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Book Review: The 7 Habits of Happy Kids

>> Tuesday, 29 September 2015

The 7 Habits of Happy Kids by Sean Covey

I'm sure this 7 habits phrase is familiar to you. The other bestselling book entitled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was written by Stephen Covey.  The 7 Habits are based on powerful Principles that have been enriching lives for generations - principles such as responsibility, vision, respect, teamwork and balance. It is a proven philosophy for adults and teenagers that can now be applied to kids. I am just one of the parents who are interested in bringing the 7 Habits into our home and into our kids schools, that why we are reading this book for the nth time. I am thankful that Sean, the son of Stephen Covey took the next steps in creating a version for teens and kids.

This book teaches kids timeless values and principles contained in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - from figuring out how to take charge of their own lives to discovering why balance is best. The characters depicted in the stories might be the same as our children and their different moods, situations and personalities. They can relate to each story as it might have happened to them or they have encountered them in their friends or classmates lives. Each story illustrates one habit or principles that will help our children apply the 7 habits in their activities. After each story, there's a section called Parent's Corner which has some suggestions on how to bring out the habit in that story.t also include list of questions to ask kids and small steps/ tips that kids may start practicing.

Here are the 7 Habits of Happy Kids:
1. You are in Charge - Be Proactive
2. Have a Plan - Begin with the end in Mind
3. Work First then Play - Put first things first
4. Everyone can win - Think win-win
5. Listen before you talk - Seek first to understand than to be understood.
6. Together is better - Synergize "together everyone achieves more"
7. Balance feels best - Sharpen the saw.

Of all the seven Habits, my favourite is the 7th as it talks about balance and it is also aligned to our family's three goals - Feed your Mind, Feed your Body, Cleanse your body.  We feel better when we are balanced, when we take time to renew the four parts of who we are: body, heart, mind and soul. I like the part when Covey explained in the parent's corner that as the car has four tires, we as people, also have four parts. And to be healthy and happy, all parts need time and attention.

The explanation in the story is simple but adults can relate very well.
"You use your heart when you play with your friends." Build and Nurture good relationships.
"You use your soul when you find something quiet to do that makes you fresh inside." Reflection and time to spend with God through prayer.
"You Use your body when you exercise." Physical activities make you well.
"Use you mind when you read." Knowledge is power.

My children remembered  the illustration we saw on a Christian TV show about the soul man and spirit man fighting or getting weak when the body is weak or in sin and how the relationship with Jesus Christ can lighten and bring the joy, peace and love to the soul man, spirit man and physical man. We need Christ as He is the only one who will make us live a balanced and complete life that he desired for us to have. How blessed, how marvellous this life is and we thank God that even in storybooks or inspirational books like these, it is still going back to Him. Read this book and God will reveal himself to you and your children too. God bless.


Green Apron Behaviour - something to learn from Starbucks

>> Monday, 14 September 2015

I was listening to my favorite AM Christian radio station from the Phillippines when I heard this. The sharing was timely as I am contemplating on what's important in building relationships.  Everything was falling into place -I've learned about different personalities and how to deal with each, the different parts of the PIE of life and their portion, how to apply Planning, Leading, Organizing and Control management principles and how to balance knowledge, faith, love to live a God-fearing, purpose-driven life and become the outcome of all these inputs.  Yesterday, in church we learned about our inner calling, our gifts, our influence and how to respond to the "calling" and apply it to our daily fishing for God. Yes, it is too big to handle but with the right formula and willingness to obey, one cannot miss this opportunity.

The Green Apron Behaviour that the Starbucks employees were trained to deliver shows why the coffee store stands out.  It's not only the coffee but the "People" factor that contributes to the increasing and retaining customer base that Starbucks is known for.  The Christians who are also called Fishers of men can learn from the Green Apron Behaviour to fulfill the task. Here is list of the attitude that those who work with green apron are expected to show / deliver:

1. Welcoming - you know when you are truly welcome - you are greeted, there is a genuine smile or the talk is more personal.  Remember, they ask your name to put in the cup, that's you, it's personal. When we want to bring someone close to God, we welcome the person regardless of race, color, size and age into our homes, into our circles, into our lives. Hindi porke ibang religion or beliefs, ayaw na natin makipagusap sa Kanila.  Hindi porke inis ang pamilya mo dun na wala ka naman kinalaman dahil away ng pamilya yun, Iiwas ka na rin sa tao na yun. Paano na ang channel of blessings through you? Alam mo yun feeling na welcome ka di ba? no walls, no pretentions, warm and open. Someone  who is willing to accept anyone including the person you just met and who will connect with you right away. Break that wall, welcome one another.

