Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Product Review + Giveaway: Belo Baby Talc-Free Powder #BeloBaby

I was already watchful when it came to choosing the products that I use and the food that I eat when I was still single. But when I became a mom, I became extra vigilant. I wanted to make sure that I always give the best and the safest to my kids.

Then, I learned that my firstborn son had sensitive skin. He also doesn’t like strong smells. We had to change the baby products that we bought from the supermarket to products that are recommended by his pedia-dermatologist. Then, I had two more children. They also have sensitive skin.

Since all of my kids’ skin have adverse reactions to the usual baby toiletries, it always makes me happy whenever I discover baby products that have natural ingredients. But these kinds of products can be costly. So, I am always searching the market for baby or kid-friendly products that are made from natural ingredients and at the same time easy on the pocket.

That’s why I was happy to discover Belo Baby talc-free powder. It’s made with all-natural ingredients and no harmful chemicals. It’s also hypoallergenic and dermatologist-tested. It’s made from finely milled rice and maize powders that absorb moisture to keep baby’s skin, soft, fresh and dry. It’s carefully formulated without talc, gluten, phthalates, parabens, dyes, and most common allergens.

This is great news for a mom like me with active, energetic kids who are all boys! My boys sweat a lot because they are always on the go. My eldest and my youngest sons have the most sensitive skins. They get skin rashes when there are sudden changes in the weather. My eldest son’s skin is no longer as sensitive as when he was still a baby or a toddler. What a relief! But his skin is still sensitive than most people. He is also susceptible to allergies. My youngest, who is still a toddler, develops skin rashes when he perspires a lot.

Thus, I’m glad that I found this talc-free powder. And because it’s talc-free, I am worry-free! It does not have a strong smell that can irritate our sensitive noses, too. On top of all these, it’s also affordable! Perfect! It’s a product that’s crafted with care for the most delicate skin, for the most meticulous moms!


This great news is not only for me because I’m giving away three (3) Belo Baby talc-free powder gift packs! It’s so easy to win. Click here for the mechanics.

I will announce the winners on May 30, 2017.

Belo Baby Talc-free Powder is now available in leading supermarkets and department stores nationwide. It comes in a very cute packaging that includes a soft puff. You can also buy it here and enjoy FREE delivery until May 31 with a minimum purchase.

For more information about this product and the line of products from Belo Baby, check out:
Facebook: belobabylove
Twitter: @belobabylove
Instagram: @belobabylove

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Learn How to be a Hands-On Parent while Earning at the HOPE Summit 2017

Do you ache to bond with your child/children but could not, because you are too busy at work or in your business?

Do you want to know how you can be a hands-on parent even when you feel that you don’t have enough time in your hands to make that happen?

Do you want to learn how to achieve balance in juggling your time between being a parent and an employee/freelancer/entrepreneur?

Do you want to be successful both in your family life and in your career/business?

Do you want your visions for your family life and finances to become your reality?

Do you need help in structuring your time so that you can spend your precious time bonding with your child/children and still move closer if not achieve your finance goals?

I have great news for you, fellow parents! We're having the second run of the Hands-On Parents while Earning (H.O.P.E.) Summit on April 22, 2017, at the Bulwagang Haribon, Insular Life Corporate Center in Alabang. It's a whole day workshop where parents like you and me will have a lot of opportunities to learn.

God gave me this burden in my heart to ache for families who are disconnected and children are lost and confused because their parents are not able to connect with them and guide them well in their growing up years. I'm thankful to God that He gave me the grace to do something to help solve this problem in our society one family at a time through my iHOPE Coaching Program and through the H.O.P.E. Summit.

Here are the 5 main benefits that parents can get out of this learning event/workshop.

  1. Parents will have an opportunity to clarify their priorities at this time in their life and align their schedules with their priorities.

    People sometimes think that they know their priorities. But surprisingly, when I run these workshops, people take some time before they are able to write down and rank the top 5 things that are important to them. Moreover, during my workshops, they discover that they are not using their time wisely so that it reflects their priorities in life. Thus, with these realizations, my participants usually become eager to learn strategies and tips that would enable them to live out their priorities through better use of their time.
  2. Parents will learn to come up with a list of new habits that they can easily and consistently implement after the workshop so they can be more involved in their children’s lives.

