yanthy wrote "alms" to label the box. The kids were so eager to put coins inside.

   c. Hide the Alleluia. - This tradition is significant to Mateo this year because he looks forward to singing the Alleluia in the daily Mass. Let's see how these 40 day break would affect him.
   d. Go to confession.
   e. Visit a charitable institution to do an outreach activity. - I usually do this close to my birthday.
   f. Attend a Lenten recollection/retreat. - We usually attend one that Brother Bo Sanchez conducts each year (even when my husband and I were still single.)
   g. Visit churches on Holy Thursday and pray the Stations of the Cross. 
   h. Join the Triduum activities in the parish.
   i. Attend the Grand Easter Feast of our community (Light of Jesus). 
   j. Abstain on meat on Fridays of Lent and on Ash Wednesday. - Check out my latest post where I compiled some meatless recipes for Lent.
   k. Fast on some of our favorite foods/things. - This Lent, I've decided to fast on ice cream and chocolates.
   l. Read more Bible stories or books about Bible characters and watch movies related to Lent or Bible heroes. - This morning, the kids and I read their (children's) Bible and other board books based on the Bible. They also watched their latest favorite video on the Saints -- St. Matthew and St. John the Baptist.

You can read more about our Lenten practices in my previous post here and here, which was part of last year's Keep Love in Lent Link up too.
2. I will do less structured activities with the kids to give myself and the kids more time to play unstructured games and spontaneous conversations. I want to plan less so that I would stress less. For when I'm stressed, I'm easily irritated or angered. I'm less patient and forbearing. I easily snap. I'm not as loving as I want to be.
Sometimes, I do art and craft activities with the kids to help them understand the season more. This year, I will see if doing crafts again would contribute to my goal of being recharged in body and spirit and if this would make my kids experience more of God's love through me. If having these activities would make me more stressed, less patient and less loving, I'd probably skip this.
3. I want to do less work this season so I can have more time for prayer and reflection, savor the blessings that God has given me, and rejoice in my dreams that were already fulfilled and are now part of my new normal.

And because we now live in a house that's just behind a church and we've been attending daily Masses since we moved here, we will continue this practice this Lent. I will make time for more visits to the Adoration Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament without the kids and with the kids.

I will journal more about what God has been telling me or teaching me. I will write about the goodness of the Lord that I'm savoring at this time of my life as my way of expressing gratitude to Him and giving back the glory to His name.

I've noticed that I've been living a very fast-paced life and I have not really taken some time to rest big time since last year. I know that I need this because I had been working hard. This Lent, I want to let God minister to me in body and in spirit. I will let God breathe new life to me and refresh my spirit. I will take time to assess my life, where I am now, and where I want to go with God.
I can see mountains in front of me as I write this post. These mountains challenge my faith and my resolve. I choose however to look past these mountains and to focus on Jesus. I know that what I want to do and experience this Lent is impossible for man, but not with God.
So, tonight, I present my plans to God. I believe that He spurred me to write these down so I won't forget what I hope to experience and accomplish this Lent. 
To do less so I can give more of myself to God, my family, my friends and community is my way of keeping love in Lent this year. Loving myself more by giving God the opportunity to pour His love into my life so that I would have love to pour out to those around me, especially to those nearest me.

This Lent excites me! How about you? How do you plan to spend Lent this year? 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mommy TG's Recipes for Meatless Fridays of Lent and More

I was inspired last Lent to weekly share about some of the meatless recipes I know that are easy to prepare. I know that moms are always busy and it would be helpful to find recipes that they can quickly prepare even if they are not divas in the kitchen. It was also my way of reminding myself of other meal options I can include in our Lenten menu.

Surprisingly, these weekly posts got a lot of page views and most of these posts made their way to my Top 13 Posts for 2013. Thus, I've decided to write this post in preparation for Lent (which is starting tomorrow, Ash Wednesday) so that all the mommies who are cramming or who didn't have much time to do some menu planning before Lent can benefit from this post.

I'm arranging these posts in order of page views gained since I posted them last Lent (2013).

Let me also share with you my 4-Week Cycle Menu Plan for Lent, which I made years ago. Feel free to adapt or tweak it to suit your family's needs and preferences.

One of the reasons that I love writing and blogging is that I can go back to what I wrote in the past and benefit from my previous writings. With a blog, going back to these useful and helpful posts is much easier because there's a search button. :)

Thank God for these blessings!

Before I forget, I'd like to share another recipe for a truly blessed and meaningful Lent this year.

1. Marinate on God's Word daily. Let your soul soak in it for at least 15 minutes each day. You can make it 5-5-5. 5 minutes in the morning, 5 minutes at noon and 5 minutes before bed.

2. Add bits of Prayer throughout the day. Just like salt and pepper, this is best added not just at one point but at different times.

3. Add some more Forbearance and Patience. This would tenderize your soul and form your character.

4. Sprinkle generously with Love.

5. Last but not least, serve with a warm Smile on your lips.
Hope this post helps you this Lent and beyond! Don't forget to go to Mass tomorrow!