2. Knowledgeable of product - how can we say or promote something if we ourselves don't know anything about it.  Build our relationship with God first. Learn about God, read the bible, pray, have an intimate relationship with our Saviour,  know about Jesus and the gift of salvation, memorize those verses, learn them and store them in your heart so that when the time comes that you need to "share" or answer questions, the Holy Spirit will retrieve the knowledge and reveal it. Like the Barista, he will give you the right coffee flavour suited to you.

3.  Genuine - you build relationships with others, not just your family or close friends. There is true friendship in every fellowship. Did you know that each time you interact or react to someone, you are making an effort to connect to that person? The outcome of the conversation makes or breaks the interaction. Most of the time you will receive kind words, good comments from a barista because they want to connect more with you. Sales strategy? Maybe, but at the end of a stressful day, having someone to vent out our frustrations to makes up a barista-customer relationship. Naalala ko dati sa ATC, ask ni barista, how's your day mam? I will say, bad trip, init ulo, alam na niya ang oorderin ko - ahh Mocha Frapp ma'am? So how are you with a friend who is in need, do you reach out or just even listen to them? Or do we stay away from him because we don't want to get involved. Where is the relationship-building there?

4. Considerate - when I was pregnant or I brought my kids to Starbucks when they were little, the barista asked me if I will have coffee? He would offer non-caffeine smoothies to my children and less caffeine or fat to a preggy like me.   Are you the same with whatever situation your friend is in? Can you easily adapt to a situation?   Would you consider someone else's feelings or agenda, or only your own? What about God's plan? Sometimes and I admit I am guilty of this too, we tend to focus only of ourselves that we miss out on  the opportunity. selfie ika nga.  Let us be considerate of others even if we are annoyed at that person, there is still something good in that person that we are expected to bring up if we show the love, kindness and consideration that we as Christians are supposed to be full of. Kahit nakakainis na siya, or di niya deserved yun, let us give him the benefit of the doubt and bring out the goodness in another. Anak din siya ng Diyos.

5. Involved - this is related to item number 2, how can we be genuine if we are not involved? How can we lend a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear if we are not available? Tucked away in our
"comfort zone" with an alibi," problema niya yun, I don't want to get involved." How can that person know that there is hope in God if we are shutting our doors and windows to that person? God will use us if only we allow him to. We need to admit that we are not created to live in isolation and be willing to be used for another person's encouragement or building up.  "It is not good for a man to live alone, I will create a companion for him." "Walang sinoman ang nabubuhay para sa sarili lamang. Tayong lahat ay may pananagutan sa isat isa."

What makes you go or come back to Starbucks? It's not only the coffee, but it's the total "experience" that makes it more attractive. The traits mentioned are not only for Starbucks barista but for all the people, for Christians who are called to bring others to Christ and make him enjoy the experience. Like the barista who stands behind those counter, we can do the same, share the total experience so that others will know and come or return to Christ. We can be Welcoming, Knowledgeable, Genuine, Considerate and Involved and we can show it in so many ways. Not only lip service, I have to do the same and I ask God for guidance, more love, forgiveness, kindness and willingness in my heart to live the kind of life He wants us to live. May God guide us, in Jesus name.


Filling the bucket and its impact to others (long-lasting)

School year started 2 weeks ago and I almost lost the letter sent by Kyle's teacher last summer. I found it at last and I wouldn't let days passed without recording this in my blog. The letter was short but the content was heartwarming and I must admit I feel proud that I'm considering this as my ROI when it really should have been Kyle's. For our nightly storytelling, we started reading the book "Growing up with a bucket full of happiness: Three rules for a happier life" by Carol Mccloud 2011. And it looks like, we are seeing the results of everyday bucket filling.

Miss DeVal of Briarcrest Junior School wrote this last July 1,2015:

To the parents of Kyle,

Here is the summary of what Kyle's classmates said about him this school year. Words have such power. May the thoughts the children in Room 8 have expressed about Kyle be as heartwarming to you and Kyle as they have been to me as I have typed them up.

All about Kyle:
"You are a good reader."
"Kyle, you are a very hard-working person and always try to enjoy a little laughing time."
"You are very kind to others and are also good at drawing."
"Kyle, you are very smart and very kind to others."
"I like how you play fair and make sure myself and others are okay if they are hurt."
"You always know what to write on your paper."
"Kyle, you always help others with their work."
"You are a hard worker."
"Kyle, you speak up when you believe something is unfair!"
"You are intelligent."
"Kyle, you are funny!"
"You always follow through on what you say you are going to do."
"Kyle, you are very smart. When you win games, you don't brag."
"You always try your best."
"Kyle, you speak to me or help me solve a problem when something is wrong."
"You have very good handwriting."
"You are a good friend."
"Kyle you are joyful and kind."