    I like handling workshops because I like my participants to learn by doing. It's a better way to help them learn. Through the exercises that I ask my participants to answer, they get insights into their own lives. The exercises also help them to use the strategies and tips that I share with them. That's the advantage of workshops over seminars only where the speaker just talks and the audience simply listen. That is also why I do my best to make my learning events interactive. We learn more by doing.
  3. Parents will discover ways to work smarter so they can free up more time in their schedules to bond with their children.

    I've always advocated for this. I believe that if people know how to work smarter, they would be able to maximize their time. I had been an HR practitioner for decades now. I have seen many employees work long hours but not produce the desired results required of them. I have also seen many employees work efficiently in less the time. I like hiring and keeping employees who are more productive than those who spend too much time and the company's resources but are not efficient in their jobs. I'm glad that I found a way to teach these principles and skills to parents also through learning events like the H.O.P.E. Summit.
  4. Moms and dads will be inspired to be hands-on even while earning for their families and will learn tips and strategies on how to be successful in their careers/businesses through the stories of the featured moms and dads (guest panelists) in the H.O.P.E. Summit.

    Like in the first H.O.P.E. Summit, we have invited parents who are already living out the H.O.P.E. lifestyle. There will be work-from-home moms and dads and business owners in our panel again this year. I'm excited to hear their stories, strategies and tips!
  5. Parents will have a chance to meet and interact with like-minded parents who also desire to become hands-on parents while earning to their children.

    On top of learning from the speakers and guest panelists, parents will also learn from their interaction with fellow parents. In HR, we call this benchmarking. Since this is a parenting event, this will be called networking with fellow parents. One of the benefits of attending workshops and learning events like the H.O.P.E. Summit is that participants learn through their discussions with fellow participants as well. Sometimes, we learn by talking about our experiences and insights more. Plus, we get inspired and encouraged when we hear the stories of other parents.

I had been running time management, goal-setting and work-life balance workshops for decades. I've always enjoyed and looked forward to these workshops because I know that every time I run these kinds of workshops, I'm making a big difference not only in the lives of my participants but also in the lives of their family members.

So, let me invite you to join me and our guest speaker and panelists at the H.O.P.E. Summit 2017. I assure you that it would not be only worth your time and investment but it would be life-changing for you and your family!

Here's a testimonial from one of the moms who attended the first H.O.P.E. Summit.

Here are some more from previous participants:
“I am inspired to pursue my dream while spending time with my kids.” – Cleesa Bumatay-Soriano
“It gave me inspiration to become the parent that has freedom from corporate work while providing for our family through an entrepreneurial pursuit I am passionate about.” – Dennis Anguluan
“The lessons are inspiring.” – Ging Jusi

This learning event is highly recommended for parents who:

  • want to achieve, experience more, or maintain work-life balance.
  • feel overwhelmed, stressed, discontented, or lacking control in their lives most of the time or a lot of times.
  • want to be intentional in living their lives and want to take the necessary, concrete steps towards living the life they want or the life of their dreams.
  • want to experience order in their lives.
  • want to make sure they spend quality time with the people who truly matter to them.

I will give two talks. My talk in the morning will be How to Manage Your Time So You Can Be a Hands-On Parent while Earning. The one in the afternoon is How to Earn Full-Time Income Through Freelancing. I have been a freelance speaker, writer, editor and consultant for almost a decade now. I will be sharing tips on how parents can earn a good income while enjoying the perks of being a freelancer.

My friend Mariel's talk will be How to Practice Positive Discipline. She's also a homeschooling mom and a mompreneur like me. I'm excited to learn from her, too. Her talks on this topic were usually in Quezon City. That's why my husband and I are not able to attend most of the time. So, I took this chance to invite her to speak at the H.O.P.E. Summit which will be held in the southern part of the metro.

You can read more details about the H.O.P.E. Summit 2017 here.

Another good news is that you can still avail of the early bird rate. You can save P500 on your ticket if you buy your ticket on or before March 31, 2017. If you are coming as a couple, you save as much as P1,000!  Click here to secure your seat. If you are coming as a couple, you may get your ticket hereYou can also avail of our group rate. If you are a group of four (4) parents, you can pay P8,000 only and that would be savings for each one of you. 

You can pay via Paypal (using your credit card or as a guest even if you don't have a Paypal account) or bank deposits (BPI or BDO).

The registration fee already includes the hand-outs, lunch, light snacks and giveaways from some of our sponsors. Merry Macarons will provide our snacks in the afternoon.

