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What is real happiness?

>> Saturday, 31 January 2015

For some, it is easy, they are happy when they have food on the table, when they are able to pay the bills and the mortgage. For those in business, they are happy when they close the deal or meeting the targets or exceeding them. It varies, sometimes it depends on how the children are, one new mom said I'm fulfilled and happy when I see my child happy. Some will be happy if they get the latest phone, new purse or new designer clothes. I admit I am happy when I know I will be going somewhere because I love to travel.

Sadly, many people get their happiness only from outward circumstances. As long as their lives are untroubled and they are comfortable, they feel happy.  But when illness strikes, or a relationship breaks down, or any of a thousand other unexpected troubles engulf them, then happiness flees.

Billy Graham said, there is a spring that never varies it's flow. Floods may rage, but it's output doesn't increase. A long summer drought may come, but it won't decrease. It's flow is steady, reliable and unending.

Such is the peace and joy that we all yearn for - and such is the peace Jesus promises to all who trust Him: "The water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up in everlasting life....My peace I give you" John 4:14 and 14:27.

What about you? Are you ready when the unexpected or a big storm comes? Will you still be happy? Are you at peace with God? Have you come to His spring? I hope you know where to find the water that will not make you thirsty again. Jesus is waiting.  Happiness is all about Him.

January 2015 has passed and the next month is approaching. What have we done to be near Or bring others to Him? Is it part of our goals this year? Or do we even have a goal in the first place or are we just waiting and being complacent? Are we deep inside truly happy that it shows and radiates to another?

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It's a matter of choice

>> Monday, 26 January 2015

My sister and I were talking about the fate of some of our friends and relatives.  I know it's not fair to judge but everyone can see what happened. It is evident. What was the RESULT or OUTCOME of the decisions made. We have the tendency to say, "Kawawa naman (I pity her)" because of the results we've seen. The reality is, "It's Their Choice!" It's either you suffer or enjoy the consequence of your choice.

The only thing that bothers me is if they knew the other option. Were they given a choice or they were not aware of what's on the other side? In my job, I always create decision trees. What- if scenarios so that the user will know what to do if they select an option. All the activities coming next and results will be presented. I wonder if the people who made their decision knew these results.

One of my best friends married very young, to his first boyfriend. Of course, at that time they were so in love, she was blind. Didn't see the consequences of marrying young. And so the inevitable happened, they grew apart, one was complacent and another driven by ambition. Her career was detested by her husband, he became not only insecure of her success but also threatened by it. To control the skyrocketing career upswing, he prevented her from going to business trips, speaking engagements or launches as this could be her reason to have extra marital affairs. If she insisted, he would hit her. It was a normal scenario in their household, with the kids witnessing it that she later gave up her career for him. She chose to just have a desk job even if she is really smart just to please him. It was her choice. It was not long before she was promoted again and the cycle continued,  at that time we were regularly meeting for our reunion and we found out about her fate when she arrived in black and blue. We asked her if she was happy and if she knew that she had an option. To cut the long story, she took the other option after the husband left with another girl and got her pregnant. Now she is back on track, very successful in her career and is very happy. Not suffering the fate of her choice. This time she made the right choice, I'm so happy for her.

Most of the OFWs have the same fate, they end up giving up happiness for the sake of the love ones. They keep on extending the contract because the family need more, the lifestyle changed because they had someone to support their "wants" - branded shoes, clothing, latest cellphone, new car etc. The OFW can't go back because the airfare is expensive. Sometimes, if the OFW is a woman, she will not marry because the family will stop receiving  monthly allowance, the husband might not agree with that and the family depends on her. What will happen to them?- Was her question and not what will happen to me?

I hope all the OFWs I was referring to knew what they are committing to, that they are devoting their whole life to supporting the family. I admire that but just like a project that should have been how the activities are linked to before they left, it should have a scope and limitation. Only until Boy graduates, or until we buy a house or until our business grew, or until year 2015. The OFW should be able to give the time and resources to herself, after all she was the one earning the money.  It is sad but most of the time, the OFW will stay as long as she can because the whole family now depends on her, sometimes the whole barangay.  So was she happy? did she want it to go on? It's her choice.

I am just citing that as an example because most of the Filipinos are grateful for an OFW, I was one of them. Without Dadilo's job in Saudi Arabia, I won't finish a degree and will not be able to work and have an experience that is relevant to my job now.   This is not only for OFWs, making a choice is for everyone, whether or not you decide to do good or follow God is your choice. I just hope you realize what your options are and the consequences of not responding to Gods call.

So what do you do? Know your OPTIONS,  what will happen if I choose this course, what will be my career path? What will be my timeline? When will I get married? Will this girl be the right one for me, will we still have a good relationship even if we don't have sex? Have I done my homework in checking her personality and does it matches mine? What is my personality, what goes well, where am I good at or not good at? What do I pursue career or love? Studies or sports? Do I even have  questions to help me decide or do I just go and do it and BAHALA na? Que SeraSera, whatever will be will be!

