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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


How to make ourselves valuable - Adding Value Part 2

>> Friday, 3 October 2014

Here is a sequel to my earlier blog post entitled - "Adding value to others by adding value to self".  This time I am quoting Mr. John C. Maxwell because I read this in his book - The 21 Most Powerful Minutes in a Leader's day. Revitalize your Spirit and Empower your  Leadership.

How to make ourselves valuable according to God's words:

1. Constantly IMPROVE ourselves.

So how do we do that? Make an assessment, try one skill like cooking or baking. If you think you are good in cooking "Kare-Kare", try another one like "Kaldereta" or "Mechado" or tweak the recipes and replace the ingredients like beef to oxtail in Kare2 or beef to "kambing" in Kaldereta, or use pure tomatoes in Mechado and not canned tomato sauce.  For baking, if you've baked cookies, try brownies or cakes, then move on to the challenging ones like sponge cakes, tiramisu or Braso de Mercedes. The samples provided refer to VARIATION, or doing a different way to achieve a different result.  Here's another one, if you can run 5 kilometres in 25 minutes, beat it by trying to finish in 12 minutes....or if you can type 45 wpm, practice more to be able to do 60 wpm. Set a target and meet or exceed it.  We call it KPI or KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS - set of values use to measure the performance and meet the goals. Try to increase or decrease your numbers. Simple improvement strategies can not be measured rather the RESULTS indicate improvement.  If you used to always miss the bus, and you did something and now you are earlier than the bus, that means you've improved in managing your time or maybe the bus schedule changed. You alone can say which is which. :) the important thing is you've learned to accept the need to improve and you're doing something about it. Do not be COMPLACENT! Once you've accomplished something, no matter how dramatic the change or result was, continue to improve.  You'll be amazed at that potential God embedded in you. You just have to start at something.

2.  STRENGTHEN your hands and knees.  "Hebrews 12:12"

Remember the motto of the body builders, no pain, no gain. Exert some effort. It will not just happen. You need to initiate something.

3. RENEW your minds. "Roman 12:2 - Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your minds."

The brain is located on the top most part of our body. That indicates that everything starts from the top, from our brain.  I remember it in science, the brain sends signals to the body parts before it starts to function.  I call it MINDSET...whatever the mind conceives, the body achieves.  Try it, tell your brain to always think about accomplishing something and you will be able to finish it, the same goes if you always think about negative things - complaining, fear, "can't do it", worry, it-will-not-work attitude, what do you think is accomplished? Nothing!

4. Desire and USE GOD-GIVEN Gifts.

1 Corinthians 12:27-31 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts.

We have INHERENT Values from GOD, like a chip embedded in us when He created us. Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Romans 12:6-8 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

God loves us and values us. He wants us to be valuable so we can give and add value to others.


Throw it all away

>> Sunday, 28 September 2014

In the Sunday School class of my 2 younger sons, they were discussing about repentance and salvation. There is always a handout for the parents for follow up and we did the activities tonight.  It was a fruitful exercise. The family gathered together in a circle and each one had a paper and pen. We are to write down the things that are not pleasing to God (SIN) that we know are wrong but we keep on doing. So here are some of those that were listed: lying, getting things that are not your own (stealing) even small things like comb, toys, shirts. Disobeying parents, shouting at parents, disobeying teachers, not sharing, making other things more important than God, like video games, iPad and Lego; saying mean things, hitting others.  I wrote buying too many purses, not doing my chores and ignoring Lito, gossiping, too much Facebooking.  I remember how Lex wrote his, he asked how to write - too much video games, hurting and crying, hahaha. Anyway, at least they got the point. The main idea is after writing them down we are to pray for each one of them to be taken off our list, to forget about doing them again. Of course, we can't do it on our own. We need God. I can still remember how they uttered the words "Sorry", we pray for His guidance and protection from any temptation of doing it again (Repentance) or turning our backs on these wrong things. We had one last look at the list and crumpled the paper and threw them away. God wants us to trust in Him and ask Him to forgive us our sins. He sent Jesus to die on the cross to save us. We gave it all to Jesus. We believe that even if sometimes we do it again, Jesus still loves us and saves us (Salvation).  It is not about our being good, but His being Good and His grace.