More Reasons to go to #HOPESummit2017

The first 20 parents to register and pay will receive a gift certificate worth P3,000 from Kids Acts Philippines, a performing school for kids who love theater. Noel Comia Jr. who won in the previous Aliw Awards and a semi-finalist in The Voice Kids PH was trained in this theater group. This is timely since it's almost summer time and theater classes will start soon.

We are giving out Hands-On Parent while Earning customized bags to the first 20 parents who will register and pay. This is courtesy of our sponsors My Little Ikbi. This bag would be perfect for the giveaways that participants will get from our sponsors like Moringana and Shepherd's Voice Publications.

Insular Life is also giving away one (1) storybook per parent who will attend the event.
We will also raffle off books from Shepherd's Voice Publication and gift certificates from Kindermusik by Teacher Suzette and Friends.

We encourage you to register for the H.O.P.E. Summit 2017 before we run out of slots. Register here now.

This event is co-presented by Full Life Cube and Insular Life. It is supported by Payoneer, Shepherd's Voice Publication, My Little Ikbi, Kindermusik by Teacher Suzette and Friends, Moringana, Merry Macarons, Mom & Milly Educational Toys, KANSIS Made, Experience of a Super Mommy, Lally's Reflections, Mommy Bares All, Mommy Practicality, My Metro Lifestyle, My World by Mommy Anna, Roller Coaster RideSeminar PhilippinesThe Filipino Homeschooler, The Vine that Writes and

See you at the HOPE Summit 2017!

Monday, March 13, 2017

The Difficulties of Being Gifted - Confessions of a Gifted Parent with Gifted Kids

People think that being gifted makes one's life easy. The truth is that gifted people also have their share of difficulties.

Let me share some examples with you.

I had not been sleeping well for the past nights. I wanted so much to sleep early. But I couldn't. Why? I found it hard to make my brain stop working. My brain has been so active. I could not fall asleep even though my body was exhausted. I had so many ideas. I wished I had a wire or something that allows my brain to transfer those thoughts to my computer so I would remember all those ideas the following day and I could sleep soundly at night.

It's great to have a lot of wonderful ideas for upcoming work projects. But it gets overwhelming and I wish that they would come at a time when I'm not supposed to be sleeping already.

In fact, I'm having a headache as I write this post because I could not go back to sleep even if I want to. 

Sleep has been an elusive friend to me. I found it difficult to nap when I was still a child. When I was a child, I would just pretend that I'm sleeping and wait until I hear my grandmother snore. ;) That's the only time I open my eyes and I start moving again in my bed.

When I became an adult, there were many nights when I experienced insomnia.  

Thus, I'm not surprised that my kids are not the type who easily fall asleep whether in the afternoon for naps or at night. Like me, they have a lot of ideas going on in their heads. Or they'd rather read than sleep.

In spite of this knowledge and the struggles, I still do my best to help my kids get as much sleep as they can. I don't force my eldest who is now 8 years old to take a nap, except when I know that he is under the weather. But I still require my younger kids to take a nap. If they really could not fall asleep in the afternoon, I just ask them to read quietly in their beds. Now, reading is something that they can obey easily. But "quietly" is another story!

Another difficulty of the gifted is knowing things that are not pleasant (to say the least) because the gifted are highly intuitive and insightful. Gifted people may have the ability to read or identify other people's motives and intentions even if these people try their best to hide these. I have personally experienced this countless times. I am amazed at how correct my intuition is a lot of times. But this is not always a positive experience because some of the things I notice or realize can cause me to be disappointed, hurt, angry or sad. It doesn't help that gifted people are also extra sensitive.

There are many other difficulties that gifted people deal with on a daily basis. But I will just mention one more which I and my gifted kids need to deal with daily: containing and managing our big emotions. 

Gifted people are quite intense. We usually have big emotions. I used to think that I can do a good job at handling my emotions. But when I became a parent of gifted kids, I discovered that dealing with my kids and the chaos that they bring into our home can overwhelm me many times during the day. I lose my temper at least once a day. The very organized me gets easily annoyed and overstimulated by my very messy, imaginative and kinesthetic kids. That is why "Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love" has been my mantra for years now. That means I have a lot to improve on in this area. And that's not just for me but for my kids also. The more that I learn to manage my big emotions even when I'm triggered by their noise and mess, the more effective I will be in helping my kids learn to manage their own emotions. I think this is one of my most difficult challenges at this point in my life as a parent.