KNOW GOD and PRAY for guidance.  How can you know someone without finding out things about Him, how can you tell someone your deepest thoughts if you are NOT FRIENDS with Him? Whenever I make decisions, do I pray for it and seek Gods will? Is this Right with God?

CHOICES, CHOICES. We are responsible for the choices we make, we can't blame anyone, it's our choice. Now if the choice was not right, do we continue? That is another choice to make.

PROVERBS 3:6 In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.



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Thank you 2014, welcome 2015!

>> Thursday, 1 January 2015

The holidays just flew fast. I can't believe the year ended. We celebrated Christmas with family and friends and even if we were sick that week, we had fun. The kids had a blast opening lots of gifts. The Castillo family was complete this Christmas and that's something we really want to thank God for.



 
The year 2014 was very good to us.  There were highs and lows but our ride was smooth and sure.  We reached our destination.  We praise God for making all things possible.  Here are some of the highlights of the year 2014 to our families:

1. Our family's 5 years in Canada and our Canadian Citizenship Oathtaking.
2. Dadilo's successful brain tumor operation.
3. Rhea Sharyn's arrival in Canada.
4. Aloysius accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
5. Alexus graduated as SK.
6. Wendy and family arrival in US.
7. Irmee's career and going to back to school (University of Toronto)
8. Nanay and Tatay's arrival in Canada.
9. Celebrating 15 years wedding anniversary.
10. Castillo's family reunion in Canada.

Thank you to all our families, friends and church family who supported and prayed for us.  May the coming year be another year full of blessings.


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What's all the fuss?

>> Sunday, 7 December 2014

It's December 6 and I'm one of those people with schedules suddenly filled up, had to decline meetings and appointments because I need to finish work before Christmas. I was led into the frantic mode as the year comes to an end. There are still tasks to complete: project charters for next year to submit, my school project and the final exam coming, endless last minute training schedules to finalize, add to that my hubby and sons birthdays coming up and my in-laws are coming over the holidays, lots of shopping lists and what to give that will be acceptable....Phew! Just thinking about it makes me anxious and what-if scenarios are floating in my mind.

Stop! I had to pray to clear up my mind to get the right perspective, Gods perspective. Jesus Christ birthday is coming up, that's the only thing that I need to think about.  As I was wrapping the presents we bought today, I thought about the journey of Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem and the simplicity of that night. The night God gave His only son to save the world. I was so guilty of being materialistic and spending so much time to think about the gifts to give and wait for the fulfillment of the receiver expectations.  I realized about how my mortal body responds to the worldly need of 'getting for giving' something, the thought of gift giving has come to a different level, it has become selfish - I'm sure you also used the word "Wish List".  You tend to give so that you fulfill the desires of your own flesh.

The first gift of love that was supposed to be our pattern for gift-giving happened on that night in Bethlehem.  God gave selflessly, in a simple, no-frills manger.  I can't believe that until now, not all humankind recognize or accept that gift. They don't even know Jesus personally and His purpose, why He even came to this world.  Blame it on us who are focused more on attending parties, exchanging gifts and fulfilling our own desires, who didn't want to slow down and respond to the real concept of Christmas.

God's love is everywhere - His forgiveness, mercy, kindness, faithfulness and patience in us. What other great time to celebrate this love than on Christmas? I hope we realize that instead of being frantic we try reconnecting and sharing God's message with our families and loved ones. Real JOY, PEACE and LOVE that comes from the true reason of the season - CHRIST.

The next time we wrap a present, let's not worry about how the recipient will react, it's the thought that counts. What's important is that we believe that Christ was born on earth and the Word became flesh and God's gift of salvation is more important to accept than any other gifts. God bless you and your family today.

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“Nice One Nails”

>> Sunday, 23 November 2014



 
Alexus is turning 6 today and already graduated from Senior Kindergarten.  I am writing this because I want to remember the first phrase that Alexus read while we were on our way grocery shopping.  He just blurted out, “Nice One Nails” without anybody teaching him. I felt proud at that time. He was happy too and became confident reading the stores names and signs after this.  Today, he is in Grade 1 and his teacher told me that his reading level is the same as Grade 2’s.  He can finish a book (with pictures) in one sitting.  I couldn’t believe that I no longer have a baby, he refused to be called such. He is growing up fast. Thank you to all who taught him how to read, to the Leap Tag, Dr. Seuss and Geronimo Stilton books and for the phrase “Nice One Nails”. 

