Friday, January 22, 2016

From a 4-Hour Commute to Less Than a Minute

Once upon a time, one of my favorite past times was daydreaming. I would daydream when I'm happy. I would daydream when I'm bored.

I would daydream in school when I think that my teacher is taking too long at a topic that I have already learned or mastered.

I used to daydream a lot after lunch, when my younger brother and I were supposed to be taking our naps. I found it hard to shut my wild imagination during those times. So, I would often indulge myself with daydreaming instead. Sometimes, I daydream with my eyes shut (so I won't get scolded). Sometimes, I would daydream with my eyes open (when my grandmother is no longer looking or when she has already fallen asleep).

When I was already working, I would usually daydream during my commute -- either on my way to work or on my way home.

Do you know what was one of my favorite scenes in my daydreams then?

Being an employer or business owner who had multiple income streams and had plenty of money for travel and shopping for the things that I like!

Today, I'm living out my daydreams in a small scale. I'm not yet a business tycoon but I have started my own businesses. My mentor Bo Sanchez calls them microbusinesses. I don't mind. They are businesses just the same.

I'm also happy to enjoy some freedom to go to places I want to visit without having to ask permission from a boss for a leave or a vacation or without having to wait until weekend or my day off.

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During our family vacation in Baguio after Christmas.

I may not have A LOT of money YET like what I have imagined in my daydreams; but I have more than enough for my family's needs and some of our wants. And all these without having to wake up very early to drag myself to endure a long commute to my workplace.

I used to have at least 2 LONG HOURS of commute to my workplace. I was living with my parents then in San Mateo, Rizal. I would first ride a UV Express or FX to Cubao. From Cubao, I would take the MRT to Ayala. If I miss our office shuttle from Makati to Sucat (which usually happened to me), I would take a cab to our head office in Sucat. It was a long, tiring and costly commute! I had to endure long lines to get a ride and after that endure the long ride to my destination.

That was just one way. Those 2 HOURS could stretch to 3 HOURS in the evening or at night because of traffic and difficulty to catch a ride home.

Now, you know why I had so much time to daydream then!

That's why I worked hard also on making my dream come true of one day leaving the rat race and having my own business, working my desired hours and doing the things that I love.

I loved my job then. But I didn't love everything about it and I didn't love that I had to endure those long commutes to and from work. That is also partly the reason why I would rather have an exhausting schedule of out-of-town or out-of-the-country training programs or workshops. When I need to run a workshop, I don't need to report to our main office unless the venue of the workshop is our head office. I would hire a cab from my residence and go straight to the airport. From there, I fly to my destination, take a cab or wait for the hotel service to bring me to my hotel. Sometimes, the travel time to the hotel or to another province by plane is shorter than my daily commute. I also liked that all my travel expenses were shouldered by my employer. But it was still tiring because there were a lot of training programs and workshops I needed to conduct nationwide. Losing my voice due to sore throat was one of my frequent ailments then.

These days, I can go to my work station in less than a minute! Why? Because I work from home and my home office is just a few steps away from my bedroom. I can even work in my bedroom if I want to. I don't do it anymore though. I have decided that my bedroom is mainly for rest.

Do you also want to work from the comforts of your own home office?

Are you currently an employee who also dreams of becoming an employer one day? Do you also suffer from long commute or travel time? Do you daydream too?

I have good news for you!

I'm holding a Mastermind Session on January 30 from 8:30 am to 10:30 am. We'll have breakfast together. My treat! I will be sharing ways on How You Can Skyrocket Your Transition From Employee to Employer. Would that interest you?

From Employee to Employer Mastermind FB ad

This Mastermind Session is worth at least P5,000. This is limited to a maximum of 10 participants only to ensure optimum interaction with me. You can ask me as many questions as our time together would permit. You can ask me to continue my story and learn from my experiences. The great news is you can attend it for FREE. 

Find out the details on how you can secure a FREE SEAT to this transformational Mastermind Session here.

I look forward to swapping stories with you! See you on January 30!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

God Always Makes a Way for His Words to Come True

At the start of the year, God told me that I can again pursue my dream of publishing at least one book this year. I was hesitant at first, knowing how busy my schedule is. But I claimed it and listed it in my Novena to God's Love again. (You may read my blog post about dreams and how the Novena to God's Love has helped me make my dreams come true in the past years here.)