I was dumbfounded upon reading this and until now, my smile is like Yaya Dub's and Alden's in their second meeting. I am thankful for the feedback and brings joy to my heart.  I am encouraging all parents out there to continue their work of raising their children to be caring and responsible as it is more lasting and appreciated than any other recognition. Relationships count more than numbers. 

"The source of much of our happiness is found in being a caring and responsible person." -Carol McCloud

  1. Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.


GPR - to build and expand

>> Monday, 3 August 2015

I was asked to exhort in our recent family camp at Liebenzell. The theme is Life Builders. While I thought that a training workshop (Colours Insights/Temperaments) would be a good one for the 3-day camping, Pastor suggested that we do that another time. I thought I will not participate anymore, but on our first day, he asked that I do the first night exhortation. I know I'm not qualified but because I believe that God will help me and I do this in my work as training specialist anyways, I responded and it was a pleasure to serve God. Here are some more information that we can use in our meditation. God wants you to think about these:

WHAT:  Purpose - God created us for a purpose. There is something that God embedded in us to trigger that longing to know and serve God. Have you figured out why are you put in a certain situation, lead in a church or group of people or became friends with a certain individual? Matthew 28:19-20 the Great Commission and Jabez prayer in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 says, "Expand God's territory..."

HOW:  1. Prayer - Our way to communicate to God is through prayer and His way is through HIS words- the Bible. There is a need for God's words to enter into our system so we will know what He wants us to do and how we can live our purpose. We cannot do it on our own, we need God.  "The effective, pervent prayer of a righteous man avails much." James 5:16;

Prayer and His words are man's link to God, so imagine drawing a line from top to bottom this is the VERTICAL line in drawing the cross.

2. Relationships - there are 2 relationships that we need to build and nurture, the first is with God through His son Jesus Christ and the second is among All the people, regardless of color, size, location, gender and age. Relationships represent the HORIZONTAL line on the cross.

HOW:  1. INPUT - how can we share if our knowledge is limited? The parts of our body were made for a purpose - EARS - "faith comes from hearing God's words.." EYES, HANDS....we link our activities to let God's words enter into our system.

What kind of music do you listen to? Books, magazines or other kinds of media do you read?  Who are you always talking to, share your thoughts with? Is he a godly person? What kind of movies, TV shows do we watch, or Facebook, YouTube viral media do we spend our time on? When we listen to God's words in preaching, do we write keywords to remember and meditate later on?

What do we do to nurture these inputs? "meditate on it day and night.." Do we have a daily devotional or quiet time with God? 

2. OUTPUT - our actions speak louder than our words.  To apply the inputs within us, we need to be aware of God's purpose in our actions. Will Jesus do this? How would He react? Will this build relationships, or break it? 

WORDS - what kind of words come out of our mouth, are they encouraging, hopeful, full of love and compassion, kind and forgiving? "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks..." 

ACTIONS - a helping hand, a listening ear,  there are lots of opportunities to do good and let God shine in our actions. 

What is the impact of the action or reaction? Will a negative situation turn into positive? Are we contributing to making this world peaceful? How is our co-worker or neighbour or even a distant relative react if they found out that we responded differently and not biblically? God will use us to expand His territory so we need to make it happen by DOING and not just say God's words. LIVE it.

As our assignment, I left them three questions that we also use in our lean management/continuous improvement processes, you can also ask yourself these:

1. What am I doing that I'm not supposed to be doing?  Commission or subtraction
2. What am I supposed to be doing that I am not doing?  Omission or Addition
3. What am I doing that can be done more right, biblically? level up to expand the territory.

GPR - God, Prayer, Relationships


Who doesn't like to get married again?

>> Saturday, 18 July 2015

I would say...Lito! But he did exchange the vows with me in celebration of our 15th wedding anniversary and my 47th birthday. It was an awesome day, the Lord has made! God must have love us so much that rains only started pouring before and after the ceremony and photo shoot.  Our renewal of vows was held a day before my birthday at the gardens of The Peninsula Inn and Resort in Niagara Falls, Ontario. It was an intimate affair as family and close friends were present to witness this event.

This second time of getting married was more meaningful as our kids joined us in the ceremony. The 3-cord symbolism that Reverend Peter Goodrich of the Niagara Falls Wedding World explained made an impact as we really need God to be the third party in our marriage - the cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Here are some of the photos from the event: (Thank You Bro. Arneil Fabia of SCM)

My Groom

Our children joining us during the blessing.