Last night, I read a blog post that reminded me to parent with grace rather than anger. I think I really need a lot of that... grace. I realized that it's not easy to control these intense emotions even when you are already aware of your tendencies. I'm doing my best to practice restraint and to be more mindful. I'm also doing my best to teach my kids to be more considerate of the people around them, I included. 

So, are you surprised to read about these difficulties that gifted people experience? Find out more as you read the entries of the other bloggers in our blog hop here

Monday, February 13, 2017

Is Your Child Gifted? Find out at the Giftedness 101 Talk on February 25

Some say that all children are gifted. Is that true?

What does it mean to be gifted?

If not all children are gifted, how do you know if a child is gifted? What are the signs?

Can children with disabilities be gifted as well?

Is giftedness something acquired through study techniques or learned through mental programming?

Or is giftedness something that a child is born with?

What if a child is gifted? What does a parent need to do?

What's the difference between typical children and gifted children?

Do gifted kids have special needs?

Do you have all these questions in your head as a parent? Are you wondering if your child is gifted?

When you become a parent, your world expands. When I learned that my eldest child is gifted, I devoured every literature I could find on the topic. I attended whatever seminars, workshops or conventions that fit my already busy schedule. I was eager to learn and I was motivated to learn for the sake of my child and for my sake. When I discovered that my second child is also gifted, the more I became determined to learn more about this field. This is because I am a parent of gifted children and I need to learn how to support my children’s special needs and to help them reach their full potential.

Because of this also, I have chosen to help raise awareness on giftedness and to help my fellow parents understand their gifted kids.

On February 25, 2017, I will give a talk titled Giftedness 101. This will be at Playworks, SM Aura Campus from 2 -4 PM.

The topics that I will cover are the following:
  • Are all children gifted? What does it mean to be gifted?
  • What are the signs of giftedness or twice exceptionality, especially in young children?
  • What are the advantages of finding out if your child is gifted or not?
  • What are the advantages of hands-on parenting to the gifted or twice exceptional child?
  • What should you do when you see signs of giftedness in your child?
  • What are the advantages of homeschooling gifted or twice exceptional kids?
  • How do you homeschool a gifted child?

Aside from learning more about giftedness and twice exceptionality, parents will also have the opportunity to meet other parents of gifted and twice exceptional children and thus find a support group who will understand the same challenges and joys that they experience.

The registration fee is Php 750. The Early Bird Rate of Php 650 is available until February 14, 2017 only. The parents of students from Playworks get a discounted rate of P500. The registration fee already covers the handouts and light snacks. The snacks will be provided by Mommy Bakes PH.

I'm very excited for this! We're also giving away to the first 20 parents who will register and pay for the GIFTEDNESS 101 talk Gift Certificates worth Php 3,000 each courtesy of KIDS ACTS PHILIPPINES (KAPI). This performing school has been the training ground of the Aliw best Child Performer and The Voice Kids Philippines semi-finalist, Noel Comia Jr.

We will also raffle some prizes from Filway Marketing Inc. who is one of our sponsors. Filway provides good quality learning materials for children. I especially like their product called A Child's First Library of Learning.

Participants get a chance to win this during the raffle at the Giftedness 101 talk.

We will also raffle off several educational toys and materials from Mom and Milly Educational Toys.

This is just one of the toys we would raffle off.

Click here to register for this talk. We have very limited slots so I suggest that parents secure their tickets fast. Buy your ticket here.

I am blessed to get the support of the following sponsors and media partners: Playworks Early Childhood Center, Kids Acts Philippines, Inc. and Filway Marketing Inc., Mom and Milly Educational Toys,, Experience of a Super Mommy and The Filipino Homeschooler.

Monday, February 6, 2017

My Mommy is Famous: A Book That Made Me Cry

I was in a bookstore and looking for a certain book that I wanted to buy for my kids. While going through the display of books, I saw this book (My Mommy is Famous) and immediately picked it up. I leafed through the pages quickly to see what it is all about. As soon as I got the gist of the story, I decided not to let it go. Yes, I bought it that day even though it was not part of my plan. I still found and bought the book I really wanted to buy. But I added this gem that I found because the story resonated with me.

When I first read the book to my kids aged 8, 5 and 2, there were parts when I could no longer read well because I could not help but cry. I could very much identify with the mom in the story. The other day, I read it again to my kids before their nap time, along with other books. Still, I could not help but break into tears. Well, not as much as the first time, but my eyes welled up fast just the same.