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Tassimo: our early Christmas present

>> Sunday, 16 November 2014

Lito and I were eyeing that single cup coffee maker for a while now.  It was only until today when it was time to spend the points we earned and Tassimo prices dropped to almost 50 percent, that finally we decided to get our early Christmas present.  We were undecided which machine to get, we were to choose between a KEURIG or a TASSIMO. They have many similarities. Based on the internet, Keurig and Tassimo manufacture some of the most popular single-cup coffee makers, a.k.a., coffee pod machines. These machines puncture and brew conveniently pre-packaged, single-serve cups of coffee, tea, or other drinks. Both machines usually take 2-5 minutes to heat up and brew the contents of a cup. For the difference, here are some: Keurig use K-Cups and Tassimo use T-discs. Keurig has over 200 varieties of coffee brands including Starbucks while Tassimo are limited to less than a hundred without Starbucks. Nabob, Tim Hortons, McCafe, Cadbury, Gevalia, Maxwell house are some of the brands that Tassimo cater.

Now you may ask, why we opted for TASSIMO? It’s the barcode technology! Tassimo is using barcode technology, the system reads every T DISC individually and adjusts for temperature, water volume and brew time. A Keurig machine has 3 options for the quantity of coffee so if you choose the largest cup, the K-cup will be adjusted to fill the cup.  I'm not sure but it looks like the flavor is compromised because there is more water with a larger cup. The Tassimo manual says, The barcode holds information about the quantity and temperature of water needed, as well as the brewing time required to craft the perfect cup of your favourite beverage. The instant your T DISC is scanned, your TASSIMO brewer is ready to make your drink the right way, every time. Another thing that attracted me is the BOSCH manufacturer - German Ingenuity.  I also found out that Mondelez International (Kraft) owns Tassimo.

What I like most about are the many options I have: delicious caffĂ© crema, cappuccinos, latte macchiatos and exquisite espresso, tea and hot chocolate. Here in the picture is my first cup of cappuccino from our new Tassimo. I hope my sister will not have second thoughts about her Keurig.  But you can always find a good deal for T, Wendy, the black friday sale might offer this kind of deal.

Happy Coffee Brewing!

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Set foot on the promised land - a continuous improvement lesson from the bible

>> Thursday, 16 October 2014

My most favorite part in my almost 28-year-career is learning about quality and getting better at it.  My first job exposed me how to do quality hamburgers, giving excellent customer service and being measured at it in different ways- first by our own superiors, second by the regional managers and lastly, by a mystery shopper.  At a young age, I learned about key performance metrics  (KPM or KPI) and how it drives you to perform more than the expected.  Getting a 100% rating from a mystery shopper is my ultimate goal then.  Receiving such rating means you were consistent in following the steps in delivering quality service.  All jobs no matter how small or big it is, whether it is a blue-collar or white starts with learning and following steps or instructions in order to achieve a product or service.  After doing the tasks, the outcome of the service or product is being measured by the stakeholders or customers. There is a set target that needs to be met in order for that product to be considered high quality.  Sometimes, making some changes in the process are needed so that your numbers improve or go up.  After you have consistently reached your target, you will move on to the next level - a higher target and so on and so forth. This is the idea of continuous improvement. You always move up and not down.  The reality is, reaching the target is not that easy, there are issues or something that prevents you from delivering quality service.  Believe it or not, there is always someone who will speak negatively about your goal, much more achieving it. Embrace change as this means you are accepting the challenge to be in the next level, in moving up. No turning back, the numbers should be up and not down.


If you remember Moses and the thousands of Israelites who were delivered from slavery in Egypt. On their journey to the promised land (Target) the people were complaining because of hunger and thirst  (Obstacles). There was always murmuring going on instead of them trusting and following God.  When they were being chased by the Egyptians, and they were at the edge of the sea. People complained and regretted leaving their comfortable life to join Moses. Bad as things were in Egypt, the known seemed better than the unknown to those who lacked faith (Resistant to Change).  During their forty years of desert wandering, the children of Israel alternately blessed and cursed the name of God. Because of this, every Israelite over twenty years of age when they left Egypt under Moses’ leadership was now dead.  

How do you feel when you are working towards reaching a long-awaited goal? Are you happy? Are you excited? And looking forward to a new journey? Are you anxious about what the change could bring? Are you following the instructions and faithful to the end? Will you set foot on the promised land? 

As I was meditating on this, I looked back and remember my KPIs, the obstacles and trials, the changes in or absence of comfort.  I realized that God's words are really alive, never changes, it is still the same before and until now.  It is a good analogy on how to handle change in my career in continuous improvement.  We want to set foot on the promised land! 

The Lord said to Moses, “Because you did not trust in me enough to honor me as holy in the sight of the Israelites, you will not bring this community into the land I give them” (Numbers 20:12).

Read more: 
Exodus, Numbers and Joshua


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About This Blog

My blog is about ME as a wife and a mom to Aloysius, Achilles & Alexus. MYSELF as a career woman, and IRMEE as my other roles - a daughter, a sister, a co-worker, a friend and all my discoveries in this wonderful life that God gave. I'll also share my latest finds in food, fashion, gadgets and places.

The rest is anything under the sun, so read on.

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