Pray together as a family asking God to forgive your sins and thanking God that Jesus came to throw our sins away.

"There is repentance of sins for all who repent." Luke 24:47b


Adding value to others by adding value to self

>> Saturday, 9 August 2014

Two years ago, we had a team building exercise that focused on our "colours" or personalities.  The seminar is called "colours insights" and it was very good. I thought I know myself that well but after the exercise I learned more about my colours and how others perceived me.  One of the major characteristics of my dominant colour which is "Blue" is that I'm detail-oriented. I like details, I also like to write and plan. I like to continuously improve and learn, receptive of feedback and use that to improve. I will get bored with repetitive tasks and it's true. I'm glad that what I'm doing now is not that repetitive and exposed me to different people, handle difficult ones and helped bring out the "Red" in me which I lack.

The second dominant colour is "green". This is the "I Care" colour. This traits tends to focus on the emotional side of me.  It always look at how I'm feeling instead of being objective. This has both the positive and negative effect.

So that's me, my personality, the traits I have based on how God created me to be. Maybe there's more. Remember we are created in God's workmanship.  When God talked to Moses to lead His people, Moses said he can't even talk straight, how can he do that? There is nothing impossible with God.  Our colours can change depending on how you want to develop. If you need more "Red" - the GO-getter, then you have to brush up on leadership skills, if you want to have more "Yellow" - the encourager then you need to speak up more, engage in interesting conversations, listen and talk, not only listen or be a wallflower.  Our colours will increase or decrease depending on how we put our energies to it.

It takes something to be somewhere. We need to invest in time and effort to be wherever you want to be.  Like what I said, if you need to talk more, express yourself not only in writing but in speaking to crowds, you need practice. Start with how you answer a question, it can be more than a yes or no, or in asking a question, use an open ended type so that the one you are speaking to will not reply with a nod but he too will keep the conversation going. If you both ask or reply with a yes or no, the talking will eventually die. The conversation will end in an awkward situation.

Attend a class, volunteer. The more people you are exposed to, the greater chances of you having to talk to more than your family members or close friends.  Not only will you learn more in a particular subject, your network of acquaintances will also expand.  Doors and windows of opportunities arise.

Learning (and reading) has lots of advantages, it widens your vocabulary which you can use in conversing. You become interested in new things, you will become more interesting to others making you more comfortable because you know about something and will be confident to contribute.

I was just recently promoted as Training Specialist and these are some of my observations from those I've dealt with regards to training and improving one's self.  First, those who are resistant to change will not progress.  These are the proud, complacent, the know-it-all, the closed minded people.  Second, those who are humble, open-minded, knowledge-seeking and change-embracing individuals will have a long way to go upwards.  I said upwards because they will continue to learn, to excel and perfect their craft and they move to the next level.  These people are not afraid to take risks, not afraid to fail because they believe that even if they fail, there will be another chance for them to correct and improve.

So where does a value-added individual comes in? First what does VALUE mean, it could mean low value or high value, like quality, lo or hi-quality.  What do we usually buy? The high quality because we know that it lasts longer or has more to it than the regular.  High quality means high value, remember what Louis Vuitton and Hermes are known for?  High value! But because of their high-quality, the consumers bank on that, they consider it an investment. 

Add value to your self - be that humble, open-minded, knowledge-seeking and change-embracing individual. Learn a new craft, find out how to improve the way you work, attend classes, read a new book, learn a new language and join enriching activities.  Along the way, you will find yourself sharing what you learned and your deeds mean something to another. Before you know it, you as an individual makes a great impact to your workplace or community by giving something of value because you are overflowing with it.

Don't waste your time with just something, invest in more valuable habits, it will add value to you and to those around you.