Sealed with a kiss

Because I was a member of Weddings at Work the first time I got married (Side Note: It was Benz and Abet Rana who gave me an idea when they did their 15th in Las Vegas),  I will share some good and need improvement evaluation of the hotel and the Niagara Falls Wedding World services as part of our post-wedding duties for the other couples to take note or learn from.

1. The Peninsula Inn and Resort ( - Ms. Jessica Sanchez was easy to deal with. We made all transactions online and since I was from Toronto and I couldn't go to Niagara frequently, she made it a point that  all my requests are granted - from the color theme, music to the design of our paddle fans souvenirs. Our rooms were perfect and we got a good deal since this is summer season where other hotels have sky-rocketing rates. One thing that was missed - there was no one (waiter) to inform the guests that there are cold bottled water and refreshments available to keep them cool while waiting for the ceremony to start. Good thing, it was not too hot that day.  Also, great location, lots of areas to use for picture taking, free parking for our guests.  Most importantly, very near our Reception location - Mandarin Restaurant at Niagara Square.

2. Niagara Falls Wedding World ( - Same with Jessica, I communicated with Nicole Gibson and Rev. Loretta through email and phone only.  I was able to meet them only when we were about to start the ceremony.  They were helpful in getting our 3-cord props ready - providing the different colored ribbon to highlight God's presence in marriage.  They also gave clear instructions to my children and their part in the ceremony and also sending and making revisions to the program to amend my requests. There were two important things that need improvement - the sound system and the declaration of our vows.  The ceremony is a very meaningful one and I would have loved my guests to hear everything Rev. Peter said from the readings, to the Cord and Ring ceremonies to the blessing. Lito and I would also like to say our own vows instead of repeating after Rev. Peter.  We wrote our own vows and it would have been more felt (or dramatic) if we declared it ourselves.  Well, maybe next time, I will request for that.

The Vows
I, LITO publicly re-commit myself to love and serve you,
to accept, forgive, honor and pray for you
and to be faithful to you as long as we both shall live.
I am making this commitment before God, family and friends today and so help me God.
I, IRMEE take you my dearest, as my husband, friend and love. 
All that I am I share with you.  I promise to love and cherish you,
to help you in good times and bad, to respect our individuality,
to make our home one of love and understanding. 
I give you all my trust, all of my tomorrows, all of my life. 
I declare this vow in the name of our Lord Christ, so help me God.

I will post more pictures and reception account soon.

Thank you to all who attended and shared their prayers and well wishes.


Getting married again...planning a mob-wedding

>> Monday, 13 July 2015

I will kept this a secret but will publish in my blog about the wedding preparations I will do for our 15th wedding anniversary and renewal of vows.  This blog entry and all wedding related posts will only be published after the event or when he finds out. I spoiled my own surprise when I told him about the event on Canada Day, he was not too excited. :(

I already booked the venue, arranged the decors and reserved for the rooms.  I also asked a friend of ours to be the photographer.  The venue will be in a garden with a gazebo and the reception will be in a buffet restaurant in a mall just across the ceremony area - how convenient and cheap :)

I have decided to use a beige, white, ivory theme because Lito's original Barong Tagalog still fits him after fifteen years. Here is what I am going to wear:

And here are what I am going to ask the guests to wear (strictly white, beige and or cream) it's a beach-themed wedding but not in a beach venue.

And here is our wedding venue - the Peninsula Inn and Resort Niagara Falls


My DIY Paper Bouquet

>> Sunday, 28 June 2015

I finally am taking advantage of my Cricut machine.  Well, this is the third time.  The first time was when we made bookmarks for Kyle's and Lex' classmates last Valentines. The second was my mini album project for Sophia's Baby pictures.  I am so happy with the outcome, unique and inexpensive flowers.

Here are the steps in creating 3D Paper Flowers using Cricut Expression:

1. Put the Art Philosophy cartridge in your Cricut machine. Load your cardstock, I used cream-colored cardstocks i bought from Michaels. Choose the size of the paper and depth of the cricut blade. Then from your keypad, press SHIFT + FONT feature and then choose the Fleur delis icon. I chose size 5" so i can cut 2 flowers in a letter size cardstock. Then press CUT.

2. Remove the excess cardstock from the cutting mat. Use the cricut paper press to lift the flowers. Gently lift.

3. Using a paper tweezer, secure the end and start twisting and rolling until you it forms like a flower.

4.Secure the bottom with glue and ensure that the petals are evenly spaced. Now you have a rosette.

5. Adhere the rosettes to a styro ball. I used size 6" and secure the rosettes with a glue gun. I added pearlized long pins as accessory.


6. I pierced old pencils into the styro ball and wrap it with satin ribbons with pearls. Now this is how my flower ball looks like.

Now I have a bouquet that will stay forever, like our love.  cheesy :)


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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