The book My Mommy is Famous and a calendar with Mama Mary in the cover. Mama Mary is one of my role models on motherhood.

Let me tell you why.

The mom in the story is a hands-on mom to her daughter. She did not get a nanny or yaya for her because she wanted to personally take care of her. She attends to her needs. Towards the end of the story, it was revealed that she left her prestigious and high-paying job to focus on motherhood. Her child, at first, did not understand this. She was wondering why she didn't have a yaya and was even envying her classmates who had nannies. But in the end, she realized that she is one blessed child for her mom chose her over her own career.

That's where I always get emotional. When the mom explains to her child why she doesn't have a yaya and when the child finally understands why and appreciates her mom for all that she does for her.

If you have been following my blog, you would know by now that we have a similar story. I also resigned from my prestigious and high-paying job so I can focus on my family. I made this decision a few months after I got married. When I tendered my resignation, I didn't know that I was already pregnant. Actually, it was also the beginning of February when I did that. Weeks after that, we found out that I was pregnant with our first child. I really felt led to make that decision because I was put on bedrest as soon as my pregnancy was confirmed.
Since then, I did not work outside the home anymore as an employee. I only accepted freelance projects or gigs mainly because I wanted to ensure that majority of my time is spent building our growing family and investing in my relationship with my husband and children. I wanted to build a strong foundation for my family and since we were newly married then and our firstborn was on the way, I concluded that that's the best decision to make.

Fast forward to several years later, I'm still working from home and doing home-based business for the same reasons. My kids are still young and need much attention. I want to be present to them most of the time during their formative years. I want to be part of their childhood memories. I want to take an active role in their values and character formation. I want to be the primary influence in their young and tender lives. I want to give them the best care and education we can afford. That meant I would be the primary caregiver and teacher.

One of my latest photos with my 3 kids, all boys.

I liked how the book helps kids understand the lesson in the story and the love and devotion that the mom has for her child. I liked that it helped me communicate and share with my own kids my own reason for choosing to be a hands-on mom to them. The other day, I also emphasized the advantages of having their own mom take care of them as opposed to having a yaya. We've had our own experience of having helpers at home. Their main job is to do household chores. Then, when I get tired taking care of my kids and when I need to work on my laptop in my home office, I let them watch over the boys while I do my job. But these maids proved to be unreliable even for a short while. I would find them just talking to each other and not really engaged in play with my kids or ignoring the kids.

One time, I was surprised to see my kids already climbing our gate while the two maids were chatting with each other. Good thing that I got curious when my kids' voices got a bit loud. This prompted me to look outside the window of my home office and I saw my boys up on our gate. I rushed downstairs and out into our garage and hurriedly put my boys down. I reprimanded the maids for not keeping the boys safe. Their excuse, the boys would not listen when they told them not to climb. Hello! Those are kids! They do no grasp yet the danger of what they were doing. That is why they need to be supervised by adults. That is why I asked the maids to watch over them because I wanted their eyes on them while my eyes were on my work. Sigh.

After several occasions of these maids not really being responsible either with household chores or with occasional child care, I fired them. Actually, even when we had maids, I still do almost everything for the kids. I feed them, breastfeed them, put them to sleep, read books to them, bathe them, teach them, etc. The maids simply assist in cutting their food, cleaning their toys and in watching over the other kids when I am attending to another.

So, these days, when I need to work and the kids are awake, I simply make them play near me where I could easily glance at them and hear them while they are busy playing. At least now I know that they are truly safe.

I don't know if we will ever find a reliable maid in the future. But one thing I'm sure of is that I love being a hands-on mom to my kids and I think I'm going to stick to this lifestyle as long as God permits. It's not easy, but it's surely rewarding. I think that as my kids grow older, they are beginning to understand and realize the value of my devotion and the sacrifices that I do for them. Maids come and go but I will always be here for them as long as I'm alive. Most of all, nothing can be compared to a mother's love and devotion for her children. I think it's the best kind of love next to God's love for us. Do you agree?

I highly recommend this to moms who have a similar story. Although the mom in the story had great achievements and was famous, I think ordinary moms can relate to her reason for choosing to leave her job to prioritize being a hands-on mother to her child. I'm glad that I found this book by Lampara Books. It's part of the Kuwentong Nanay Series. I plan to check out the other titles in the series, too.