I'm not yet through planning for my dreams and goals this year. But I was starting to feel discouraged yesterday and the other day because there's simply a lot that a mom like me with three small children needs to do daily. Homeschooling two kids with different grade levels, breastfeeding a toddler who recently turned one and is teething, caring for them daily, managing a household and an online business, maintaining blogs and trying to finish some backlogs from last year are what fill up my hours each day. Yesterday and the other day, I began wondering, "How can I write and finish at least one book with this?" I felt that I was just too busy to squeeze in that dream and goal into my already full schedule. I was wondering how God can make a miracle out of my situation again.

Then, God answered me this morning during my prayer time with this:

"Just because you don't see a way 
doesn't mean I don't have a way." 

Wow! Isn't that great? God read my mind once more! And He answered me clearly and powerfully in a way I could not doubt His voice!

That's all that I needed to be encouraged and empowered to act on my dream and goal again. It was a very timely reminder to me to just keep putting one foot forward and make even baby steps of faith to move closer to my dream.

I excitedly shared about this on my Facebook account and said that I'm targeting to launch at least one book on Mother's Day this year.

Then, I followed up a potential artist who can do the illustrations for one of my children's stories. In minutes, I got the answer that I've been praying for! She confirmed that she will do the illustrations for my upcoming book Mommy Loves You Just the Same! I am beyond thrilled and happy! hahaha God just made a way for me again! I can't help but be amazed! Thank you so much, Lord! 

I'm so excited to see my story come alive in her illustrations! This storybook is special to me because I wrote it for my two older children while I was pregnant with my third child. We were preparing for the coming of our third baby and I wanted to make the two older boys especially my second child that I love them just the same even though they will have another brother.

Moreover, I wanted to continue my breastfeeding advocacy through this book. I think this is a perfect accompaniment or follow up to my book BREASTFEEDING: A Journey Worth Taking because I want to show in the illustrations that breastfeeding/tandem feeding has helped my sons in their transition to becoming big brothers. This is something that most books on becoming an older sibling did not show. Thus, I am so happy and I feel so blessed to have found an artist who is also a breastfeeding mom like me. I believe that she is the perfect artist for this story of mine.

Oh, before I forget, did I tell you that she's also expecting another child? Yes, she's pregnant now with her second child. Isn't God truly amazing? This makes her understand my feelings more when I wrote my story.

I believe that it was really God who ordained our meeting last year at an event where I was invited to speak. It was a gathering of breastfeeding moms and their families and our booths were situated beside each other. We got to talk to each other and I found out that she's interested in illustrating a book. And the rest is history, or should I say His story. ;)

That's all for now. I will update you about our book in the coming days and months and I hope you'll support us in this book project. In the meantime, please pray for both of us so that we'd be able to finish this book project amid our busy schedule as moms.   

Do you also have dreams that you are unsure if you can achieve them this year because of your current situation? Don't give up right away! Look to God for inspiration and strength! 

Our book is almost done! It will be launched on May 19, 2016. :) Jia is now finalizing the inside pages of our book... just doing minor edits to it before the virtual book launch. You may see the book cover and pre-order a copy when you click here. Join the virtual book launch here.

Friday, January 8, 2016

How to Play a Simple Sight Words Game

One of our learning goals for our second child this year is to help him read more sight words. The other day, I made a simple matching game for him using sight words. He and his older brother loved playing it. This encouraged me to continue using it yesterday but with a new set of sight words and a twist.

Let me share what we did. It's actually very simple so anyone can easily do what we did.

1. First, I typed a number of sight words using Word per page and printed them using bold and big fonts on a bond paper. I typed 4 sight words per page so my son can easily read the words even from afar. You can also print them on cardstock or board and laminate them to make them last longer. I was just experimenting. That's why I used bond paper but I think I will make sturdier versions later.

2. I cut the paper into strips to separate each sight word from the other. 

3. Then, I put some masking tape at the back of each strip of paper.

4. Our first game the other day was match the sight word with a body part. I initially wanted my 4-year-old to stick the strips of paper on his own body parts. But his older brother wanted to play with him so my eldest son volunteered to be part of the game. The boys had fun playing! My younger son enjoyed sticking strips of paper on his big brother. My eldest son had fun playing with his younger brother while helping him learn to read sight words about body parts. This is one of the reasons I love homeschooling. It provides many opportunities for family members to bond, have fun and learn at the same time.

5. The following day, I printed a new set of sight words. I did the same steps I mentioned above (steps 1 to 3). This time, these are sight words for what he usually sees in our home/house.