My youngest is no longer a baby

>> Monday, 21 July 2014

Alexus is turning 6 this November but he still sleeps with us and I sometimes call him baby names. Lito is always reminding me to stop because it will not be helping him to become independent. During our last trip, it was his first time not to co-sleep with us because the room had 3 beds for kids and chose to stay at the bunk bed. He even made his bed the morning after. I am so proud of my sons. Lex surprised me when he didn't get scared at all the waterslides we rode especially the more thrilling ones like Canada vortex and Wholly Mammoth. He even wanted to try the Niagara Rapids Fun - the rollercoaster ride. I think this is the point in a mom's life that you will finally say goodbye to baby talks and baby names. My Lex is turning out to be a fine young boy who keeps on amazing me, his dad and siblings.  I remember the time when I rode the Texas Giant wooden rollercoaster at Six Flags when I was only 2 months pregnant with him. Maybe that's where he got the idea of being more adventurous because he experienced that while still in my womb, hahaha.

I still watch him sleep at night and whisper his baby names to him while he sleeps. I thank God for my baby.


Summer 2014 - our Great Wolf Lodge Adventure

>> Saturday, 19 July 2014

Our calendar in the kitchen said "Mom's birthday - Surprise!" On July 18.  For the next days, it said "Niagara" so it kinda gave them an idea where we are going over the weekend. Before the big day, I prepared our baon and Sharyn and I tried on making a sushi which turned out to be fine except for the rice being too soft and sticky and our roll looked like a bun, hahaha. On the actual day of my birthday, I cooked spaghettini and while preparing my youngest asked, "What's the surprise Mom? I replied, it will not be a surprise anymore if I told you. But he was persistent so I just told him we will eat the chocolate cake for dessert to make him stop inquiring. After lunch, I asked them to prepare to leave and my two younger boys didn't want to go. I blew the candles on my cake and my youngest son asked again, "mom is it true that we are going to Niagara? To the Waterpark?" and his dad said No. Lex was referring to the Fallsview Indoor Waterpark that we usually visit and I added that the waterpark is fully booked and we can't go there. Well, what I didn't tell is the part that there's another Waterpark - the Great Wolf where I have a reservation. Lex started to whine and said he didn't want to go because it was going to be boring just going to the falls without going to the Waterpark. Lito told them we will all go and he was assuring them that they are going to enjoy the celebration of mom's birthday.

On the road, Lex was cranky and he keep on saying this trip is going to be boring. I didn't say anything to keep them wondering where we are headed. You could just imagine how hard it was for the boys, hahaha. Lito and I kept the secret until they were slowly figuring out because we were following the signs to Great Wolf Lodge. The Older boys got it right away and got excited but Lex was clueless. His face was still in wonder and he said, I heard it from Lucas and he asked if it was a Waterpark, his face lit up after finding out but got worried again because he asked if he could do slides for the bigger kids, I said Yes. He then replied excitedly, "then I think this is not going to be boring!"

We were able to check in right away when we arrived at  1:35pm.  We were supposed to get our room at 4:00pm but we were lucky to have it ready by the time we arrived. We were at the Waterpark by 2:00 pm and my boys were very happy especially the youngest because he was given a band that allowed him to ride all the slides except for 2 - Niagara Rapids run - a rollercoaster sort of ride and the Grizzly Bear slide - single long slide.  When we tried the Wholly Mammoth, he was ecstatic! He was screaming but also was laughing.  You could see it in the videos.  They spent more time at the Rainbow lake - a wave pool where they practiced their swimming skills from their lessons this summer. From what we've seen, we can say, we got our ROI na, time to enroll them to the next level.

In between the slides from Beaver and Squirrel Falls (slides for kids 4 and up) the kids stayed at either of these places - Fort Mackenzie and Otter Pool. Fort Mackenzie tree house was where they enjoyed  firing water to bystanders and people passing by under the tree. We always scream when the big bucket full of  water - 1,000 gallons of it tip from the tree top because everyone does, makes us all drench and happy.  Otter pool is where we played basketball while in the water.

There is an area for the babies and even the kiddie slides there were tested by my kids and later on commented as simple and boring. Their other favorite was the Crystal River  - a lazy river because we just go on a clear tube and be carried by the waves. The kids later just swam thru the current and pass by the lazy people on the tubes. Meanwhile, the oldies found a good spot at the adult hot tub where Lito and I had quality time while enjoying the hot spa under the rain outside the park. A must-try for those who want to relax. Only 16 and above are allowed in this area.