Do you have other recommendations of good books about motherhood that can help us parents teach kids to value what their mothers do for them? Feel free to share with me in the comments. I would love to discover more wonderful books. Reading is one of my favorite bonding activities with my kids who are also bookworms like me.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Parenting Goals for the Year #BigGoals2017

People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.

- Earl Nightingale

It's the first month of a brand new year. People are usually busy these days planning for the new year. Have you done your own planning? Have you defined your goals for the year? If not, it's not yet too late. I believe that it's better to take it slow.

It's best to make sure that we are pursuing the right goals before we get busy pursuing them.

Let me share some of my BIG GOALS as a parent for 2017.

Goal #1 Be a better parent by improving in the area of handling my emotions when my kids do not obey me and the rules that we have set.

Actually, I have made it my goal years ago to live out this Bible verse:
"Slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love."

I have not been very good at being slow to anger. So, I make it my goal year after year to get better and better at it. There were many times in the past year that I felt frustrated getting the kids to listen and obey. Having no household help to assist me in managing the house and caring for the children made things extra challenging.

My kids are not the typical obedient kids who immediately obey those who are older than them or those who are in authority. Obedience is not their greatest strength. Proactivity, creativity, curiosity, quick thinking, intelligence, humor, persistence, strong will, high energy... these are words that describe them most of the time. Obedient, not always.

They like to challenge the rules. Following or doing other people's agenda is not something very interesting for them unless you are able to explain to them how it aligns with their interests or agendas. They usually have their own plans and are bent on executing them. They are not the type who will ask for permission to do what they want to do. They will simply set out to do what they want to do. Sadly, they sometimes ignore the rules or reminders given to them.

In truth, these are good traits. These are good characteristics of people who can be leaders.
But it's difficult when those who have these traits are 8 years old and under. I am concerned for their safety. I also want them to learn to respect and obey those in authority.

I tend to clash a lot with my kids... especially with my eldest son who has high intensity and who has a stubborn will just like me. My Powerful Choleric personality type finds it difficult to parent kids who are like them.

I have shared this difficulty with our developmental pediatrician already many years ago when I noticed these traits in my eldest son. He said that these are typical of gifted kids. He advised that parents be consistently firm to help kids learn to adhere to the rules and to obey those in authority.

Over the years also, I have learned to choose my battles so that we don't always go through a battle of the wills. When it will not put our lives in danger and our values are not compromised, I do my best to give them as much freedom and independence.

Goal #2 Make more happy memories with the kids by traveling with them or having vacations with them at least once a quarter.

This was one of my goals last year and we actually went beyond my target. if you've read my previous post on my blessings in the past year, bonding activities with my kids were one of those in my list. Since we had a lot of fun last year going places, I've decided we'll do the same this year. This is one goal I am very excited with for this year.

We've already booked last year our first hotel stay out-of-town for the first quarter of 2017. I'm still thinking where to go for the second quarter and the rest of the year.

Goal #3 Finish and publish at least one book for parents.

I believe that the lessons that we learn from our life experiences are only for our benefit. I believe that the insights that we gain from our life experiences are meant to help and bless the people around us, too. That is why I love sharing my stories here on my blog, in the articles I write for other publications, in my books, in my talks, training programs and workshops.

This year, I want to finally finish one of my pending manuscripts. I have already designed the book cover. I have printed it and posted it on the wall of my home office so that I am reminded every day that I have to finish this book. Let me share it with you.

Last year, I published and launched one book also, my very first children's book titled Mommy Loves You Just the Same. It was a daunting goal. But by the grace of God, it was achieved. It was another dream come true!

This year, although my situation hasn't changed. We still do not have a stay-in household help. But I claim that I can do achieve all these goals with the strength of Christ. I know that God will make a way. That He will help me make things happen. Why? First, because I have seen Him do this many times in the past for me. Second, because my intentions are good and these will not only benefit me but many people.

I may have BIG GOALS that seem difficult to achieve. But I have a BIGGER GOD who makes ALL things possible!

That's why my OneWord for this year, 2017, is BELIEVE.

BELIEVE in God more.
BELIEVE in myself more.
BELIEVE in others more.
BELIEVE in more possibilities.
BELIEVE that more and bigger miracles are on their way to me.
I choose to BELIEVE that the best is yet to come! 