6. After putting masking tape on the strips of paper, we stuck them first on a wall. 

7. Before starting the matching game, I asked my 4-year-old son to spell and read each word first. Since he could not read them yet, I helped him by sounding out the letters and teaching him how to easily decode them and I read them for him too. After spelling and reading each one, I asked him to turn around before starting the matching game.

8. I asked him to get one strip of paper at random from the wall and stick it to the right object at home. All the sight words I printed yesterday pertained to objects except one. I included the word baby to make it more fun. ;) Mateo already knows how to read and spell the word BABY but I wanted to include it still because I saw how much he enjoyed having his older brother participate in the game. This time, I wanted him to enjoy it with his baby brother. :)

We will be playing with these sight words in the next days until my 4-year-old son masters them. Then, I'll add more sight words as we progress.

What do you think of this game? Will you try it with your child too? Let me know how it goes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

#OneWord for 2016: ANOINTED

I spent the last week of 2015 having fun with my family in Baguio. It was a great way to end a year wherein my One Word was ABUNDANCE. I felt God's abundant blessings during our family vacation in Baguio. It was also a well-deserved vacation for me for working hard the entire year. Most of all, it was a fitting celebration for the abundance of blessings our family received throughout the past year.

Come January 1, 2016, as usual, I spent some time to quiet down and to reflect on the blessings of the past year and ask God for direction for the new year. I asked God to lead me to my One Word this year and to the Bible verse that further clarifies His direction for me.

With the "little" quiet time I had at my disposal (I've always felt that my quiet times are too short eversince I became a mom of active toddlers/kids), God led me to the word ANOINTED.

First, I was reminded of an article written by one of my mentors, Bo Sanchez, about sticking to your anointing and being faithful to your purpose.

Second, I saw this photo from his Facebook Page and I even shared it on my own Facebook Page on the first day of the new year.

Photo source here.

Third, I was reminded of a tweet I posted in the past year.

I felt God telling me that ANOINTED is my One Word for the year 2016 but I had hesitations. I felt that the word is too loaded. I was afraid to own it... afraid that I would not be able to live up to the word.

I Googled Bible verses with the word ANOINTED and read through them to find out if there is a verse that would resonate with me. I found these two:

"He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come." 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NIV) 

Here are my insights on these verses:
  • I belong to God and everything that I do belongs to Him. Therefore, everything that I do should reflect God's character or nature.
  • His Spirit plants dreams in my heart. He is the source of all my dreams.
  • I have hope, courage, boldness and faith to dream big dreams and to pursue them because it is God who guarantees my success and assures me that my dreams will come true. 

"But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie -- just as it has taught you, abide in him." John 2:27

Here are my thoughts on this verse:
  • God the Holy Spirit is my ultimate guide and teacher. I should not let myself be overwhelmed with the many things "experts" say I should do to become successful in what I do or choose to do.
  • I will use His leading as compass and to help me filter what I hear or read from "experts."

This second verse was also confirmed by the worship song Who You Are by Gateway Worship, which God led me to sing during my prayer time yesterday.

These Bible verses clearly reiterates God's message to me through Bo Sanchez' article where he shares that when we stick to our anointing, our success is guaranteed; because that's where God has gifted us and called us to shine His light and to be a powerful instrument of His love.

This message makes me tremble. You see, I did not get to finish the books I wanted to finish in the past year. There were many factors that contributed to this. Our maids leaving one after the other and me doing the house chores myself on top of caring, homeschooling two boys and breastfeeding a baby, for almost half a year were some of them. Thus, planning to finish and launch at least one book this year is daunting for me.

The first time God impressed this word in my heart, I thought that I need another big miracle to publish at least one of the book ideas that I have.

Then, God led me to the feeding of the 5,000 this morning when I read the Bible to my sons. As I shared the Word of God to my sons, I felt God ministering to my soul and telling me that Jesus is willing to accept whatever I can offer Him and He can transform it and use it to bless many people, even thousands!

It's as if God was telling me that He can easily give me the miracle that I need. All I need to do is to stick to my anointing and live out my purpose.

To further confirm God's Word to me, I read a very encouraging Facebook post of a friend and brother in our community.

This is aligned with the feeding of the 5,000 miracle that my sons and I read this morning. There were 12 baskets full left over even though they started with only 5 loaves and 2 fish! 