The slides and rides are the highlights of this trip. There were the Eagle Falls and Bobcat Falls where kids like Lex can do with an adult in a double or 8 tube. In the same level is the Grizzly bear ride, a longer version of the Eagle and Bobcat falls but here you are on a single tube. Lex would have loved this ride but at his height and age, he was not allowed to go solo. The next exciting ride in this level was the Canada Vortex - a dark and steep tube that goes on a whirlpool before the final drop on a rushing water. When Sharyn and I tried this, we were screaming at the top of our lungs. But did you know that my 5-year old Lex took this ride 3 times and always said, that was fun or that was exciting! He said he will tell his grandma - Mama that he was not afraid and considered this as his favorite. By the way, Aloysius tried it only once with me and Kyle didn't, saying just by looking at it, I think it is scary.

The next 2 are the favorites among the park guests because the lines are always long and they were really more thrilling than the rest. Wholly Mammoth is the largest ride at the park where the whole family can go on a raft and scream all together while they go on a long and fast slide down. This is our family's favorite although we didn't go at the same time because the raft can only accommodate 4 people.

Niagara Rapids Run is the most exciting ride of all with all the ups and downs. This is the rollercoaster ride at the park and sends you screaming on a 52 feet drop with long and fast turns and loops. Lito and I tried it twice one after the other and he said on the second time, mimicking Lex - this is boring! Hahaha.

Aside from the slides, we also enjoyed the Frog Pond (where Lito and Aloysius leaped from one leaf to the other) and the Loon lagoon - a pool outside. When we went there on our second day, it was raining so there were only 2 families on the pool. We almost have the pool to ourselves. The kids had the chance to show off their swimming skills again and we were able to capture underwater shots.

The resort's amenities and the room lived up to my expectations - clean, nice cabin designs and big enough for my 3 kids. The bunk bed was designed with wild animal paintings and they have their own TV. We spent some time on the balcony where we fed the birds.  The room had a ref, coffee maker and microwave so it was easy to heat food and I was able to cook eggs using my eggie.

If it was not for my birthday, we could have stayed again in the other Waterpark but I thought its time to try something else, something special for my kids to remember my birthday so even if the trip cost a little more, we chose Great Wolf Lodge Niagara.  Seeing my kids faces and listening to their endless after-the -trip stories, it was worth it. Borrowing MasterCard's motto, Priceless!

Dollar Power: I got a good deal from this trip because I availed the Summer fun promo - 30% OFF the regular package and I also received a FREE Photobook coupon.  Below is the link to the 8x8 hard cover 20-page photobook I ordered from Shutterfly. Enjoy watching!


20 things a mother should tell her son/s

>> Thursday, 19 June 2014

1. Play a sport. It will teach you how to win honorably, lose gracefully, respect authority, work with others, manage your time and stay out of trouble. And maybe even throw or catch.

2. You will set the tone for the sexual relationship, so don’t take something away from her that you can’t give back.

3. Use careful aim when you pee. Somebody’s got to clean that up, you know.

4. Save money when you’re young because you’re going to need it someday.

5. Allow me to introduce you to the dishwasher, oven, washing machine, iron, vacuum, mop and broom. Now please go use them.

6. Pray and be a spiritual leader.

7. Don’t ever be a bully and don’t ever start a fight, but if some idiot clocks you, please defend yourself.

8. Your knowledge and education is something that nobody can take away from you.

9. Treat women kindly. Forever is a long time to live alone and it’s even longer to live with somebody who hates your guts.

10. Take pride in your appearance.

11. Be strong and tender at the same time.

12. A woman can do everything that you can do. This includes her having a successful career and you changing diapers at 3 A.M. Mutual respect is the key to a good relationship.

13. “Yes ma’am” and “yes sir” still go a long way.

14. The reason that they’re called “private parts” is because they’re “private”. Please do not scratch them in public.

15. Peer pressure is a scary thing. Be a good leader and others will follow.

16. Bringing her flowers for no reason is always a good idea.

17. It is better to be kind than to be right.

18. A sense of humor goes a long way in the healing process.

19. Please choose your spouse wisely. My daughter-in-law will be the gatekeeper for me spending time with you and my grandchildren.

20. Remember to call your mother because I might be missing you.

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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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