This was inspired by the Bible verse, "I believe that I shall see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." - Psalm 27:

How about you? What are some of your big goals this year? Do you also have a One Word for the year? Or a guiding verse? Feel free to share these in the comments. Let's cheer each other on!

If one of your goals this year is to be a better parent by spending more quality time with your kids and still finding time to achieve your career or business goals, check out my iHOPE Online Coaching Program. You may read the details here.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Top Take Aways From the Past Year #Goodbye2016

I previously wrote in one of my posts here in this blog that I recommend that we do some introspection or reflection before the month of December ends. When we do this exercise, we would most likely gain some insights or valuable lessons from the year that was. I did. Let me share a few of them with you here.

Take away #1 We may encounter many challenges, but our blessings still outnumber them.

2016 was not an easy year for me. Our stay-in maid left around early March. After that, I went back to hiring a stay-out maid who comes to our house to clean, do the laundry and iron our clothes. This went on for several months until the stay-out maid proved to be unreliable. She promises to come on certain days and then she wouldn't show up. She's simply inconsistent in fulfilling her commitments. There were days when I wished we just set our clothes to the laundry shop instead of waiting for her or believing that she would come. Anyway, I eventually fired her. I tried several cleaning agencies/companies until I found one that is relatively more sustainable and affordable in the long run.

Having no household help made it extra difficult for me to manage the house, care for my 3 kids, homeschool the 2 older ones, breastfeed the youngest, maintain my blogs, manage my business and finish my book projects. Yet, reviewing my 2016 helped me realize how amazingly blessed I was last year.

I had a lot of challenges, true. But I received and experienced more blessings.

For example, finding alternatives to our previous stay-in maid were still blessings. At least, I didn't have to do all the housework. Outsourcing these to someone else enabled me to channel my energy to more important tasks. Moreover, in the end, I found more acceptable and sustainable options that the first ones. And before the year ended, a friend of ours recommended her stay-out cleaner to me to do our laundry and clean our house also once a week. I was so happy when she shared this with me that I told her that this was one of the best Christmas gifts I got.

Another major blessing is that I was able to achieve my goal breastfeeding my youngest child for 2 years last November. My youngest hasn't tasted even a drop of milk formula. He has been breastfed on demand for 2 years! I'm so grateful that I had enough milk to provide for his needs. I'm also grateful that in spite of my busyness, I was able to honor my commitment to prioritize his needs. There was never a day that he did not breastfeed from me, even when I had to work out-of-town. This brings me to my next major blessing.

My work allowed me to be with my kids. This is one major blessing for our family. I got to work even with my kids around. I can work from home. I can bring my kids with me when I work outside. Not all parents can do this. But I had been doing this since I got married. I've been working from home for almost 10 years now. Wow! Now that I counted, I was even more amazed! I had been working freelance for this long and it has been both fulfilling and rewarding. I'm so thankful that we have this kind of lifestyle. I can be a hands-on parent while earning. I had been living my dream! This was something I dreamt of when I was still single.

This was during our Baguio trip where I gave a talk for a client and at the same time had a vacation with my family.

We've also had a fruitful year in our homeschool. We usually do a couple of hours only of structured homeschool activity and yet we covered a lot in the past year. I was also glad that most of these were based on my kids' interests. We had numerous field trips (around 10 if I'm not mistaken) that were both fun and memorable. If you've been a regular reader of this blog since last year, you've read about most of them. (If this is your first time to read my blog, some of our field trips included going to Dr. Jose Rizal's townDino PlayTitans from the Ice Age, the Manila International Book Fair (MIBF) and Museo ng Katipunan.) In fact, because they were so many, I still have not blogged about all of them. Now, I wonder if there are other schools that have as many field trips as we have our homeschool. The great thing about these field trips is that these are related to my kids' interests and not something that someone or a school just thought would be beneficial for them. That's one of the advantages of homeschooling. We get to choose where we would bring the kids for field trips. Thus, we can bring them where they would be naturally interested or most likely to have fun. My 2 older boys even had the chance to join fun runs as part of their P.E. classes/activities last year. They joined the Crayola fun run towards the end of summer and the HOPE run for children with special needs towards year end.

We had a number of outings and trips or mini-vacations, too. Some of which were courtesy of my clients. Isn't that great? You've read about a few of them here also like our trip to Baguio and our outing to Enchanted Kingdom. We had a vacation at least once a quarter. Then, we had family outings in between. That's on top of our field trips! 2016 was indeed a year when we spent a lot of time bonding with each other through places that we visited.