I'm praying for greater courage to believe that God can and will grant me the miracles I need again to achieve the dreams He has planted in my heart. 

Through my One Word this year, God reminds me that my successes this 2016 are guaranteed because He has already won the victories that He wants me to have. His wisdom and guiding hand will lead me to the right people and He is shifting things into my favor. All I need now is to confidently step out in faith as God's ANOINTED into my courage zone.

I love the additional confirmation God gave me this morning through one of the devotionals that I use in my prayer time:

"You need to check doors that have been closed to you in the past. Things have shifted... it may not have happened the first time, but that's okay. It's prepared you for this time. Don't give up. This is a new day... Pursue your dream again."

"When God breathes in your direction, people change their mind. Closed doors suddenly open. The nos turn into yeses. Not now turns into It's your time."

Have you discovered your One Word for 2016? Feel free to share your One Word this year and how you were led to it in the comments section.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Lessons (re)Learned at the Start of a Brand New Year About Dreams

It's the first day of the new year. I reviewed my list of dreams in my Novena to God's Love booklet through the years after my morning prayers. After that, I wrote down my dreams for 2016 in my new booklet. 

I had been doing this for years. It was a joy to read the dreams I have written in my previous booklets and the dates when these dreams were fulfilled. I felt so blessed to be reminded of the many dreams God has helped me fulfill just in the past three years. (I'm not sure if I started with this practice earlier than 2013 because I could not find other booklets.) Remembering these blessings gave me so much hope to face this brand new year with joufl anticipation for more dreams coming true and becoming my reality.

While pondering on my list of dreams last year (2015), I (re)learned some lessons about dreams and dreaming. Let me share them with you.

1. Dreams do come true, whether big or small. - I wrote a number of dreams in my Novena booklet. We're supposed to write seven dreams on it only. But in some pages, I wrote multiple dreams. Thus, I am amazed that most of the dreams I wrote on its pages were fulfilled. It's simply amazing! Reviewing them encouraged me to dream new dreams and to just keep on dreaming.

2. Don't just dream. Work hard on your dream too! - It's not enough that we dream dreams. We need to do our part in making them happen. I love the quote which says, "Pray as if all depended on God. Work as if all depended on self."

I remember a funny story I once heard. A speaker said that the first step in making our dreams come true is to wake up from our dream and to do the necessary work.

Many of my fulfilled dreams entailed a lot of work on my part. I made a lot of sacrifices. I put in a lot of work hours. I hustled. I did what was necessary. And my efforts paid off because almost all of the dreams I listed last year came true by the grace of God and with a lot of hard work!

3. There's a perfect time for your dreams to come true. Learn to let go and let God be the God of all your dreams. - As I mentioned earlier, not all of the dreams I listed came true. A few are still in progress. I have started workign on those dreams but the results that I wanted to see and experience have not happened yet. 

What I learned through these dreams is that no matter how hard we work on something, if it is not yet time for these dreams to come true, these dreams would not be fulfilled. God still has the final say. 

I remember another beautiful lesson I learned years ago. A speaker shared that it's not enough that we do God's Will in our lives. We also need to make sure that we do things God's way and that we follow God's perfect timing. Let Ecclesiates 3 remind us of this truth: "God appoints when all things will happen." 

So, if like me, you have dreams that are still on stage 1 or stage 2 and there are still a few or a number of steps that you need to take, don't despair and give in to frustration. Let go and let God be God of those dreams that are yet to come true.

4. Some dreams are more important than others. - Like what I said earlier, I sometimes listed more than one dream per page in my Novena to God's Love booklet. I had so many dreams that I wanted to be fulfilled last year. God taught me to prioritize when He allowed our maids to leave us one after the other. We didn't have a helper for almost half a year. Working on my personal goals and business goals on top of Mommy duties and household chores was extremely challenging. I had to decide which dreams had more weight in my heart. So, I chose to prioritize my dreams and goals related to my role as mother over those dreams and goals related to my roles as author and mompreneur. I'm glad I made that choice! I felt so at peace and fulfilled even though I had to delay my pursuit of those dreams. I believe that I can delay finishing another book. But I wouldn't be truly happy if I keep my kids waiting too long all the time because I'm so busy chasing my other dreams. 

How about you? Do you have dreams that you want to see realized this new year? Do you also make a list just like me? Do you make time to reflect at the start of each brand new year? Feel free to share your thoughts and your dreams on the comments. I'd love to hear from you!

Happy New Year and may your dreams come true!