This was in Villa Marinelli in Tagaytay after Christmas. I have yet to blog about this trip.

And there were the fun and memorable birthday celebrations that I planned for my kids (like the Star Wars party I planned for my eldest child, the Superman and friends birthday party for my second child and the Daniel the Lion King for my youngest) and that of my parents and brother, plus the out-of-town birthday celebrations for me and my husband. You've read about a few of them here, too.

Star Wars party for my eldest son. We were clowning around after all the guests have left.
Superman and his Superfriends party for my second child.
Daniel the Lion King for my youngest.

We celebrated my birthday last year in Pampanga. We tried a new hotel, ate in new restaurants and went on a field trip again.
These are just some of my blessings for 2016. There are SO MUCH MORE! I had so much to be grateful for in 2016!

Take away #2 Nothing/No one can hinder us from fulfilling our divine destiny.

Our circumstance may be far from ideal or supportive at the least, but this cannot hinder us from fulfilling our divine destiny or what we are here on earth for. God will definitely find a way and help us fulfill the dreams that He planted in our hearts. It was not only I who experienced this truth last year. This was true for both me and my eldest son.
I have already mentioned earlier my challenges last year. Given my limited time to work on my business and passion projects, I was amazed and grateful that I got to achieve MANY of my dreams/goals.

Last year, my dream of becoming a children's book author came true. I was able to publish and launch my first children's book, Mommy Loves You Just the Same, here in my website (last May in time for the celebration of Mother's Day) and on Amazon (in time for Christmas). We even came up with merchandise inspired by and based on the characters of my children's book. We found the best supplier/partner for this and we started selling these items last year also. We even got good reviews and support from influencers like celebrities, fellow authors, mompreneurs and mom bloggers.
You can buy these products here on our online shop. Available as a bundle or per item.
Shirts for Mom and Dad. You can buy them here.

We finished some of the videos of the first H.O.P.E. Summit. Actually, we're almost done editing all of the videos. You can find them here in the Virtual HOPE Summit page. Some of the parents in our community already benefitted from them. These videos were already available for sale in our online shop since early last year.

My talks and workshops were well-received by my audiences and my clients were happy with my work. Even though I felt that I didn't have ample time to prepare for these last year since I had so much on my plate, I am in awe that the people I served through my core gifts were very happy with the results. How did I know that? Well, aside from their feedback on the post-program evaluation sheets, I had repeat clients and repeat invitations to either speak or run training programs and workshops.

This was in one of my talks on parenting for one of my clients.
This was at Gymboree's anniversary celebration in Glorietta, Makati.

As for my eldest son, Yanthy, although he didn't get to enroll during the school year (after their summer classes) with his previous piano teacher/mentor (his mentor had been busy staging musicals), he still learned A LOT of songs in the past year. His repertoire has grown exponentially in the past year. His very first piano mentor who is now in the U.S. is also impressed. He now knows how to play at least 20 Advent and Christmas songs on the piano. On top of that, he has learned at least 20 new songs for the Mass. I have yet to make a comprehensive list of the songs he now knows how to play on the piano to help us keep track. He learns so fast that documenting them is not easy. I love this good problem actually!

Yanthy serving in the Sunday Mass with the Children's Choir.

Yanthy has also served as the pianist in our parish for our daily evening Masses and the Children's Mass on Sundays faithfully in the past year. There were only a few instances when he was not able to serve. He chose to serve even when it was raining or when he needed to be on his own (I or his Dad cannot go to Mass with him because of sickness or traffic) or even on days when he wasn't eager to do it. He and our family have made it our priority and our hearts are filled with joy because of this service.

2016 was an awesome year for me and my family! I cannot deny that my awesome God was behind it. I know that if it were only up to me, I would have the strength to accomplish all these. But God made a way for me. He lined up the right people and the right events for me. He made what seemed impossible possible.

So, as I welcomed 2017, I was filled not only with thanksgiving for the year that was but also hope and joyful expectation for things to come. God reminded me through my introspection exercises that with determination, hard work, discipline combined with a lot of faith and grace from Him, nothing is impossible!

This was during one of my strategic planning sessions for 2017 a few days ago.

How about you? How was your 2016? What blessings were you most grateful for? What lessons did you learn? I would love to hear from you.